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June 14, 2015

Preston Morrison

Derek Odell

Jim Schlossnagle

Connor Wanhanen


TCU 10 - LSU 3

THE MODERATOR: Representing TCU, head coach Jim Schlossnagle, starting pitcher is Preston Morrison and designated hitter is Connor Wanhanen and third baseman Derek Odell. Coach, an opening statement.

COACH SCHLOSSNAGLE: Excited about the win. Certainly I thought that it was going to be neck and neck there in the first couple of innings. Poché was pitching well, Preston was pitching well. Cody throwing the guy out at the plate gave us a big lift. And obviously we took advantage of some of the things that -- you know, they made mistakes early in the game. And I thought Preston caught a rhythm. And we played really good defense behind him, especially Crain. And then just had some big at-bats late in the game to extend the lead, and Preston pitching so well I think took some wind out of their sails. Happy to win and ready to play again.


Q. Preston, your first postseason win here at Omaha, what are the emotions like for you right now and what did it take for you to shut down that lineup today?
PRESTON MORRISON: I was pretty -- it was very exciting. I think the most important thing for me is just getting another step closer to our ultimate goal is the national championship. But as far as their lineup, they're a good lineup and I had to adjust a little bit after that one-run inning. They were kind of going after me earlier in the count than we had planned for. But we make adjustment and so far -- I mean, it worked out, I guess.

Q. Derek, you saw Cody Jones throw out a guy at the plate from your spot. He's a senior just like you. What did that play mean to you and the team?
DEREK ODELL: Up until that point it was pretty -- I felt like the game was neck and neck. There was no momentum in either side because the pitchers were kind of mowing hitters down up until then. But you know the throw -- and just a play like that all in all is uplifting and that really got our dugout going.

Q. Jim, from an offensive standpoint a lot of people didn't talk about your offense going into the postseason, but the last couple of weeks, including today, seems like your guys' approach, seems like this is a pretty confident lineup. What's kind of the big difference for you guys the last two and a half weeks and maybe before that offensively?
COACH SCHLOSSNAGLE: We led the Big 12 in hitting all year. It's not like we've been anemic all year. I just think we have some veteran guys that have been in the postseason. They're used to these games. They're used to playing in front of big crowds so they're not fazed whereas some other people may be. That was one of the things we talked about before today is our Omaha experience, and I think that showed today, and that's neat to say about TCU, because there hasn't been a lot of it prior to the last four or five years. But our offense has been solid throughout the course of the season. And the great thing about our offense is it remains pretty consistent throughout the lineup. There's no -- other than maybe Skoug, there's no guy that you're just flat built around. But you can score at any time, because there's competent base runners, there's guys that -- they play for each other in terms of taking pitches or trying to get the pitches from the pitcher and you see constant conversation throughout the course of the game. That's the sign of a veteran club and a selfless club as well.

Q. Derek, you're batting over .500 in the postseason after slumping a little bit in the regular season. You lead the team in two-out RBIs. Why do you think you're hitting so well so far this tournament?
DEREK ODELL: I think I'm just getting my pitch to hit. Being patient up there and it sounds pretty simple. But I'm letting the bad ones go and I'm waiting on the one that I want to hit, and I'm ready for a fastball. And when I get it, I'm not missing it. So I guess it's just as simple as that.

Q. Coach and Derek, you talked about what Preston has meant to this team throughout his whole career but I guess seeing him out there again today on the big stage, performing like he did, getting his first win, I guess what does he mean to this program and this run you guys are making toward the title? And Derek how confident are you guys no matter who you're playing when you see Preston on the hill?
COACH SCHLOSSNAGLE: He's the best pitcher in the history of the school, bar none. He's pitched great in the postseason throughout his entire career. He just hasn't had a whole lot to show for it because when you're in the postseason you're facing another great pitcher. He's pitched deep into games, including last week into the tenth inning. So I'm just excited to see him get a chance to pitch again today and hopefully -- that's why I took him out. I didn't want him to go deep in the game. I just wanted him to be as fresh as he possibly can be, the next time we need him. But you're looking at a TCU Hall of Famer, and I think a guy that can pitch in the Big Leagues. I have no doubt about that. He's a rocking chair pitcher. That means I can sit back in the rocking chair and watch him go. That means he's always going to throw strikes. He's going to give you a chance. If he keeps the ball down and we play defense behind him, he's just awful tough to beat because he's not going to beat himself.

Q. Derek, obviously watching him pitch, how confident are you guys no matter what kind of offense you're facing that he'll be able to keep you in the game?
DEREK ODELL: We as a defense love playing behind Preston, just because there's no lull to the game. You're not having any downtime. He pitches to contact. He's a sinkerball pitcher. So we all have to be ready for ground balls. And we enjoy the amount of strikes that he throws. And we're so confident in Preston, just because, you know, he's so even-keeled; nothing affects him bad or good. And he's got that confidence which gives us confidence behind him to make plays in the same way. But there's nobody we would -- I speak for all the infielders when I say there's nobody we would rather have on the mound in a big situation than Preston Morrison. He's our guy.

Q. Jim, once again a team started a left-hander against you and once again you showed you guys can hit lefties. Was this a point of emphasis for you guys in the fall and the preseason, or is it just something that's evolved as the season's gone on?
COACH SCHLOSSNAGLE: Well, there's no doubt we knew going into the season it looked like that our best lineup, our best players, when you combine offense and defense and base running, was going to include a lot of left-handed hitters. So we have really good left-handed pitchers on our team. The fact that they got to see all fall a guy like Wanhanen and Skoug and get to see Alex Young and Tyler Alexander, Drew Gooch and Travis Evans, those are similar to what we're going to see all year. And thankful to Mr. Malcolm Louden, one of our largest donors who helped us build an unbelievable hitting facility. And in there we've got all these pitching machines. So they see a left handed breaking ball every day. So I really think that's had a lot to do with our development. And then of course you get in the season and that's what you see -- when in doubt, the other team throws a lefty. And when you come out of the bullpen it's usually not a left-hander. When you see it all year long, then eventually you get used to it. So I think some of that is a little overblown, especially when you look at our numbers, a lot of the left-handed hitters hit lefties better than righties.

Q. Coach, the talk the last couple of weeks have been about this team being a team of destiny. They come back against NC State and 16 innings against A&M. Does it help the team to have that feel that destiny is on your side?
COACH SCHLOSSNAGLE: I don't know if they have that feel. I just know we're kind of eight seniors. We knew going into the season -- in college baseball, if you have eight seniors on your team, they're usually just okay players. They're not great players, because most of the really good players get drafted and sign into professional baseball. That's not the case with this bunch. These are all guys that either were drafted in their junior year and could have come back or had they said the right thing like Preston, had they made themselves signable for a small bonus in their junior year, then they would be gone. But these guys have played so much baseball. They've been in three Super Regionals, two College World Series, and they've been part of a season that was bad in 2013, but we also -- we pitched like crazy that year, so we played a lot of close games. They played so many close games through the course of the season that they're used to playing them. I don't believe in destiny or luck or anything. I just believe that this is -- we have a good team. I mean, I know we get downplayed physically compared to other schools, other teams. But I mean, we're not bad. We've won 50 games in the Big 12, and that's pretty good.

Q. Coach, did you bring Connor Wanhanen in here, too?
COACH SCHLOSSNAGLE: He's right there.

Q. Connor, you had three hits today. This is what you expect for your College World Series game, I'm sure, but what did your two-RBI hit do for the team, that was the one that broke it open at 6-1?
CONNOR WANHANEN: Obviously that was a big play making the lead what it was. But I mean, it's just getting up there situationally. I knew I needed to see a pitch up and something I could drive. He threw a couple of good pitches I took that were more to the lower half of the zone. But these guys, anybody could have done it. That's the way our lineup is. It just happened to be me that got up with the bases loaded. I was just trying to get a pitch up and do what we can.

Q. Coach, were you planning on using Riley today pretty much any situation, and was it kind of ideal that you had them with a lead and how did you assess the nine strikes in an 11-pitches outing?
COACH SCHLOSSNAGLE: Sure. And the first two were balls and he threw, what, nine straight strikes, right? I definitely wanted to get him in the game. He was going to pitch either way, whether we were up, down or close. And certainly it's a lot easier to get him work when that's the situation. But as you know, a lot of times when you bring a closer in in that situation, they go in the tank. And so I was really happy to see that. Just like to see the smile on his face. So we've never had any doubt about him. And certainly I understand his performance in the last three weeks. That's understandable to ask the questions that have been asked. But he's been money in the bank for us three years. He's going to pitch in the Big Leagues, barring injury. He's part of who we are. He's the reason we've won 50 games.

Q. Preston, your coach just said that earlier that your Omaha experience showed y'all's team. From a pitcher's perspective, what did you think of LSU's pitcher with those two errors to first base on the throws? Just from your vantage point what did you see on that?
PRESTON MORRISON: You mean, those two errors? I mean, for us as a team we never lob throw. Even when you have time, either run it over, nice underhand flip or get your feet underneath you and make a strong 80 percent throw. So I mean, honestly, it could happen to anybody, with the lob throw. In that situation I just think you've got to throw it regular.

Q. Connor, did you feel the offense kind of create some momentum after those two errors, like did it feel like a big shift in the game at that point?
CONNOR WANHANEN: Absolutely. That was a huge turning point for us, I think. And one thing we've really been stressing for the last couple of weeks in the postseason is kind of analogy to boxing match: Working the cut. And well, there it was, there was the cut that we saw in them. We really took advantage of it, just getting each guy up, passing the torch on to the next guy. That's something we were really trying to do. Once we see an open door, we'll try and push through it.

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