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NCAA BASEBALL CHAMPIONSHIP SUPER REGIONALS: BATON ROUGE


June 6, 2015


Jake Fraley

Alex Lange

Paul Mainieri

Chris Sciambra


BATON ROUGE, LOUISIANA

LSU - 4
La.-Lafayette - 3

THE MODERATOR:  Let's start with Alex.  Please talk about your outing a little bit.
ALEX LANGE:  I felt good.  I had my stuff working tonight.  One walk tonight, so the command was there.  Made some bad pitch tonight and the guy put a pretty good swing on it.  That's one thing I want to have back.  But I'm just really glad we won.  This is a team effort.  Defense played great, and obviously these two guys in the offense stepped up big for me.
THE MODERATOR:¬† Jake, three RBIs in the first two at‑bats, home run and a double.¬† Talk about those two at‑bats, please.
JAKE FRALEY:  Yeah, for most of the year I've been being pitched out, not a lot of balls inside, but early today with the first two at bats, they came in on me and I was able to get the barrel around on it and was fortunate enough to get those runs in.
THE MODERATOR:¬† Chris, talk about that last at‑bat maybe.
CHRIS SCIAMBRA:¬† Well, first of all, Alex kept us in that game.¬† We really made it way too tough on ourselves and on him to keep us in that game like that.¬† He did it last weekend.¬† He was able to go the distance, but this weekend he wasn't.¬† Right whenever he gave up that swing in the top of the ninth I started focusing my attention on‑‑ I knew I was going to get an at‑bat in the ninth inning.¬† I stopped being a fan for a second and ready to cheer him on for a complete game and got my mind ready to go up there and hit, and honestly had two not great swings to start the at‑bat off of, and I got a decent pitch to hit again, I missed my first one, and I got that one and I just put a good swing on it and just‑‑ just an unbelievable feeling for me.
THE MODERATOR:  Coach, a few comments, please.
PAUL MAINIERI:¬† Well, first of all, I'd like to compliment Louisiana for the way they played tonight.¬† They just played tremendous.¬† I told Wyatt Marks after the game how much I thought he'd improved and he competed really hard.¬† His stuff was good.¬† Jake put a couple of good swings on him early in the game, and then he kind of settled in and didn't give us a lot of good pitches to hit, and when we did hit them, the third baseman Robbins just made some unbelievable plays.¬† The shoe was kind of on the other foot tonight, we got out‑hit just like they got out‑hit all weekend last weekend but found a way to win.¬† This game they out‑hit us and somehow we found a way to win, and I think Chris said it right.¬† Alex Lange just put the team on his shoulders tonight and gave us a real chance.
I wanted to see him finish there in the ninth, and when you throw a first pitch fastball for a stroke, he's doing exactly what he should do, and the kid hits his first home run of the year, how can you predict something like that is going to happen.  You give credit to him.  It's a shame Alex didn't get the win.
I thought Parker Bugg's job that he did coming in out of the bullpen in relief of Alex and getting the three quick outs, you know, gave us a chance then in the bottom of the ninth inning, and so it's not how you draw them up, but we'll take it.  I've been in this game a long time.  I've seen just about everything, but that was one for the ages there.

Q.  Chris, you mentioned you swung out of your shoes.  Looked like you almost left your cleats there right before that.  Do you look back and think maybe you just joined Warren Morris in that pretty unique club?
CHRIS SCIAMBRA:¬† No, I can't say that.¬† Maybe I joined the Tyler Moore club, but I don't think anything‑‑ being in Omaha like that, that's just an unbelievable comparison, but I don't think in my mind, no.¬† But I do love LSU baseball, and to be compared to that, that's pretty awesome.

Q.  (Inaudible).
CHRIS SCIAMBRA:¬† Yeah, he threw me a changeup over the plate and I tried to stay back.¬† I was telling myself not to hit a home run that at‑bat.¬† I wasn't trying to.¬† I just got big, which I tend to do sometimes.¬† That's what I'm trying to work on to improve, keeping my swing short, and honestly just got too big whenever I saw that changeup floating over the plate.

Q.  Paul, you've moved Jake up and down the batting order quite a bit this year.  What went into your decision to bat him second?
PAUL MAINIERI:¬† Well, obviously he had a great night.¬† I'm sure he'd like to have one at‑bat back.¬† I wanted to put Laird in the leadoff spot.¬† Laird tweaked his shoulder last weekend on a swing, and had to go see the doctor, and so we had to give him a couple of days off swinging, and then when he came back, I thought his batting practices were really good.¬† His bat speed was better than it had been before, and I just wanted to get him in that lead‑off spot, and then Jake got a new bat at the beginning of the week.¬† Right, Jake?¬† And I'll tell you, he had some really good batting practices all week, as well.¬† I thought his bat was like lightning all week.¬† He was hitting the ball as hard as I've ever seen him hit it.¬† So I just decided to stick those two guys up there at the top of the order, see if they could make something happen, and I thought with the young kid, freshman pitcher in this environment that he might have little command issues, first batter of the game, and Laird is‑‑ we made him be kind of patient up there with some take signs and he Drew the leadoff walk there which got us going, and then of course we got lucky there with the fastball, got him to second base, and then Jake came through with the RBI double.¬† I guess it worked out pretty well there, and then of course he hit the big home run later on.

Q.  Chris, Cannizaro gave you a pep talk before you hit in the ninth.  What exactly did he tell you?
CHRIS SCIAMBRA:¬† Nothing about hitting.¬† Just going up there and the way we compete at the plate and how bad we want to win this game and the approach that we should have.¬† But it was nothing physical about hitting or the way the guy was pitching us.¬† It was just to give us a little‑‑ to keep playing the game and to pick us up a little bit and tell us it's a tie game, we haven't lost this game, we're still in it, let's go get 'em.

Q.  Alex, pitching through the rain, I think it was the eighth inning or something, what was that like, having to deal with that?
ALEX LANGE:  You can't control the rain.  You've got to pitch through it.  Nothing you can do about it.  They had to deal with the same thing at the plate, and when they went back out for the inning.
It's part of the game.  It's something you have to deal with, and just a little adversity that you have to overcome.  Really try not to let it affect your game.

Q.¬† Chris, for as much as you rooted for LSU as a youngster, what do you think you would tell little 12‑year‑old Chris that went to Omaha and cried for LSU?¬† What do you think he would think about this, and what does this mean to you for as much as you grew up rooting for this team, to come through with such a clutch moment?
CHRIS SCIAMBRA:¬† Well, you prepare your whole life for an at‑bat in a situation like that.¬† You play the game, it's to get to the next level and the next level and eventually to come to LSU.¬† If I had to tell him something, you know, back then, it would be just keep playing, keep playing hard, just like I would tell any kid right now out there, keep going at it and play the game the right way and good things will happen.

Q.  Coach, obviously a huge series here, tons of people in the stadium, and you've got two freshman pitchers out there just kind of dueling.  What does it say about those guys to be able to kind of put that huge moment down and just go out there and pitch?
PAUL MAINIERI:  Well, they might have been the two guys displaying the greatest amount of poise of everybody out there.  The two of them really competed hard against each other, and they were both tremendous.  I already spoke about what I thought about what Wyatt did, but I wouldn't trade my guy for anybody in the world.  Alex Lange is the ultimate warrior out there, and he just battles, and he's obviously got great stuff, but he makes big pitches at big times and gets himself out of jams because he's got great stuff and he's got the fortitude to make great pitches.
Alex is a winner, and it's great to have him on our team.

Q.  Alex, you were pretty dominant most of the night.  Do you feel like ULL changed their approach at the plate as the game went on or was it just they had seen you enough times that eventually it was going to come around for them?
ALEX LANGE:  I don't know if any team just comes around.  I made a couple mistakes and they just capitalized like a good hitting team does.  This is the reason they're in the super regionals is because they know how to get jobs done, and when you make mistakes over the middle of the plate, you get hit, and that's what happened.

Q.  Coach, have you decided on a pitching plan for tomorrow yet?
PAUL MAINIERI:  Jared Poché will pitch tomorrow.

Q.  What's the message for the team tomorrow?  Obviously y'all are coming off a big win and very high, but how do you keep them kind of level after that?
PAUL MAINIERI:  Well, I don't think that'll be very hard.  I thought ULL played a great game tonight and in some regards we were fortunate to win, obviously.  We obviously have a very formidable opponent on our hands.  We need one more win to get to Omaha.  They understand that.  They understand how the whole thing works.  There's nothing I need to say to them to make them understand the gravity of what's going to happen tomorrow, so we need to come out tomorrow and we need to start swinging the bats.  We're putting such pressure on our pitching staff that one mistake can end up costing them the game or costing them a lead or whatever, and we've just got to start getting back to swinging the bats the way we know we can.  We've been struggling for a handful of games now and just part of it is they made some tremendous plays, but we had a runner at third base with nobody out.  That's got to be a run for us.  We've just got to tackle them there and we let them off the hook there, and we've just got to get better.  We're not nearly as good as we can be.

Q.  You mentioned the hitting, but Alex Bregman hasn't really gotten it going yet, but he still makes the big play in the eighth.
PAUL MAINIERI:  Well, you know, like a broken record answering that question, you know that, because last year went through a terrible slump and just played tremendous defense, and I think that shows the true character of a person when they don't do well in one aspect of the game, particularly in hitting, where it's such the dominant part of your game, but yet you still want to win so badly that you go out there and you don't pout and you don't hang your head and you go out there and play hard and make the plays that you need to make.  That play in the eight inning was an enormously clutch play and Chinea made a great play at first base and it gave us a chance.  It kept us with a one run lead at that point and those things add up.  I complimented the first baseman for them, but you could look at our guys, too.  They made some important plays when they needed to, and we made some big pitches, as well.
Hopefully we'll play a little bit better tomorrow and hopefully we'll have a good all‑around game.

Q.  Paul, you touched on it just there, Chinea with the scoop on that play, that's something that early on in the season he struggled with a little bit.  What's that say about him, to come back after the error that kind of let the inning get going?
PAUL MAINIERI:¬† Yeah, was that ruled an error?¬† They called it a hit?¬† I couldn't tell was it a throw on‑line, should he have caught the ball?¬† Well, it's obviously a play we thought should have been made, whether it needed to be thrown a little bit better, it was a pretty important play in the game.¬† But I will say this:¬† Chris is a winner, and he's worked hard.¬† He's been a clutch hitter for us all year, came here as a catcher and we've converted him to first base, and he's worked real hard at his defense.¬† He goes up there off the pitching machine, we set it up and fire balls in the dirt to him every day at practice and he picks about 50 of them.¬† So he ought to be getting pretty good at it as much as he's worked at it.¬† But the kids are also older and they've understood as we keep preaching to them about the little things and how much of a big difference they make, and if you want to win close games against good teams in the NCAA tournament, you know, you can sit and talk about I want to be a national champion, I want to go to Omaha, but the reality is you go out there and you work at those little aspects of the game because you know they're going to rear their head at a pivotal time in the season, and when Chinea made that pick the first thing I thought of is all those balls he's practiced over the course of the year picking off the machine, and we got it when we needed it.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports




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