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June 12, 2016

Alex Cunningham

Gary Gilmore

Bobby Holmes

Anthony Marks

Michael Paez

Baton Rouge, Louisiana

CCU - 4, LSU - 3

GARY GILMORE: Pretty much one of the few times in my life I'm at a loss for words to be honest with you. I would like to thank LSU and all the fans and all the people here that made this weekend so special for both teams.

LSU has got an unbelievable team and I have such great respect for Paul and his staff and his players and how hard they played against us.

I just feel like it was destiny for us. We got out of that regional and pretty much everybody put us to bed and we come away with two outs, get a big hit and get ourselves to here -- we wiggled out of every game you could wiggle out of in the two days we were here. We were very, very fortunate and our kids were so resilient and just so happy for them.

For me personally, I've been a coach for I think 21 years, and when I got hired, I made the distinction of telling them that one day this program was going to Omaha, and back then they thought I was smoking something; at least the looks I got when I first started.

And to see where the program has gone from that point, the unbelievable amount of great players that have come through our program, I'm just so happy for all of them. Every one of them have a piece of this. As great as this club is, all the ones before that have an equal piece of this. They set the stage for these guys and the reason why most of them are here.

I can't say enough great things about this group of young men. We are beat up, we've lost an arm or two. We lose our second baseman last night and they just keep finding ways to win. I just wanted to tell them, I'm so proud of them and how they found a way to just keep plugging along and keep winning.

THE MODERATOR: Let's start with Anthony Marks, talk about your at-bat in the ninth and the decision for you to steal a base.

ANTHONY MARKS: Coming up in the bottom of the ninth, after Bobby got us out of that jam; and I can't say enough about Bobby, he threw great tonight. Same with AC sitting here.

I looked at Mike, and I told him, I said, we say it every time we come up: "Nobody better than me and you, we go, they go." I told him, "We're going to take us to Omaha."

You joke around and you say that and you don't really think about it, but here we are. And I was just trying to grind through that at-bat, and when he threw ball four, I knew it was up. I was on first already with him on -- pitches, so I knew he was 1-5 and above his plate delivery time. He gave it that high-leg kick and I wasn't hesitating to get over there. We don't have to surrender an out. We can have three outs to play with instead of two. Only took us one more pitch. Just truly blessed to be here.

THE MODERATOR: Michael Paez, game-winning hit in the ninth. Talk about that situation.

MICHAEL PAEZ: I thought Marks, getting that big stolen base -- I knew we had a guy behind us that didn't have many at-bats, and I wanted to be that guy to -- guys were picking each other up all day.

Our second baseman made a mistake and we knew we were going to get behind him and being a shortstop, I wanted to show him that we pick each other up and no matter what happens, we're going to have each other's back.

THE MODERATOR: Alex Cunningham, starting pitcher, what made you successful tonight?

ALEX CUNNINGHAM: Me and Coach Thomas game-planned them before the game, just kind of working up in the zone. I just kind of pitching to contact. I think I only had one strikeout tonight. But you know, we got it done and we got it done the right way.

THE MODERATOR: Bobby, you talk about maybe the eighth and ninth inning and your relief stint there, please.

BOBBY HOLMES: Unbeknownst to LSU fans, when I came in the eighth, they played my high school walk-up song. I wasn't too uncomfortable in that situation. In the ninth, unfortunately made that error -- inaudible -- we knew we were going to pick each other up and we kept telling each other, we're going to get out of this, we're going to get out of this. And sure enough we did, and I did my best to keep our team in the game and it ended up working out in our favor.

Q. Anthony, this obviously means a lot for all of you guys as players, but what does it mean for Coach Gilmore after all this time?
ANTHONY MARKS: It's unbelievable. We talk about it all the time. We talk about it when he's not around, how bad we want to get Coach to Omaha, how bad we want to get him to Omaha, how bad we want to get him to Omaha, how bad we want to get him to Omaha; and now look at us, we're up here.

And honestly, I don't think anyone up here or in that locker room doubted that we could do this. Not one person doubted we could do this. I thought we were going to come in here and win the first two, but I mean, everyone in our locker room thought we could do it and never doubted.

We had a slow start and honestly a lot of people tried to count us off and the older guys, we came up with the chain, every link, every piece, and we just stuck to that process and here we are and nobody deserved this more than Coach Gilmore. He's one of the best coaches in the country. You could just tell that by the resumé that he's built for himself, and it's an unbelievable feeling that we could finally take our guy to the promised land.

Q. Whenever LSU got a little bit of momentum, seems like you were able to put out the fire. Where does that come from?
MICHAEL PAEZ: Our fans are great here. We had -- inaudible -- to settle our guys down. Like we said -- at second base, calm down, knowing that we're going to pick each other up. We just have to make every pitch count. And at the same time, every pitch mattered no matter what the situation, where we were at, if it's at home, here, doesn't matter.

Just got to stay focused, stay within the process and just gruel it out. You know they are going to have momentum. They play in a beautiful ballpark here and their fans are awesome and they are great players, so they are going to have momentum. Just got to find a way to make a great pitch, great play or something and put it down.

Q. Touched on it, you guys getting out of jams -- the crowds can rattle a team but your team withstood it several times. Did you see a new level of focus from your guys tonight?
GARY GILMORE: The older guys's maturity really showed in those situations. Our infield guys were really on it the whole entire time.

Any time that they started getting momentum, even though it didn't take very long, we were able to gather around a few times here or there just to make sure we could actually function. In all honesty, this is the first time I've ever coached in a place where you couldn't communicate at all. And so it was a new thing for us.

So that was a great opportunity for us to grow the program, too. So it was an incredible time watching them maneuver in and out of those situations. Coach Thomas, he was unbelievable, calling pitches, and the majority of the time, us executing things and getting things done.

Q. After the win yesterday, how important is it for you guys to jump out to that 2-0 lead in the first inning, make sure you get right back and do it again today?
GARY GILMORE: Yeah, there was no doubt in my mind, I felt like we're the guys -- we're the underdogs big time coming in here. I felt like the longer we could hold the lead or stay even with them, the more pressure really mounts on them.

The expectations in a program like this are in all honesty, I know what they are, but they are unrealistic in a lot of ways; that it's easy to get to Omaha. I don't care who you are, it's never easy to get to Omaha. It really isn't; I don't care how many good players you have.

I thought once we got the lead and we kept grinding and grinding, they had opportunities and weren't able to get a big hit the whole time. You know, that ninth inning, we were very, very, very lucky to get out of there. It was huge for us to be honest.

Q. Speaking of that, Bobby, that strikeout on the 3-2 pitch, what is going through your mind on that pitch?
BOBBY HOLMES: To be honest with you all, I kind of black out in moments like that. But all season, just think about how far I've come, from the beginning of the year until now. I've been resilient, been mentally tough in those situations and all year, it's really what's given me an opportunity to be was placed in that situation.

And I had Coach Gilmore and the rest of the time behind me in the first place, so not too uncomfortable in that situation. Learn from Mike Morrison, great mentor that I've had, can't speak enough about that guy. Not too uncomfortable and -- get to make that pitch.

Q. Michael and Anthony, take me through the emotions of that moment as you know that ball is getting through and you're going to score.
ANTHONY MARKS: The emotions, they are limitless. You can't even describe that when that ball bounced over that third baseman's head, there was no doubt I was getting it home. No offense to anybody on their team, like I said, we want this so bad for Coach Gilmore and ourselves, there was really no stopping me and I was going to get there no matter what.

Like I said, I never had a doubt in my mind, Paez was going to get that job done right there. I figured we were only going to need one more guy.

MICHAEL PAEZ: Yeah same thing, when I saw -- at second base -- the ball in the outfield, I know that guy is going to score. He's our biggest grinder; he's our biggest guy, his heart, the way he plays. I just got hit the ball in the outfield and that guy is going to score no matter what.

Q. Can you talk about, I know a lot of national seeds went down but can you talk about the magnitude of winning two games in a row here in this ballpark in this atmosphere as you talked about, and how big an accomplishment it is to do that?
GARY GILMORE: I think there's no doubt, these two wins here have to be the two biggest wins in the history of our program, absolutely no doubt about that. Come on the road here in this environment and play, be successful is an incredible testament to this group of young men and the coaching staff I have.

Q. Alex, you talked about pitching to contact. Is that part of the game plan the entire season? It seemed like there were a lot of lazy fly balls drop tonight.
ALEX CUNNINGHAM: I've been told I have a high fastball spin rate, so it's going to be easy to miss some barrels here and there. You can look at my stats. I have less strikeouts than I have innings, so I'm not a strikeout pitcher. I like the strike-out pitch.

Just let my guys work behind me, having full confidence in them and like everybody says, we've talked about it since the beginning of the year but we pick each other up. That's all that matters.

Q. What was said after that top of the ninth, and just how did you regroup from being so close, letting it slip away and stealing it back?
ANTHONY MARKS: I don't think anything really needs to be said honestly. We knew the goal ahead, and that little slip-up, it didn't hurt us that bad. They didn't take the lead. They just tied it.

Me and Chad were talking about it earlier; we get to hit last, worst-case scenario, we get to hit last today. It worked out in our favor. A couple people I heard in the dugout, it's just a baseball game, take a deep breath, however many people you're playing in front of, it doesn't matter. It's a baseball game and just execute.

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