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June 22, 2016

Trevor Bettencourt

Andrew Checketts

Dempsey Grover

Omaha, Nebraska

Arizona - 3, UC Santa Barbara - 0

THE MODERATOR: We'll start with a statement from Coach Checketts and then questions for the players.

COACH CHECKETTS: Competitive baseball game. We could never get anything really going offensively. Cloney did a nice job changing speeds and staying out of the middle of the plate.

Kelly wasn't super sharp, but he pitched his guts out. Bettencourt was fantastic for us. So I think that's the game part of it.

And then special for our program. When people go home, they get a little emotional. And I promised myself I wouldn't. But for these kids to get us here to get this opportunity for our program, it's unique.

And at the end of the game we went out there and met, all I could do was thank them, thank them for their effort, thank them for their hard work, thank them for their commitment, thank them for representing our university the right way, thank them for playing hard.

And as a coach, you can't ask a whole lot more than that out of a group of guys. And I hate using the term overachieved. I think they achieved as a group. They achieved and end up being a really good baseball team.

THE MODERATOR: Questions for the student-athletes.

Q. Trevor, let me start with you. You're a guy that has done so well for this team all year long. That curveball is amazing. Tonight was your shining moment. How special was it for you to do that in the College World Series?
TREVOR BETTENCOURT: You watch it when you're a little kid, you watch all these kids play in the College World Series. And you're not sure you know how you'll feel when you get out there. I kind of made a plan that after my warmup pitches I was going to take a deep breath and look around the stadium and kind of embrace it.

Every time I couldn't help but smile to know that situation was that intense yet I could look around and just feel lucky to be here. It was cool. It was fun. I'm still not able to grasp it yet. I loved it.

Q. Dempsey, obviously those guys weren't throwing premium velocity at you, but weren't able to get anything going against them. Why do you think that was? What were they doing to keep you guys off balance?
DEMPSEY GROVER: I thought they were in the zone, first and foremost, throw strikes, and it was hard enough to hit. And also he was throwing a good changeup to the righties and lefties. I thought he was mixing his slider and he was effective with it and he was down with it. And he was throwing it in counts where we were sitting on other pitches and -- yeah, and then the guy that came in after him, kind of picked up where he left off.

Q. Take us through that at-bat, if you would, in the ninth inning. You get up there, you do have two home runs this year, and Ming did a good job against Bush, did a good job against Muno, were you saying I got to get something and try to hit it out of the ballpark?
TREVOR BETTENCOURT: No, I felt like every time I tried to do that, it's been the exact opposite. I was trying to go up there and first pitch I was selling out to a fastball. I figured that was going to be one of the best pitches I had to hit, and he threw me a slider. Swung over it. But I was all right with it because I got to see it.

So in the back of my head I knew he was going to come back to it later in the at-bat, and then sure enough I think it was 2-2, he went back to it, just didn't see it up as much as I should have and swung over it, and that was that.

Q. For both of you guys, to get here to the College World Series, first time ever in program history and taking the difficult path that you did, what are you guys going to remember most from this season and this group of guys?
TREVOR BETTENCOURT: It started as a rebuilding year, and we don't try to look too much into it. But it was there. We read it. And I guess we embrace it. We like it when somebody doesn't believe in us. Because we're a small school, and it kind of gives us a little more fire.

And I guess the thing I'm going to miss the most is that playing with these guys, it wasn't so like formal. Everyone had their part to do. Everyone had their character, and the coaches did a great job of letting us do that so we were able to mesh together and kind of have each other's backs and just play and have fun instead of think, oh, this is crazy, it's baseball, we've got to be on it. Now we're just loose and went and played as kids.

DEMPSEY GROVER: Yeah, what I'm going to miss the most from this team is the guys. We kind of caught some magic in a bottle. It was supposed to be a rebuilding year for us, like Trevor said. But throughout the fall we all competed with each other. We knew how good we could be.

And then once we got to Nashville, it was just magic. We all banded together, shoulder to shoulder, and we were doing it for the guys next to us. And it seemed to be a new guy stepping up every game. Bush kind of carried us through Nashville, but Justin Kelly had a great outing in that last Xavier game, and then obviously Sam Cohen getting us here. It was just awesome.

The group of guys we had and what we were able to do, I'm going to miss it so much. So much heart. So much competitiveness. And even though it was a rebuilding year, you can't measure the heart. And I thought we had so much of it, and I'm going to miss it. I'm going to miss every single bit of it.

Q. Along those same lines, Coach said a couple of days ago that he was just going to let you guys use your emotions and ride it. What was that ride like for these last few weeks, kind of piggybacking on what you guys were just telling us?
TREVOR BETTENCOURT: There's not many words you can really put together. I mean, there's a lot of people that doubted us, and we kind of played it pitch by pitch and inning by inning, and everyone says you're not down until the last final out is made, and then Louisville, it's completely true. It happened.

And there's not many words you can put together. But it's just I will never forget this trip. We left I think June 1st and haven't been home since. So it has been one crazy ride, and I won't forget a moment of it.

DEMPSEY GROVER: It was crazy, because seemed to me like the bigger the stage got, the looser we got. It was the weirdest thing that I've ever experienced, because on teams before, the bigger the stage gets, it seems like there's some pressure involved or you feel like tight, I can't mess up.

I didn't feel that at all, and I don't think any of our guys felt it. And I think that's what allowed us to go into Vanderbilt and beat some of the teams that maybe we weren't supposed to or go out and knock out a really good Louisville team or even come here and knock out a very good Miami team, because as the stage got bigger, we got looser and we just let our game play, trusted what we had done in the fall, all the work we had put in, and just go out there and have fun, have fun for the guy next to you.

And truthfully I don't think any of us wanted this ride to end. So it's been awesome, though.

THE MODERATOR: Questions for Coach.

Q. You said you were going to try at all costs to not get emotional. Did you find that was pretty much impossible when you guys gathered in right field?
COACH CHECKETTS: I couldn't get a word out. It hit me pretty good. So pretty special what the group did. Pretty special for them to get to this point. And 21 -- 22 days on the road is a long time. I would have liked to continue to stay in hotel and play longer with these guys.

Q. When I saw you at -- it was Long Beach, early in the season, you talked about how together your team was, the unity. Was that kind of what helped you guys? Did it get even tighter of a bond this past few weeks in the postseason? And also kind of address the fact what they were saying about being a little more loose. Was that like a difference between this year's team and last year's team, for example?
COACH CHECKETTS: They're all different when you've got a bunch of different personalities every year and a bunch of different types of kids. And this group was squirrelly from the get-go, and they've been that way the whole time.

And I actually learned a lot. I think I said this earlier, I'm wound a lot tighter. And last year's group, I would say, going into that Regional, hosting a Regional and we've got all these star players and we're doing it at Lake Elsinore and there's a bit of a microscope there, and for me probably worried about a lot of the wrong stuff.

And this group kind of reminded me about the play hard/have fun piece of it. And they were able to do that. And they played better. I think when we had a chance to step back and watch them, they performed better that way.

So it took me a little while to figure it out, but I was able to step back a little bit and give them the space they needed.

Q. Andrew, Gary Gilmore was in here last night, and he said that when they were down 3-0 that it felt like 23-0 because of how big the park plays. I know it's different than the wind is blowing now, but did it feel that way at any point tonight?
COACH CHECKETTS: You get the combination of the ballpark, and you get the elite eight teams in the country with their pitching, and it's not easy when everybody's got -- you're playing every other day and most everyone's bullpens are fresh. It does feel a lot. I actually made a similar comment before the game that 1-0 feels like 5-0 because of the ballpark and the quality of the pitching.

The two games we lost we got the tying run to the plate, and we had the right guy up. We had Bush up both times. He wasn't able to get a swing off. So you felt like the guys were continuing to compete and still had some belief. And anytime Austin gets up with runners in scoring position, you feel like something good could happen. He wasn't able to get the swing that we needed.

Q. Both of those guys kept talking about how this was a rebuilding year. What do you think about what you guys built this year and the foundation that you have for next year and the next few years?
COACH CHECKETTS: It's hard to -- it's so difficult to get here. I know some of the other coaches that have seen some of the press conferences that have been on their way home talked about how difficult it is to get to this point.

And having never been here, once you get here, you can understand why people kind of get it in their blood and want to come back because the experience is so special. So for us to be able to get here and have some guys that will return and really understand and even a coach that really understands what Omaha means, because I said it a lot over the last 20 years, but having not experienced it, I think it's going to be a little bit different and have a little different meaning for myself and the guys that are on our team next year.

Q. You talked about the quality of the pitching here. And maybe it's not the Dillon Tates throwing 96. Those guys are mid-80s guys that you were facing, and I think a lot of guys are like that. Do you think the way this ballpark plays, does it just favor that style of guy, the strike throwing, the left-hander pitchability guy?
COACH CHECKETTS: Yeah, absolutely. Dempsey hinted on that. But strikes here really play. And they really give you a chance. The offense is diminished. If you come in and you've got a lot of power and got the offensive numbers, the games have a chance to be close. So the teams that can get the two-out hit and can execute a little bit have a legitimate chance to be able to win. And the three runs have a chance to feel like six if the guys coming out of the pen are throwing strikes.

And their guys really did. They didn't give us any real room to breathe, and they were throwing two, three pitches for strikes. Not a whole lot out over the plate for us to hit. And I think if you've got pitchability, you get a chance to win here.


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