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June 15, 2015

Willie Abreu

Jacob Heyward

Jim Morris

Thomas Woodrey


Miami 4 - Arkansas 3

THE MODERATOR: Representing Miami, head coach Jim Morris, right fielder Willie Abreu, outfielder Jacob Heyward, and starting pitcher Thomas Woodrey. Coach, if you would begin with an opening statement.

COACH MORRIS: That would be Mr. Heyward. Mr. Heyward. First of all, I want to congratulate Arkansas on their season. They did a great job every inning coming back and getting the lead-off guy on and for five straight innings they got the lead-off guy and kept answering him back. That's a credit to a good team. They kept battling. You could see why they won and why they're in the World Series. And did a great job there. But for us, you know, huge win. It's a huge win. It's a great way -- of course Willie's double to get it going. And Mr. Heyward's day. Goodness gracious. He had an unbelievable day from the two-run homer to everything -- I gotta be honest with you, not bunting him over -- when we were bunting there in the bottom of the tenth and he didn't get it over -- I was almost glad because I just had a feeling he was going to get a hit. It was one of those days. Of course he ripped it and you knew he was going to score when they did that. Bryan Garcia did a great job getting the win there at the end. Big win for our team. Really good win. And to keep us alive in the series.


Q. Jacob, just talk a little bit about your day. Obviously the two-run jack got you up 2-0 and you kept it going from there?
JACOB HEYWARD: I had fun. It's a blessing to be here at the College World Series with my teammates, and just playing hard for my teammates. I wasn't playing the start of the year and I just appreciate Coach for having faith in me and all my teammates having faith in me just for the respect of me being a player. And I just wanted to do the best I could for my teammates. I felt they deserved that and we all know we worked hard all season and just had fun and played the game hard for my team.

Q. Jacob, there was the play in the seventh, it was a strange one where you were going to third and they tried to throw behind you to get you out. Did you have any idea that throw was coming, and once the ball got away did you know it was away or did you just hear your base coach or your teammates yelling to go home, or just describe what happened on that?
JACOB HEYWARD: Honestly it was just reaction. I knew I had the speed to get to third base on that play, to try my best to get there. Just knowing in the College World Series every time somebody was aggressive in the game they always made the other team make a mistake. I wanted to be aggressive and take the opportunity, and when I slid in I saw the ball go away and Gino was yelling, go home, go home. I just went straight home.

Q. Coach, clearly today, with Jacob is kind of top of his game. But what have you seen all season for him to make the progress that he has over his freshman year and then throughout this season?
COACH MORRIS: He's worked hard. And I'm sure Jacob will remember the day I called him in to talk to him because I was concerned because he's got the tools to be a good player. He's got great genes. Everybody in his family does. Great family. And I called him in just to talk to him and make sure that he understood I still believed in him, to keep his head up because he wasn't playing. And his response was: You don't worry about me, Coach. He goes, I'll be there to play when you call my name. And to be honest with you, when he got his first chance to play, he got a couple of hits and stayed in there. Got a couple more hits. And all of a sudden he's a guy that can win the game for you with a home run or steal a base. And it's great to see it. Because he's worked very, very hard to get where he's at.

Q. Jacob, there's a disappointment that comes with not getting that bunt down. Did you kind of have to step back and collect yourself and kind of rethink things?
JACOB HEYWARD: Yeah. Yeah. We're trying to win a ballgame. It would have been terrible if I struck out. On second base with no outs and nothing happening. So they had a very good pitcher on the mound. To have a good at-bat put the barrel on the ball, glad it happened.

Q. Coach, their starter was coming off an injury and it looked like you guys were very patient taking a lot of pitches up there. Was that the game plan to be patient to run his pitch count up and get him out of there?
COACH MORRIS: You know, we lead the nation on base percentage. And that's due to our being patient. But we knew that one, when you have a hip injury, and a really -- had hoped we would bunt him a little bit more to test him, see how he was moving around. But you know we tried to be patient as a team and tried to work the pitch count. And I personally feel like your better hitters, when you see more pitches -- even though I've had some hitters that would argue with me that over the years, many years. But our players worked that. Gino talked about it, he's our hitting coach, and they work hard, our hitters work very hard.

Q. Willie, did you feel like off the bat you got all that thing? It seemed like you put a pretty good charge into it.
WILLIE ABREU: I've been missing workouts, honestly. No, I'm kidding. No, I feel like I just wanted to get a good swing on the ball, be able to get on base and be able to do something for my team. I was lucky enough to get it in there, get a double and get a good rally started for my team.

Q. I wanted to talk about Thomas's start, it was a pitcher's duel, which a lot of us weren't expecting early on. You guys had no hits for a few innings. They had only had the one. Could you talk about Thomas?
COACH MORRIS: What he threw, he threw good. He threw very good. We've got no complete games this year as a team. And our bullpen's been a huge part of our success. So I have a tendency to go to the bullpen early, which I'm sure starting pitchers don't like sometimes. But he pitched very well. And Mike Mediavilla is a freshman All-American, pitched very well. I felt like we got to the seventh inning, he had thrown quite a few pitches at that point, pitching very good, but we had the lead and I thought the right move, J.D. and I talked, I talk to my coaches all the time, to be honest with you, whether it's about pitching or hitting, whatever it might be. But we went to that. But he pitched well, and I felt like at that time we were coming in to give up no runs because our bullpen has done that many times.

Q. Any of the players, what's the deal with the monkey?
THOMAS WOODREY: I honestly have no clue. That's something new we just started doing today, actually. I mean, he's 1 for 1, so I think we'll keep him around. We were supposed to bring him to the press conference but I think he was busy. He had interviews inside the locker room. We'll see if we can get him around here a little later, if you want to stick around.

Q. Jacob, can you elaborate a little bit more on that conversation that Coach Morris referred to early in the year when you weren't playing and where that attitude comes from with you?
JACOB HEYWARD: Attitude is everything's going to be the way you want it to be. There's things we had to do for this team to be a better team. And it wasn't my time to be there. So I just felt like all I had to do was work hard and be patient and understand that my time was going to come and have fun with my teammates. I love these guys, man. I love the University of Miami. I love my coaches. And just work hard. Have fun with my teammates, work hard, get better. We go to college to get better as baseball players. It's all about playing, you can take your time, work, do all the things you have to do and just staying patient and having fun.

Q. Thomas, you're facing one of the top lineups in the country, one of the best hitters in the country in Andrew Benintendi, you shut them down what was your approach going through your head facing elimination today out there on the mound?
THOMAS WOODREY: The game had a feeling that it was kind of back and forth, bunch of zeros in the beginning. And honestly that was a really good lineup today. They battled pretty hard. And I was just trying to keep putting up zeros. I knew our offense, with how we've been all year, we were going to break through sooner or later in that game and it came with Jacob's home run. That was my plan was to keep us tied up and let my offense strike first.

Q. Coach, you're going to be facing a familiar opponent, either Florida or Virginia, just very quickly can you give us an idea of what you expect out of one of those teams on Wednesday?
COACH MORRIS: Both are hot. Virginia's been hot and Florida's been hot. They're both outstanding clubs. Both playing well and everybody out here is good. So I'm not -- either club. We've just got to be ready to play.

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