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NCAA BASEBALL CHAMPIONSHIP REGIONALS: CHAMPAIGN


June 1, 2015


Dan Hartleb

Tyler Jay

David Kerian

Will Krug


CHAMPAIGN, ILLINOIS

Illinois テや 8
Wright State - 4

テつ
COACH HARTLEB:テつ I guess to start with, obviously very, very happy but really proud of the guys up here and the rest of the team, the way they went about their business to this point the entire season.テつ I don't think people understand how difficult it is to, No.1, make the NCAA Tournament, but then to be a national seed and now to win a regional, those are great accomplishments.
This group has been outstanding because of what their vision is, and their vision is not just to win a regional.テつ With today's game, very, very tough game.テつ Take my hat off to Wright State.テつ They were very tough, outstanding, scrappy.テつ But these guys did such a good job.テつ We got very good pitching.テつ Tyler Jay came in, was outstanding for his stint, for his four innings.テつ And then you look at Will Krug, came up with key hits all day.テつ Put us ahead with the big double into the gap and then David Kerian puts the icing on the cake.
As always, a team win.テつ We did a great job on the mound.テつ We did a great job defensively, and then I think eight out of nine of our hitters had hits.テつ And the bottom of the order, RBIs all over the place again.テつ So just proud of the guys because of the team effort.

Q.テつ First regional title ever for Illinois, most wins in Illinois history.テつ What does that all mean to you?
WILL KRUG:テつ Probably still, not shock, but it's surreal.テつ Maybe it will hit us soon, but right now, it's awesome.テつ Having everyone come out to the game all weekend, even through not great weather and packing the stadium for our games was awesome.
So this whole season has been a blast.テつ I mean, can't put it any better than that.
TYLER JAY:テつ Yeah, I just think that all that stuff is really cool, nice.テつ But our team goal has been to get to Omaha this whole time.テつ It's really just an accomplishment that goes with our whole goal that we've been trying to strive for this whole year.
DAVID KERIAN:テつ And just seeing our hard work and dedication payoff is nice to see, like Tyler said, we have goals and everybody knows them.テつ But step‑by‑step, we are going to get it done.

Q.テつ Coming back in games seems to not be a problem for you this season.テつ How much of that is going over adjustments in the dugout with pitchers on the mound, or do you see the ball better later in games?テつ What could be accredited to that?
WILL KRUG:テつ I would say it's a mixture of all those things.テつ But I look at our team, we have a veteran team, guys that have been around.テつ I think it's that kind of mentality and how we practice and whatnot; that even when it gets later in the games and even when you're down, there's no panic.テつ There's never been panic in the dugout.テつ We know we are going to get our job done.テつ It's just a matter of when.テつ I think it's that; that veteran team.
TYLER JAY:テつ I think it's just that our hitters trust the pitching and the pitching trusts our hitters.テつ So if we're down we know as a pitching staff that if we get through this inning, odds are we are going to put up some runs.テつ And they know, if they don't score some runs that we are going to go out there and shut down that next inning.テつ I think just being and having each other's back's really helps us.

Q.テつ Tyler, the first two games, didn't have to go to the bullpen at all.テつ Nice to finally get out there?
TYLER JAY:テつ Yeah, it's definitely nice.テつ If I don't have to throw and our guys are out there throwing complete games, I have no problem waiting to throw until the last day until the championship game.テつ That is not an issue at all.テつ It's great to see guys that have been starting all year really picking up their game towards the end and really going out there and doing a great job.

Q.テつ Did you and Coach talk about when you would come in?テつ Was there a discussion that you won't come in for the fifth, sixth or anything like that?
TYLER JAY:テつ No.テつ I just know that, like I said, if I don't throw, I learned that I can throw more innings on that third day.テつ So if I don't throw the first two games, that I'm expected to have those long innings.テつ It's kind of something I've known throughout the whole year and I've really adjusted to.テつ It's just something that you know your role at this point.テつ I went into the game knowing it could be one inning or it could be four and it's just something that I've got to be ready for.

Q.テつ You've had a couple of acrobatic plays in the field today.テつ You've proved that you can field your position, as well as pitch your way out of jams and get batters out by strikeouts.テつ Talk a little about that.
TYLER JAY:テつ First of all, I thought that ball was an absolute shot at me and I got a little freaked out.テつ I called it and I didn't know who I'm supposed to throw to, whether it was David or Ryan, so I kind of just kind of stood there.テつ So I throw it to Dave eventually.
Yeah, I just kind of saw the ball up, so I jumped for it as high as I could and I looked down and it was in my glove.テつ It was pretty cool.

Q.テつ You've probably gotten used to it by now, but as soon as you come into the game, the guns come out.テつ What feeling does that give you do you block it out entirely?
TYLER JAY:テつ I didn't.テつ I couldn't tell you where my parents sit in the game.テつ I had no idea that there were guns up.テつ I'm sure there were, as soon as you said that‑‑ but I'm just really focusing on the glove and executing my pitches and that's it.

Q.テつ How does it feel when they intentionally walk Kerian and you come up and slam an RBI double?
WILL KRUG:テつ It's not a bad feeling.テつ I don't know, I've hit behind Dave for most of the year, and there's two things.テつ One, there's a fan at our games, her name is Tiffany Hand, and she goes crazy when David comes up; she's ‑‑ her biggest fan.テつ It's great to hit behind him because I get to hear that.
And the other part is, yeah, David gets intentionally walked every now and then, and then I get a chance to get up there and, you know, just try to have a good AB and it's worked out a couple times this year.テつ It's a great feeling.

Q.テつ Bottom third of the lineup produced most of the runs today.テつ For you two and for Ryan, what does that say about this team that seven, eight, nine, did all the damage?
DAVID KERIAN:テつ It just says that anybody in the lineup can hurt the other team at any time.テつ We trust each other.テつ We know each other what we're going to do and that we are capable to do that.テつ No matter when it is in the game, when a top half isn't hitting, the bottom half will help.テつ So it's just picking each other up.
SEAN MURPHY:テつ Exactly.テつ Someone, the top or middle might come to hit at other games.テつ You never know when.

Q.テつ What happened with that home plate collision?
DAVID KERIAN:テつ I was running home, running as hard as I could.テつ I was about to slide until I saw he was in the baseline.テつ I mean, I didn't want to dive feet first or head first and get something broken.
So I just thought of the next best option, and I mean, just safer for both of us, for his chest and my legs.テつ I thought it was the best option right there, not to hurt him.テつ I was just trying to score.

Q.テつ You're named MVP of the regional.テつ Does that add anything special to this?
DAVID KERIAN:テつ I mean, a little something, but I mean, everybody helped each other out.テつ It's unbelievable.テつ Just with Will Krug, Ryne Roper, they were out standing in this tournament, everybody was.テつ It's great.テつ The whole team deserves it.

Q.テつ Looking overwhelmingly likely that you guys are going to get Vanderbilt the next weekend.テつ Going to take a crack at those arms?
TYLER JAY:テつ I'm excited, very excited.テつ I played with a couple of those guys in the summer and I'm really looking forward to the chance to playing against them, that's for sure.
DAVID KERIAN:テつ We know that they have some top draft pick arms.テつ We've been facing Tyler for a couple years, so we know what that's like.テつ I mean, we know that they will come out and compete.テつ They are a great team.テつ They won last year.テつ So we are going to be excited to go out there and just play like we have been.
WILL KRUG:テつ Yeah, get to spend another week with the team and go out and compete against some good competition.テつ So can't ask for anything more.

Q.テつ You seem happy about the wind, but not satisfied yet with just a regional?
TYLER JAY:テつ Definitely you're satisfied but like I kind of said earlier, our goal has not been, let's get to a regional or let's win a regional or let's get to a super.テつ It's to get to Omaha and win Omaha.テつ It's kind of just a step and it's the process to get to what we have really wanted to do the whole year.テつ It's nice that this comes along with it and you look back and it will be cool, but our goal is to get to Omaha and win it.

Q.テつ Was that goal from first day of fall practice?
TYLER JAY:テつ Yep.
WILL KRUG:テつ Absolutely.テつ Something that's been said before, if you're not coming out here to be the best in the world at what you do, you're kind of wasting your time.テつ So absolutely.
TYLER JAY:テつ Definitely still take it one game at a time for sure.テつ It's not like we are all blowing by it.テつ It's one game at a time, one at‑bat at a time and one pitch at a time, and that's just kind of how we've been going at it the whole year.

Q.テつ You saw Vanderbilt in 2013 and will likely see Carson again this weekend.テつ What kind of stuff can you go back and draw from that regional to help prepare the guys for next weekends?
COACH HARTLEB:テつ We'll take a look at some charts and things from two years ago.テつ Going to face a very, very good arm.テつ They are going to face some very good arms, as well.テつ It's going to be, you know, a great battle, and really looking forward to it.
You just have to go up and have a solid approach and swing at balls in the zone and we'll be in great shape.テつ So it's going to be a great super regional, and that's what it's all about.テつ You have to be good people to get to the top and that's what we are going out to accomplish.

Q.テつ What was your view on the collision at home?
COACH HARTLEB:テつ That's just a tough play.テつ It happened in a game not with us, but a game in the Big Ten tournament.テつ It's so tough when to slide, when to try to dive.テつ The ball kind of took the catcher up the baseline.テつ You're not allowed to be on the baseline or blocking the plate without the ball, and so you have to make that decision.
Dave is trying it figure out how to get home plate because you teach him to go straight for the plate because it's not allowed to be blocked.テつ Those are extremely tough calls.テつ I thought it was just incidental.
I understand both sides of it.テつ There was an argument about Dave's contact.テつ And on the other side, you know, I questioned the fact:テつ Was he blocking the plate without the ball.テつ And I thought it was handled well.テつ Tough situation.テつ Everybody gets emotional and caught up in things because there's a lot on the line.
But I thought the umpire did a great job all weekend.テつ These games are never easy because of the emotions that are there.テつ The officials that were sent in here were outstanding.

Q.テつ Did your team get together and regroup and refocus after all that happened?
COACH HARTLEB:テつ We had a short meeting, one‑sided meeting, basically.テつ Because you have to keep your composure, and you also have to expect for other things to escalate later in the game because of emotions.
Our guys just need to understand, stay focused, we can't do anything stupid where you're going to miss games in the future.テつ And our guys are mature, they understand that.テつ I guess my fear is always that we are so competitive and that we have guys that go out and play as hard as they can and their emotions get to them at times.
I just want to make sure that we backed off a little bit from a mentality standpoint on how we were going to handle close calls, things being said to us, those types of things.
But the group relaxed right away and went out and got their jobs done.

Q.テつ Have you thought about bringing in Jay in that fifth inning before you brought in J.D.?
COACH HARTLEB:テつ We could have.テつ It's tough.テつ It's tough to know exactly when to bring him in.テつ With a two‑run lead, would have been nice.テつ But at the same time, we are not going to over‑extend him.テつ So pitch count is always a concern.テつ If something happens and you don't win that game, did you burn him and don't have him for the night cap.テつ And so there's a lot of things that went through my mind.テつ I thought we got him in at the right time.テつ Tyler has done a great job for us all year.テつ Obviously one of the best pitchers in the country.テつ We've got a lot of other good pitchers, too, that I trust when we put them out there.テつ And so everybody has a job to do.
I thought Drew did a great job handling the staff and having the right guys ready at the right time.

Q.テつ Was pitching Tyler Jay today part of the plan no matter what, regardless of any circumstances?
COACH HARTLEB:テつ Tyler was going to get extended today a little bit regardless.テつ We've done that throughout the year as he talked about.テつ We knew he was going to pitch some in capacity and it was probably going to be an extended capacity.テつ But we just needed to wait and let things unfold.テつ Tyler is a person that is going to be a major part of our weekend next weekend.テつ So to make sure that he got time on the mound and quality time and got his pitch total up again I thought was important.

Q.テつ How much has the laser focus to Omaha helped you achieve each step along the way?
COACH HARTLEB:テつ This group has not gotten caught up in one win or one loss all year, because again, it's a process.テつ We talk about the process of getting better from day‑to‑day.テつ And you talk about the process of what it takes to be a champion, and these guys have done all the right things to win some championships.
And I know when it's all said and done, we are going to be proud of the championships that we have won to this point.テつ But this group's been businesslike.テつ It's one step at a time.テつ We've got some things that we've achieved and are behind us and now we have to look forward and make sure that we are doing the right things to continue to move forward.

Q.テつ There's a lot of talk last week about hosting the regional and what it would be like.テつ Was it all you hoped it would be?テつ Was it all you thought it would be?
COACH HARTLEB:テつ The regional, first time being here in Champaign, very proud that our team was able to accomplish that.テつ It's not easy to get in the NCAA Tournament.テつ It's definitely not easy to host, and it's extremely difficult to be one of the top eight seeds.テつ And so those are a lot of the accomplishments.
We had a lot of things that went into this.テつ First, our administration has been outstanding.テつ Mike Thomas, Mike Waddell, starting two to two months ago, it was something that had to be planned.テつ And you look at Zack (ph) and everybody that's been involved with the planning and the construction of the facility, basically.テつ There's just so much that goes into it.
I'm very confident that everybody that was here had a great experience, and that's what it's all about.テつ I had a great experience because we have our home fans here, and then to win it, it's been fun.テつ So yes, I'm very proud of what's been accomplished, and looking forward to the next step.

Q.テつ Do you keep Dave in the seven spot because he can do damage there and anchor the bottom of your lineup?
COACH HARTLEB:テつ That's a good question, fair question.テつ Dave's done a good job.テつ I think everybody understands their roles and they have a certain mentality.テつ I don't like to shake the lineup up a lot.テつ Sometimes you have to, but we're so solid from top to bottom, and we have RBI threats from top to bottom.
And to have that type of punch in the seven‑hole, I'll go out on a limb and say there's no other team in the country that has that.テつ So very many could for table with him there.テつ You just feel good that regardless of who is up, we have opportunities to score and gives you a lot of punch.

Q.テつ Over the course of the season, you've sacrificed some at‑bats for him to keep that‑‑
COACH HARTLEB:テつ He's got a lot of at‑bats.
The last thing, Max Eric, I know he's not in here, but the NCAA reps, you guys did a great job.テつ Appreciate everything you did for the tournament.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports




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