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June 27, 2016

Ryan Aguilar

JC Cloney

Jay Johnson

Cody Ramer

Omaha, Nebraska

Arizona - 3, Coastal Carolina - 0

THE MODERATOR: Jay, give us an overview, please.

COACH JOHNSON: Very proud of our team tonight dealing with the circumstance, 20,000 people, championship series, all that type of thing. I thought we came out in good character, close version to ourselves, which was awesome.

And then, I mean, the story of the night is these three guys, starting with JC, it's a special performance. Unbelievable offensive team that did not get very many good swings off on them tonight. And very impressive. It's about as good as it gets.

Cody and Ryan, when you do good things and have good teams, it's usually your guys are guys, and they've been doing it for us all year, and it was no different tonight. So a bunch of great at-bats at the top of our order. Ready to go tomorrow.

THE MODERATOR: Questions for the student-athletes.

Q. JC, I think one of their players mentioned that they just, especially early, couldn't get a great read on you; you were throwing fastballs when they expected breaking balls and opposite. What was your approach? Did you feel you had had them off balance, and how did you do -- how were you able to get to that point?
J.C. CLONEY: Kind of, yeah, I think so. Coach Lawn and all of these coaches have a good plan of what they want to do, and our job is just to go out and execute it. They watched a ton of film to see what these guys do. And I think it was just establishing the fastball in the inner half and outer half and then mixing some changeups in here and there and throwing other offspeed stuff.

But you've got to give credit to Coach Lawn and Skip over here of having the game plan of what they want to do.

Q. Cody, you guys put on the shift a couple of times tonight. And you had one play where you had to charge in from halfway out into right field. Do you think that you're going to make that play, three steps into it? How do you approach that when a guy hits a ball to where you normally would be?
CODY RAMER: Yeah, we have a card that has specific things that we look at as infielders, and one of it we knew he was a slow runner. So I knew how to grab it and get rid of it. So I kind of knew that the runner at the plate wasn't too quick.

Q. JC, are you tired? What is the energy? How much adrenalin or effort and energy did it take out of you to throw 122 pitches, completing a shutout?
JC CLONEY: I'm not really tired there. The adrenalin is still going there. I'm still trying to figure out what just happened. Tomorrow morning I'm sure I'll be a little sore, a little tired. But we'll figure that out tomorrow.

Q. JC, what's the key for you to get all those ground ball outs? I think you had 13 of them today. Is that typical for you?
JC CLONEY: I really don't know what splits are for me. But I think it's just throwing the changeup, keeping it down, keeping the fastball down. You'll hear the infielders and Coach Lawn always say hit the string. It's knee height, working down. I think the changeup was a real reason why there were so many ground balls, and it felt real good tonight. So we used it a lot.

Q. JC, what's going through your mind when Paez hits that ball to the warning track and you see Zach come up with a catch? Did you feel it was out?
JC CLONEY: I thought it was a short popup. I thought Ramer was about to go out and make the catch, and then I saw Zach running to the wall. I knew the park played bigger than it looks, but when I saw him get to the wall and look for the ball when he was on the track, I had to hold my breath for a second. But when he jumped up and caught it, it felt good and I knew it was just let them go hit now.

Q. Ryan, seems like every time you come up in the first inning either Cody or Zach is on base. What is it like for you hitting in the middle of the order and having all these RBI opportunities and just what do you make of the job they do at the top of the lineup?
RYAN AGUILAR: It's awesome having Cody and Gibbons up right before me. Right before every game you're going to have an opportunity to score runs. And I just have to thank Coach for putting me in that order and trusting me a lot so I could get that opportunity. And today I pulled through for him.

Q. Cody, going to second base on the sac fly, how hard was your heart pounding and did you have permission to do that?
CODY RAMER: It wasn't the most ideal thing (laughter). But I saw a little opportunity when both infielders vacated the bag, and I figured if I got to the outside, slid in, I would be safe, which would get me into scoring position with two outs. And Ryan was able to drive me in. But I gotta be a little smarter especially with our catcher on third base.

Q. JC, I was talking to Cesar in there, and he said he could tell in the bullpen that you were on your game tonight. Did you sort of feel that from the outset?
JC CLONEY: Not really. Growing up, whenever you have a good bullpen session kind of leads to a bad outing in a game. So I don't really take whatever happens in the bullpen to the game with me.

Bullpen's really just for harping on mechanics, getting it all right. Once you get in the game, you really have to go execute pitches. So if the bullpen looked good, the outing looked good, then I'll be fine with it. But I felt good altogether tonight.

THE MODERATOR: Congratulations. Questions for Coach.

Q. Zach Gibbons said your message for them regarding tomorrow is to not to think about the fact that they need one more win to win the College World Series, but think about the first pitch. Is that kind of just the guys being on message and listening to what you're saying and just following that process that you have been the whole year?
COACH JOHNSON: Yeah, we've got to call it like it is. They all know where we're at and what we're doing. But we've been playing games like that for the better part of this year. More than anything else, for us, it's always about the play. It's always about what's in front of us and what's in front of us is tomorrow.

And we need to prepare well tonight, coaching staff and players alike, and get ready to attack the opportunity. And so if they're regurgitating that, it makes me very happy.

Q. Can you go over your defense? You've only had one error in six games, I believe, and you had a key play at the wall and then a double play at the end there. It's been very crucial, I think.
COACH JOHNSON: No question about it. Couple of things in play with that. Number one, we set our defense for our pitchers making pitches. And our pitchers are making pitches that are helping us get them to hit the ball where we want them to.

Secondly is our coaching staff. Coach Wanaka in the outfield and Coach Brown in the infield do an excellent job of reports and setting this thing up so we give ourselves a chance to hopefully be where they're going to hit it. We've been very fortunate to this point in the tournament that that's happened a lot.

The other thing is in terms of the infield defense, our guys are playing really aggressively, playing with a lot of confidence. They're getting the right hop all the time. And this is the most beautiful ballpark in America, and the grounds crew does a great job. And that matters. That helps a lot.

So I think it's a combination of things. And you're right, Lou, that's a big part of what's happening right now.

Q. What is JC's number one asset as a pitcher? And, second, how strongly were you considering taking him out there in the eighth or ninth when they were starting to hit him a little bit?
COACH JOHNSON: There's two things I think that come to mind when you talk about what makes him him. Number one is his mental disposition, his ability to block out everything else that's going around him and just focus on getting a good visual of the target and attacking the mitt. And he can do that with three or four pitches. And that shows up.

Secondly, he's an impressive-looking guy. I mean, his lower half looks like he should be playing defensive tackle for Coach Rodriguez, and that matters and it allows him to hold his stuff throughout the game and he doesn't drop off very much.

And probably the last thing, I think he wanted to kill me last Saturday against Santa Barbara when he hadn't given up any runs. I went up to talk to him in the eighth, give him reinforcement on something, and he was like: Get away from me.

Q. I'm sure you're happy not to have had to use your bullpen for two days. What's your situation going forward on the mound, and where are you at with Bannister?
COACH JOHNSON: The situation is we're going to watch this game tonight and evaluate some things that we did well and some things that we can expose.

I do not know who we're going to start tomorrow. And I do feel good about the fact that we haven't used anybody but JC over the last two days. Our guys have been working out hard the entire time we've been in Omaha. And I think that's why you're seeing some of them recover well.

Nathan was better today than he was Sunday and better than Saturday. Played catch today, which was a good sign. And we'll evaluate him again tomorrow.

Q. First, you gathered the team after the fourth inning in the dugout. What was your message? And, second, did you consider asking the umpires to talk about that play, the bunt play in the ninth inning?
COACH JOHNSON: Well, on that one, I'll answer the second one first. You can't -- if it's a timing out/safe call, you're not allowed to ask or get it reviewed. It wasn't like the one the other day where maybe somebody had a better look at it than the first base umpire.

As far as the fourth, that's just something we do frequently. Nine innings is a long time. There's no clock in baseball. You're facing a team with good pitchers, and he was giving us some problems. So it was just some adjustments in terms of what we wanted to do from an approach standpoint.

And also just getting them settled down. I mean, the reality of it is this is a cool deal, and these guys are working their tails off, and just kind of get them settled down a little bit. And I thought they did a nice job of that.

And the reality is that team makes it hard on you throughout the game both offensively and defensively for nine innings. They've won 53 games for a reason. They're well coached and they have a bunch of good players, and you just have to stay on it each inning.


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