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June 15, 2015

Brian O'Connor

Josh Sborz

Matt Thaiss

Brandon Waddell


Virginia 1 - Florida 0

THE MODERATOR: Representing Virginia, head coach Brian O'Connor, reliever Josh Sborz, catcher Matt Thaiss and starter Brandon Waddell. Coach, if you could begin with an opening statement.

COACH O'CONNOR: Certainly a tremendous outing by Brandon Waddell. I think that was really the story of the game and why we're sitting up here right now was his performance. It just felt like from pitch one to when he came out of the game there in the eighth inning he was in really good command of the game, the best he's been all year. Certainly saved his best outing of the year for a really, really important time. We were fortunate to scratch across a run. Puk was tremendous. What a talented young man. And just proud of ours guys. We battled enough to find a way. And Waddell was just tremendous and Josh came in there in a difficult situation, first and third, and was able to pitch out of it and just really proud of our guys and looking forward to getting another chance to play on Friday night.


Q. Brian, would you have thought going in that one run would be enough?
COACH O'CONNOR: No way. No. I don't know, Jeff. Honestly, I don't ever think about it. I think when you try to start to predict things like that -- you know, going into the game, Coach Kuhn and I talked on a couple of occasions today. We talked in my hotel room. And we had the right guy on the mound tonight. And we knew that. He had a good as outing as you can have last year in the championship series against Vanderbilt. Brandon Waddell has risen to the occasion many, many times for this team and over the last three years. And we were very, very confident that he was going to give us a quality start. You don't know -- you don't try to get into predicting how it's going to work out. But I don't know anybody would have predicted that there would be -- this game would be a 1-0 ballgame.

Q. Josh, you go in there in the eighth facing their 1-2-3 hitters. That first one, just that reaction, walk, can you kind of take us through that? And then the next two batters and getting out of that jam?
JOSH SBORZ: In the winter, Thaiss gave me some great practice by hitting me in the head. So I had great practice with that. But it was basically all reaction and from there I got lucky throwing it to second. After that, I just kind of -- after I got that first out and that guy didn't score, I just tried to get the double play. And from there it just kind of played out.

Q. Brandon, the beginning of this game, I think Florida had scored a ton of runs in the postseason. What was your expectation about what you'd seen from their lineup and how did you kind of plan to attack them today?
BRANDON WADDELL: We knew going into it they were a really good hitting team. Like you said, they showed it all through the season, postseason, they've just been scoring a tremendous amount of runs. So you knew going in that you were going to have to compete. There wasn't going to be any easy at-bats and they would make you make quality pitches and they were going to take advantage of your mistakes. So you know going in you've got to limit those mistakes, continue trying to make those quality pitches, get hitters off balance, and that was kind of our game plan going into it.

Q. Josh, after the comebacker, there was the meeting on the mound, everyone came out. From the TV it seemed like you guys were just yucking it up, lots of smiles. What was being said out there?
JOSH SBORZ: Coach was making sure I was all right. I was smiling because I was happy I didn't get hit in the head.

Q. Brandon, that first inning, the first batter, Bader took it real deep out to left field. You had to battle through some things, threw something like 21 pitches. You knew this lineup was tough. Going through it that first time, what was that like? And did you have to make any adjustments from there on out, because obviously you cruised from pretty much there on?
BRANDON WADDELL: In the first inning I think I was just trying to do too much with it. I was trying to put a little bit too much behind things, make pitches move more than they normally do. So I think my command kind of fluttered a little bit there. After I got out of the first inning I was able to take a step back, kind of breathe, kind of get my head right again and go back to what our plan was and try to get some early outs. I was fortunate enough to do that, kind of calmed down and kind of settle into the game.

Q. Matt, just what did you see, what was your perspective on what Brandon had working back there today?
MATT THAISS: He had command of all four pitches today. He did a great job keeping the ball down, keeping them off balance. Different counts, he was able to throw his off-speed pitches. And he did a great job. That's about it.

Q. Brandon, this quickly afterward might be tough to compare, but how do you compare a complete game against Vandy with doing this? And what is it about this stage and Omaha that brings out your best?
BRANDON WADDELL: I don't even think I could start to compare them. I don't think it would be right to try and compare them. I'm just happy that I was able to go out there and go seven innings and not give up a run, kind of keep our team in the ballgame. That was kind of my goal going into it. I've had some good starts down the kind of run to the end of the season. I've just been trying to keep it going, not trying to do too much and trying to keep these guys in a chance to striking range, and when we have the lead, trying to keep it, trying to make it simple.

Q. Brian, you were in this situation last year in the 2-0 game. What does the extra time allow you to do?
COACH O'CONNOR: Well, starting tomorrow, our guys are going to lift weights. That's about all that we'll do tomorrow. I don't know, maybe find something to do in town the next couple of days and certainly do some scouting work and things like that. But give these guys a chance for a couple of days to enjoy Omaha a little bit. The advantage of being in the bracket that we're in compared to last year, you do have an extra day, which I think makes a difference. And so we'll take a day off tomorrow and get back to work on Wednesday and Thursday and practice and get ready for whoever our opponent is on Friday.

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