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NCAA BASEBALL CHAMPIONSHIP REGIONALS: BATON ROUGE


June 1, 2015


Jake Fraley

Paul Mainieri

Jared Poche


BATON ROUGE, LOUISIANA

LSU ¬Ė 2
UNCW - 0


THE MODERATOR:  We have Andrew Stevenson, Jake Fraley, Jared Poché, and of course coach.  Go ahead and start with Jake, big day offensively, three base hits.  Talk about your day.
JAKE FRALEY:  Yeah, I was feeling good.  I was able to get the pitches I was looking for.  I didn't chase anything.  I was able to keep innings alive.  I know Chinea had a big hit, as well.  I can't remember when that was, that was a big RBI, and then I was fortunate enough to hit for another RBI, so it was just a good day today.
THE MODERATOR:  Andrew, the obvious question, I guess, is the coach from UNCW talked about the catch in the fourth inning.  Talk about that.
ANDREW STEVENSON:  It went deep in the gap, off the bat, kind of questionable if I was going to get to it, but it kind of carried out and hung up a little bit, and I was able to make a play on it and kind of get it in for a quick out, got two out of it.

Q.  Jared, talk about your game a little bit.
JARED POCH√Č:¬† I felt good.¬† About the fourth inning things kind of got out of whack.¬† I got six balls in a row, and got to give a little bit of credit to Scivicque.¬† He kind of helped me out mechanically and I was able to locate my fastball and curveball on both sides of the plate, was able to put it in play and Jake and Andrew, for Andrew to do pretty much of a flip in the outfield and catch it was unbelievable.

Q.  They talked about your breaking ball.  That thought that was the difference in the game in the middle innings.
JARED POCH√Č:¬† Yeah, I was able to‑‑ curveball has usually been my best pitch pretty much.¬† I'd say I had good bite, and I was able to locate it on both sides of the plate.¬† I was able to get some swings and misses.
PAUL MAINIERI:¬† First of all, I'd like to congratulate North Carolina‑Wilmington on a tremendous season.¬† They've got a classy group of kids and an outstanding coach in Mark, and they have a good ballclub.¬† They were scary.¬† They were a scary offense of a lineup, and I think that just goes to show you just how great Lange was the other night and Jared was today.¬† To shut that team down two games in a row between our pitching and our defense was really amazing to see.¬† You know, we didn't knock the cover off the ball these last two games, but one of the things we preach to our players all the time is that‑‑ to the position players who are both the offensive and defensive players, that if you don't have a great hitting day, you can still help your team win by making great plays on defense or drawing a clutch walk, stealing a base, whatever, and I think today was an example of that.¬† We didn't hit particularly great, but Andrew Stevenson's catch basically saved the game.¬† Conner Hale made a tremendous catch over by the dugout, and about the play that Bregman made, pirouetted and threw the guy out at first base.
Just really proud of our guys because there's a maturity about them that even if things aren't going great for them in one aspect of their game, they still have the amazing presence and fortitude to just keep playing the game hard and doing the things that can help their team win, so I'm really proud of that.
Obviously the star of the game was this guy sitting to my right.  People wonder sometimes why coaches believe in certain kids.  Jared couldn't get out of the first inning the other day, or the last week at the SEC tournament.  He's had a couple of rough outings, and people saying why did you stick with Poché, because I knew (inaudible).  If he doesn't succeed it's not ever going to be because he choked or he didn't give you his best effort or he didn't want to succeed, just some days the game is hard to play, and you've got to give credit to the other team.  But I knew today Jared Poché would go out there and be a man, and he was.  He just pitched a tremendous ballgame, and he deserves everything, all the accolades that come his way.

Q.  Jared, how did you bounce back today?  How did you come back after last week after just a really tough outing, the worst inning of your career?  What was that like, getting back into it and getting ready?
JARED POCH√Č:¬† Just kind of stuck with‑‑ it's been a regular for us all year.¬† Stuck with the plan.¬† In between from last Wednesday to today, regular AD each and every day, trying to get better on a few things, and obviously it worked out.

Q.  Jake and Andrew, you guys didn't do a lot offensively but you found a way with two outs both tonight and the other night.  What does that say about the lineup that it's not always the guys that everybody wants to talk about but the lower part of the lineup?
JAKE FRALEY:  I mean, I like to think that top to bottom we're all very solid as a lineup.  I think any one of us at any time can get the job done.  Like we said earlier, sometimes you just don't get the job done.  That's just the nature of the game.  The bottom of our lineup was able to get two runs across, and like I said earlier, we're fortunate for that, and they ended up being two huge runs for us for a huge win today.
ANDREW STEVENSON:  I feel we have a pretty solid lineup top to bottom.  I'd put our lineup up against any team in the country.  It speaks to what Coach has done, the kind of players he recruits, but when you've got pitchers throwing like Poché and Lange, you don't have to do too much.  But we'll try to come out this next week and see if we can beat the best.

Q.  Jared, can you just describe the emotions of your performance?  Again, based on what happened last week, some of that frustration, but then to continue to battle today, and maybe it wasn't perfect, but throwing over 120 pitches and battling, just the emotions of this performance?
JARED POCH√Č:¬† You know, it's pretty indescribable to be honest, walking off the field with all those fans cheering.¬† Couldn't help but have a little grin.¬† For me coming off of last week's performance and having an outing like that, definitely helps for next week momentum‑wise, and just kind of helps me lock in and get in the zone.

Q.  Jared, how much did 12 days' rest between your two starts help you today?
JARED POCH√Č:¬† I mean, I guess it helped.¬† You know, it really wasn't that big of a deal as far arm‑wise definitely resting my arm, but I was able to get two bullpens in this week, and maybe that helped me out with Kade during the week and AD, maybe that kind of helped me out mechanically, and it felt good today.

Q.   (Inaudible).
PAUL MAINIERI:  We're very proud of our football program here at LSU, and I'll play second to them any time, believe me.

Q.  Jared, were you pitching angry today?  Were you pitching with something to prove?
JARED POCH√Č:¬† No, not really.¬† Just kind of wanted to get back to myself.¬† Kade and Alan said they've seen a little different out of me the last two weeks.¬† Just kind of wanted to get back to myself, be gritty, and just kind of prove I was better than I played.

Q.  What does it mean to be going to the super regionals, and the same for Andrew and Jake.
JARED POCH√Č:¬† You know, it's a great feeling.¬† Last year I was a freshman, it didn't work out for us.¬† We were hoping to get there.¬† But after winning this game, we're going to be there.¬† Last year that atmosphere was unbelievable.¬† I don't expect anything less.¬† Whoever we play it's going to be exciting.
ANDREW STEVENSON:  Super regional my freshman year I was able to be part of the team that played in the super regionals and was fortunate enough to win it.  But atmosphere is great and crowd is awesome, and everybody is getting all fired up.  I'm excited for this week to come, and still going to be practicing and getting ready for that.
JAKE FRALEY:  It's an honor and a blessing.  I'm going to my first one, so I can't even describe the excitement I have.  We were able to play good enough this weekend to be able to go to it, so I'm just looking forward to it and really excited to see what we're going to do.

Q.  Andrew, you almost like relish making the tough catch.  Were you the little kid that always practiced diving all over the place when you were a little kid?
ANDREW STEVENSON:  Yes, sir.  Growing up, I was playing football and baseball, played wide receiver, so that was kind of what I practiced was laying out trying to make the catch, sacrificed my body to help the team out and make the catch.

Q.  Jared, what was it like when you found out you weren't going to play last night?
JARED POCH√Č:¬† It was tough, but I mean, I didn't get here‑‑ coach texted me and told me got to‑‑ I didn't get to the field until about 8:00.¬† I was only here for about an hour.¬† It was a little frustrating, but we got past it.¬† Great teams have to handle adversity, and I think we did a great job of that today.

Q.  Andrew, when the ball came off the bat on the catch you made, did you feel like you got a good jump, and was that the best catch you've ever made?
ANDREW STEVENSON:  Probably in the situation, in the regional championship game.  I've had some other big catches, but that was probably one of the top ones.

Q.  On that topic, guys on either side of him, can you describe what you saw, particularly you, Jared?  You obviously had a lot invested in that pitch before it went out to the outfield.
JARED POCH√Č:¬† Yeah, it was a curveball.¬† It was down, a little bit away, and the guy put a good swing on it.¬† Off the bat I thought it was going to be‑‑ Andrew would be under it for a few seconds.¬† Seeing him‑‑ when I seen him turning and running where he was supposed to be, I know it's not good, and next thing you know he leaps and catches it.¬† I was pretty excited about that, saved a double or maybe even a triple.
JAKE FRALEY:¬† He's the best outfielder I've ever played with.¬† It's truly, truly a blessing to be able to learn from him every day, and being with him for two years, it's just one of those things where I honestly can say that wherever the ball is hit in the gaps, for split seconds, I really feel like he's going to catch every single ball.¬† It doesn't surprise me he made a catch like that because I see him do it all the time.¬† It just ended up being in a huge game, in a huge situation, and Steve‑o did what he always does.

Q.  Coach, I know you weren't exactly happy about not being able to play yesterday, but does it make it all worth it to get the performance you got out of Jared?
PAUL MAINIERI:  I don't feel it made it worth it.  We're still not real happy about what happened  because it can affect us down the road with the shorter rest for the super regional, that was my biggest concern quite frankly.  But I'm really proud of the guys, how they handled it.  The thing we talk to them a lot about right from the time they start here in August is being able to handle whatever happens, rainouts, rain delays, rescheduled games, a lot of different things happen in the sport of baseball because we're an outdoor sport.  I tell them all the time put an asterisk next to the games that we played in less than ideal conditions, weather changes and whatever else.  You have to get the job done, no excuses.  I think they were very determined today.  I think they were all pretty upset last night when I broke the news to them, and I thought they were going to come out firing today and led by Poche, I thought they all did.

Q.¬† To win back‑to‑back 2‑0 games, is that an added element or just an element that we haven't appreciated as much about this team?
PAUL MAINIERI:¬† Well, I think that's a natural thing for us.¬† We have such a good offensive team, so much attention is given to that, but really the whole team and the whole staff have known that we have an outstanding pitching staff, probably the most little known fact that you all don't give much attention to is we led the SEC in the lowest earned run average this year.¬† We were the only team in the league with a sub‑3.00 earned run average.¬† You don't do that with mirrors in this league.¬† Obviously we have some talented kids.¬† We talked all day up here and we haven't even mentioned Parker Bugg coming in and get being that big strikeout to end the game.¬† Guess what, if he didn't get that, Zac Person would have been in the game and he would have got a big out for us.¬† We never even used those guys this weekend and we won all three games.¬† I guess we used one of them as a batter but we never used Zac.¬† Russell Reynolds was ready.
We've got a good, deep pitching staff, but what Alan Dunn does with our pitching staff is really beyond words to describe.¬† He knows how to get the best out of each and every one of those guys, and I think that they have a mentality that they have to go out there and pitch a low‑run game.¬† That's not a reflection on their lack of confidence in our offense, just they want to take that responsibility on to themselves.¬† If it means you have to win a low scoring game, then we're going to pitch it that way.¬† Most of the time they do it.

Q.  Kind of a merging of those last two answers, this regional, rain aside, is this about as efficiently as you could go through a regional, just kind of take care of business?
PAUL MAINIERI:  I thought the first game worked out really well, piecing it together with all the bullpen guys.  I thought they all did a tremendous job, and then what can you say about Alex Lange's performance.  He was just amazing.  I mean, dominating.  Thrilling, exhilarating.  You guys are the men of words.  I'm not.  But you can come up with a lot of adjectives to describe that performance.  And then just when you think you've seen it all, you see this kid go out there and pitch the way he did.  You know, a different style, but equally effective and equally courageous.  So yeah, it was a very efficient regional, but I also thought at the same time it was spectacular in some ways, too.

Q.  Paul, did you get an explanation about why they moved last night's game?
PAUL MAINIERI:¬† I never talked to anybody from the NCAA.¬† Joe Alleva is the only one that did.¬† My understanding is they never gave him an exact reason.¬† Eddie Nu√Īez was monitoring, our associate athletic director, was monitoring the weather.¬† There was some forecasts out there.¬† We had a little light sprinkle around 10:00 or whatever, would never have affected the game.¬† We were pretty frustrated, quite frankly.
Any reason that we would give you for them having done it would have been purely speculative because to my knowledge a clear reason was never given to us.

Q.  How bad did you want Jared to be able to finish the game?
PAUL MAINIERI:¬† I wanted to win the game more than I wanted him to finish it, quite honestly, and it would have been nice to see him finish it, and I thought he was going to, and then he fell behind on that kid, and then when he threw a high fastball and the kid still got the barrel on the ball pretty good, the last thing I wanted to do was lose the game or get the game tied on a two‑run homer, and the candidate kid had gotten three hits last night.¬† He had some pretty good swings against Jared, I thought, and you know, it took a little gumption to make the move there.

Q.  So he could pitch the ninth until he gave up a base run?
PAUL MAINIERI:¬† Well, I was going to see how it was going to play out.¬† To me that was the perfect scenario to take him.¬† It wasn't a stolen base situation.¬† We were‑‑ we don't have the lefty holding the runner on first base.¬† We didn't need that.¬† The righty‑righty matchup, I knew bug had that out pitch.¬† Quite frankly I was a little bit surprised they pinch‑hit for the candidate kid, and then when they did pinch‑hit I thought they were going to bring in the kid they brought in the night against Lange who was kind of an all‑or‑nothing guy who had like five or six home runs and 20 strikeouts and 40 at‑bats.¬† I was kind of glad they didn't bring that guy in quite frankly.¬† He's a little scary.¬† But it would have been nice to see Jared finish, but he was at 120 pitches.¬† He had given every ounce of everything he had on a hot afternoon, and quite frankly I was very surprised he was still in the game at that point.
I must tell you that it was like d√©j√†‑vu for me, though, when we got through seven innings I thought back during the game to last year and being in that exact moment.¬† You know, we had shut out‑‑ well, we didn't shut out Houston for 16 innings but we had only given up one run in 16 innings and here we are going into the eighth and having given up zero runs in 16 innings in a close ballgame, and it's taken a year for us to kind of exorcise that demon from our mind, but we got through it.¬† And then Jared did a good job getting the first guy in the ninth or the first two guys in the ninth, and once he gave up that double, I just thought it was time to bring Parker in.¬† He was fantastic.

Q.  As you see the ball leave the bat on Stevenson's catch, what are you thinking?  Are you just used to seeing that by now?
PAUL MAINIERI:¬† I really am.¬† The people that don't see us play or haven't seen us play that much over the course of the last two years, that might jump out to them as an exceptional play, and it obviously was for anybody, but we've seen him make that catch so many times.¬† I see it in practice all the time.¬† You know, he's got tremendous ability, but he also has a never‑give‑up type attitude that allows him to close on balls like that.¬† He looks like Odell Beckham, Jr., going after those balls quite frankly.¬† He makes unbelievable plays.¬† But the thing that most impressed me about the play was how quickly he got to his feet to get the ball in so we could double the runner on first base, so it showed a tremendous amount of awareness.
I should also mention, I mentioned about some of those great plays early in the game, but Mark Laird made a couple nice catches, as well, the one in the gap and the one in the right field corner, especially during the daytime with the sun out.  Those are not easy plays.

Q.  Coach, will you or Joe consider asking the NCAA to consider starting on Saturday instead of Friday?
PAUL MAINIERI:  We have already.

Q.  Do you have an answer yet?
PAUL MAINIERI:  No, I don't think so.  I haven't talked to Joe yet.  I think that would be the only fair thing, quite frankly.

Q.  Regardless of when it starts, super regional, Alex Box Stadium, can't ever take it for granted, right, the stage that you guys are on?
PAUL MAINIERI:  Well, you know, you hear Jake Fraley use the word blessing five times or so today.  But honestly, you just feel very fortunate to have an opportunity to work at an institution like this, to be able to recruit young men like we have on our team to work with coaches like we have, to have support staff like we have.  You know, how about our fans?  I can't go this entire press conference without talking about our fans.  At 1:10 in the morning we had it seemed like a packed stadium that was as loud as any stadium I've ever been in a couple of nights ago.  They show up on Friday night, they show up on Monday afternoon.  They're there for us all the time.  You know, all the things that you see are what makes LSU baseball so unique and so special.
So now to have another team with 51 wins in our back pocket and trying to make it 53 so we can get another trip to Omaha is going to be an exciting week, regardless of the opponent.¬† I know if the opponent is from an hour away, it'll even ratchet up the intensity even a little bit more, which would be really exciting.¬† But whether it's Rice or whether it's ULL, it's going to be a fun weekend.¬† It's going to be exciting, and I never take it for granted.¬† I think‑‑ I feel very blessed to have this opportunity to be the coach here.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports




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