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May 31, 2015

Logan Cozart

Jake Madsen

Rob Smith


Wright State – 8
Ohio - 3

JAKE MADSEN:  We have balls smashed in the gap and they made plays.  It's frustrating as a hitter because you go out there and you come out of the game saying, man, could have been, 4‑for‑4 today.  But when guys go 0‑for‑4 with four hard‑hit balls, that's the game, though.
Like I said, it's frustrating but I mean, you have to tip your cap and it's even more frustrating that it happened in this game for sure.
They had momentum coming out of the game last night and today was a fresh start.  Our goal was to one a 5‑1, seven‑inning game like Coach said.  Unfortunately it didn't go our way.
LOGAN COZART:  It was my last go around and I wanted it pretty bad.  I was talking to Coach, I wanted to finish the game.  It's disappointing, but I'm proud of the team for the effort they gave.  That's baseball.  Looking back, we'll probably be happy with what we did this season but right now it's a little disappointing.
JAKE MADSEN:  Like Logan said, we are competitors and we wanted to win both games this weekend but it didn't happen.  But, you know, you've got to look back, and we were picked to finish last in our conference this year.  Just to be at this stage, just even for the younger guys, what an experience it's been, and for my senior year, it's pretty special.

Q.  Did you get a sense it wasn't going to be your day when you had those two long drives to third early, seemed like a good chance to get positive momentum?
ROB SMITH:  Not at that point I didn't and as the game continued on and it started to become more apparent that it was getting difficult to score runs; but I felt confident with some of those things that we had early that we would break through.
Obviously their guy on the mound is a really, really good competitor and he did a good job coming back and grinding through some innings.  But I felt good about our guy's swings, and we felt that we were going to break through at some point.

Q.  Were you surprised to see him out six more innings after he threw 40 pitches yesterday?
ROB SMITH:  I was surprised.  That's a testament to that kid's tenacity to come back and be able to compete like that.  He did a really, really good job.  We were barrelling balls up and he didn't waiver.  He continued to attack the zone.  I have to tip my cap to the kid.  That was a great effort by him.

Q.  In the context of the turnaround, how do you feel right now about the job that you've done and your players have done?
ROB SMITH:  I'm proud of it.  Yeah, I'm proud of just what the kids did, their ability to completely flip their brains.  We asked them to stay focused on positive things coming into the year, and they were very motivated and bought in and just completely flipped the culture, and I'm hoping it's something we can use for momentum moving forward.
To see a team that was pretty much doubted by everybody within our league and even‑‑ and rightfully so, for a lot of reasons; you consider what we had done the previous two years.  We knew internally there were some things coming, though.  We knew there was some guys getting healthy.  We saw some improvement coming along in certain guys.  I'm not surprised that they were able to accomplish this.  I knew this was coming about midway through the fall; I could really see something different and they certainly fulfilled that.  I couldn't be more proud of what they have accomplished.
I've been a part of some good teams but I'm not sure I've been a part of a team that's as special as this as far as what they had to go through to get to the point where they are at.

Q.  What was the conversation like with Logan?
ROB SMITH:   Taking him out?  Tough.  He's meant a lot to our program, I'll say that, yeah.
Yeah, that was a tough one.  I wasn't going to let him go back out there in the ninth, but he said he wanted to finish it and I just said, well, I'm going to let you go hitter to hitter.  And at that point, I just felt that it was the time to get him out of the game.  He deserved the standing ovation he got.
Yeah, he's a warrior, man.  He was a big reason this team transformed.  Not only did he just transform himself obviously:  If you look at what he's done as an individual player, the turnaround that he's had, really from a third baseman who became a converted pitcher out of necessity because we didn't have any arms our first year; he didn't question it.  He just did it.  He was a successful hitter.  We didn't really have him hit a whole lot.  He never questioned it.  And then he made a commitment to make himself the best pitcher he can be.
And with that, I think he really set the tone for our team in a lot of ways and just he's a massive reason this thing's flipped.  I have a lot of respect for that kid, no doubt.

Q.  The knee‑‑
ROB SMITH:  Just a bad bruise.  He's going to feel it for a little bit but I think he's going to be okay.

Q.  Do you talk to Logan about draft status now?
ROB SMITH:  I hope we're talking about draft status, yeah, because if that kid doesn't get drafted, it will be a massive disappointment in my opinion.  He didn't start to get attention, really, until the very end of the year.  Some scouts started to really take it seriously, and then into the conference tournament.
So yeah, that's really what makes that kid special, too, is he's not said one thing to me about the draft.  He's been so focused on his team.  He's not had a selfish thought in his brain.  Not that that's a bad thought for a kid to have.  I hope they all want to play professional baseball.
All he cared about was his team getting better.  That's the only thing that kid cared about the entire year, and he should be rewarded with the opportunity to keep playing baseball, because he's earned it and he's carried himself in a manner that if I'm a scout, I don't hesitate to put that kid out there.  I don't hesitate to put him in my organization and go out and compete for me.

Q.  What has Jake Madsen meant to the program and what do you think his future is in baseball?
ROB SMITH:  Same thing.  Jake deserves a shot.  The thing that's been really awesome about Jake is to see him just kind of open himself up.  I mean, very reserved kid, as you guys that are around him most of the time know, and very even‑keel player.  Some of the most fun I had last weekend is we went through the conference tournament, was watching him play with some of the emotion that he played with.
That was a kid that‑‑ our last two years, we weren't very good, and it was hard to emotionally invest in the situations we were in, and I know he has a strong motivation to want to play professionally.  That's been a big goal of his and he's earned it.  He deserves it.
But it was really neat to see him play the way that he's played, and not just the hits, because he's been getting those since he stepped on campus.  But he's helped other players on our team.  He's helped other hitters on our team.  He's made a difference in that way, and that was what I was hoping for him over the last couple years as we've coached him.
You know, there wasn't a whole lot I was going to tell him about hitting.  I probably learned as much about hitting from him as anybody.  But it was that other stuff I was really hoping he would grow in, and he did.  He did grow in that way.  He made us a lot better, not just with his hitting but his leadership and his style that he does it.

Q.  You talked about having a three‑year plan which has come to fruition.  What is next year and the years after look like?
ROB SMITH:  Well, you hope that it's continued improvement.  What this team did this year, there are so many things ‑‑ I'll get with our sports info guy and he'll fill me in on all the milestones but there's been a lot of things done this year that haven't been done in Ohio in  long, long time.
It's hard.  It's tough.  It's tough to win a conference championship.  It's really, really hard to get to a regional.  I've been fortunate to be now at four of them, and after you get done with one, man, you ask yourself, how are we going to do this again, because it's so challenging.
My hope is that the younger players and the kids returning in our program, now start to really understand what this whole process is about.  We talked about it from the first day that we arrived?  But I don't think they really had an understanding of it.   They didn't fully understand what we were talking about. 
As I told our guys, even heading into our conference tournament, and certainly heading into this regional, you hear a lot of talk about the student athlete experience.  This is that experience.  This is what you do all that stuff for, all the time in the weight room, all the time in the practice field, the commitment, the sacrifices; to experience what this team has had a chance to experience the last two weeks.  That, for me, is what that experience is.
And you hope that after they get a little taste of it, that you know, that extra time that they had to spend maybe in the weight room or that motivation to go hit on their own in the cages or the decisions they make off the field to represent their program, all those things you hope it comes back to this time because they want to experience this again and be a part of something special like this.  That's where programs grow and I hope that this is a big step forward for us as we move into the future years.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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