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June 28, 2016

Zach Gibbons

Kevin Ginkel

Jay Johnson

Omaha, Nebraska

Coastal Carolina - 5, Arizona - 4

THE MODERATOR: Jay, please give us an overview.

COACH JOHNSON: I thought it was a great college baseball game. Two teams with good players going at it. Got to tip your hat to them. One thing we always talk about is the game will deserve the team -- the team that deserves to win usually will. And in that case it was Coastal. They were a little bit better with runners on base tonight and wiggled out of some jams. You've got to credit Morrison and Holmes for really pitching well when they needed to.

So we'll dust off, get ready for tomorrow.

THE MODERATOR: Questions for the student-athletes.

Q. Kevin, just comment on your command tonight and whether you thought maybe you could have gone another inning or two.
KEVIN GINKEL: Coming out, to start the game, I was just trying to have my fastball command. And then once we got through the lineup, once I started using my slider, and I had really good command with it tonight, they couldn't really barrel anything up. A lot of swing and misses.

And that gave me a chance to go deeper into the game. And, you know, they battled. They're a good hitting team. They took advantage of me in the third inning. Ground ball past Boyd. But Boyd laid down and tried to make the play. Didn't happen. But it's okay. So I'm happy with how I did tonight. But not happy that we lost.

Q. Zach, just from your perspective, what was Morrison doing out there tonight to be effective?
ZACH GIBBONS: He was hitting his spots, honestly. Not missing down the middle. Just kind of missing out, missing in. Getting us to not barrel any ball up.

Q. Zach, three more hits for you today, and it seemed like you were kind of using the whole field. What has your approach been out here; seems like every game you're on base all the time?
ZACH GIBBONS: Get my foot down and try to hit the ball up the middle. We pride ourselves in the early BP: If you're going to miss, miss middle. Drive the ball off the L screen. If you miss middle, you have a good chance of getting a hit because there's a lot of holes in the middle of the field.

Q. Zach, you've obviously been in this position before facing elimination as a team. What's sort of the mood with you guys right now after this game and the mindset going into tomorrow?
ZACH GIBBONS: Just really thinking about the first pitch. Like Coach said, just dust it off. And gave us 30 seconds to get it off our shoulders and just focus on the first pitch tomorrow.

I think we'll definitely come out ready to go and ready to play for a national championship.

THE MODERATOR: Thank you. Questions for Coach.

Q. Jay, what were you kind of seeing from Morrison throughout the night that you guys just weren't able to kind of completely figure him out?
COACH JOHNSON: Well, first off, he's a great competitor. You have to have a special makeup guy with stuff that's a closer or a Friday starter. And you look at his numbers, .15 ERA, it's hard to get across the plate. Got a great curveball. And he had that again tonight. It was hard to pick up.

And just didn't miss over the plate. There's just good deception in his delivery, and it's hard to read that thing out of his hand. He caught us in between swings a few times.

Q. Ramer, once again, it seems like started off almost more than half of the innings by getting on base, but how important has he been as a catalyst for you the last couple of games out here?
COACH JOHNSON: Yeah, it's a great story throughout the year. I mean, that's a guy that hit .156 or .180, something like, that last year. For my money, he was the best position player in the Pac-12. There might be higher drafts and those type of things, but nobody meant more to our team. And that's been on full display out here, and it was again tonight.

I've said it several times, if I could coach him every year of my career, that would be a no-brainer. And I'm excited to have one more game with him.

Q. I wonder with Kevin, did you have a process in mind tonight, just go inning by inning with him?
COACH JOHNSON: Yeah, I skipped over that in the opening thing. He was spectacular tonight and gave us everything he could and everything we needed. Again, that's a great team. We look down, and you see they have 54 wins in that offense, and there's just no break in it. Good balance of left-handed and right-handed hitters. Speed, power, solid hitting skills throughout the deal.

And he did a nice job. We got a little unlucky on that one play that gave them the two runs in the third. And other than that, he was stellar. And people saw why he's been drafted three times tonight.

Q. Coach, Cameron Ming is a guy you probably want to have on the hill late in those games. Was that a comfort thing for him tonight in the eighth? Did you notice it? Did he seem unsettled after those first two hits?
COACH JOHNSON: I don't know about that. I think, first off, in putting him in the game in the 2-2, Kevin was at 100 pitches or 101. It was the fourth time around in the order with Marks and Owings were going to be two of the first three hitters. And it's 2-2 in the eighth inning. We're the home team. And I felt like we wanted to go to him.

And I just don't think he was quite as sharp, did not want to come out of the game, which I love that about him. But he'll be available and in the mix tomorrow for sure.

Q. You were really aggressive on the base path tonight. In the first inning, what exactly was that call? Was everybody improvising, the caught steal and play?
COACH JOHNSON: Which caught steal and play?

Q. In the first inning when you had bases loaded.
COACH JOHNSON: Yeah, okay. We had a play on that was successful in the Regional final against Louisiana. And you could see that it was -- scoring first has been a big deal out here. The 0-1 pitch to Bobby, I just didn't like the way he saw Morrison's curveball right there. And he didn't bunt at the pitch. And that's what happened.

Q. I don't know if this was asked earlier, but what was the thought process behind bringing in the infield? I think it was in the third inning. And, secondly, it was a pretty quiet locker room in there. How do you get the guys to regroup and refocus for tomorrow?
COACH JOHNSON: As far as bringing the infield in, we got them to two strikes pretty quickly. And he wasn't seeing the ball. They had not elevated too many balls in the air for two days. And I thought a weak contact ground ball was very likely in that situation. He ended up popping it up. Louis is a Hall of Fame defender, as you guys can see. The high pop-up, two-tier stadium, it was between daylight and nighttime, and I think he just lost it.

So it backfired and worked against us. But I would put my money that we were going to get a weak contact ground ball there every time there with how Kevin was throwing and how he got to two strikes on that hitter.

As far as the locker room, they're competitive guys, and we've won a lot of games, and they know how to do that really well, and sometimes when you don't, it's going to sting. And that's okay. I have no worries about the readiness for tomorrow. When you live together and bleed together, this team's developed a lot of trust amongst themselves and our staff. And the upside is we get to be together tomorrow in competition. And I can't wait for that.

Q. Obviously you want to wrap it up tonight. But looking forward, you know, it is one game for a national championship. How exciting is it just to be in that position?
COACH JOHNSON: It's why I wake up every day. That's why I've woken up every day for the last 11 to 15 years, is for something like tomorrow night. Our players are no different. We'll get a good plan, regroup.

And I'm excited. I wish it was 7:00 on Wednesday right now. So it will be an exciting 24 hours getting ready. One thing we do is prepare well. So we'll use it wisely and be ready to go.


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