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June 30, 2016

Bobby Dalbec

Jay Johnson

Jared Oliva

Cody Ramer

Omaha, Nebraska

Coastal Carolina - 4, Arizona - 3

THE MODERATOR: An overview from Coach Johnson.

COACH JOHNSON: First off, I want to congratulate Coach Gilmore and Coach Schnall and their staff at Coastal. Amazing season, and they're a deserving champion. We played as good as we possibly could this year, and they're the best team we've played, in my opinion. So hats off to them.

Extremely sad right now. Obviously the result, this is a national championship-caliber group that we had. They proved it for 73 games. And I'm very disappointed that I don't get to coach them anymore. And very difficult. We're a very tight group. We'll get through it together. Stings pretty bad right now.

THE MODERATOR: Questions for the student-athletes.

Q. Bobby, before you came off the mound, there you were patting Cody on the back. What were you saying to him at that time, and how important has he been for you guys in the college season?
BOBBY DALBEC: Probably the most important player for us. I was just trying to be there for him. We've all made errors before and it stings, and that one stung a lot. Just trying to pick him up.

Q. Cody, when you look back at this run when the dust settles, what do you think will stick out most in your mind?
CODY RAMER: How this group fought. It showed in the ninth inning we weren't going down easy. They picked me up for every mistake I made, and I was hoping we were going to pull through.

Q. Bobby, you mowed them down through five innings. Did anything change physically in the sixth inning or anything happen?
BOBBY DALBEC: I don't know. You know, I thought I made some pitches that were pretty questionable. Obviously it's not the umpire's fault or anything. But it was a tough inning. That kind of happens. Middle innings will win and lose ballgames, and they lost this one today.

Q. Jared, how important have the guys to your left and right been in this run in this College World Series?
JARED OLIVA: Can't put it into words. Bobby on the mound, at the third base, it's unbelievable. And this kid right here, been our spark plug the whole season, leading the postseason and the World Series run. Like I said, can't put it into words. We're going to miss these guys.

THE MODERATOR: Thank you. Questions for Coach.

Q. Jay, on the ball that Aguilar hit in the ninth inning seemed like the fielder got to the ball quickly and got rid of the ball quickly; didn't seem there was much of a chance to send Cody on that. Was it in your mind when the ball was first hit that you might send him, or how did that play unfold for you?
COACH JOHNSON: It's the play of the season in college baseball. I can't believe it. I told them that when I walked through the line and I congratulated him. We play aggressively. And, I mean, it's live by the sword and die by the sword, and with two outs we're sending guys.

And the shortstop had the ball when Cody, who is a great runner, was at third base. He would have been out by 100 feet and it's only 90 feet, I know that. I can't believe the play was made. We won a game at home earlier, two games at home earlier this year on the same ball.

You gotta tip your hat to Anthony. I can't believe he made the play and got there as quickly as he did.

Q. Coach, obviously you've talked about it repeatedly how much Cody Ramer has meant to this team. I know you hate it for him that he made that mistake, but what did you tell him afterwards?
COACH JOHNSON: I haven't got a chance to express how I feel about these guys yet, which I will, but it starts right there with him for me. I mean, if I ever have a son and he's half of what he is as a person, a player and a competitor, I'd be extremely proud. I wish I could coach him every year of my life.

Somebody told me a story like he was almost red-shirted a year or two ago or something like that and made it worse. I love him with everything I have. He was the best player in the Pac-12 this year. Nobody meant more to their team. And I think the Angels drafted him. There's a sneak Big Leaguer in there, and I can't wait to watch him.

Q. Talk about how the injury to Salazar kind of impacted the rest of the game.
COACH JOHNSON: Well, I mean, I moved him up to the 4 hole today for a reason. He kills submarine and side-arm pitchers. Won us a game at San Diego State. Had a huge hit in a big rally against UCLA. Huge hit at Hawaii against a side-armer, which is why I moved him up to the 4 hole. We're only down 4-2 and we got runners on first and second, in the seventh inning, I believe, he's up, and then he got second and third in the ninth inning and he would have been up. So it had a huge impact on the game.

Q. Cody got thrown out at home, was ruled out at home in the third inning. Can you discuss how getting the first run on the board might have impacted the game?
COACH JOHNSON: That would have been huge. You guys have watched the whole series, I think with the exception of us the other night scoring in the first, it seemed like the team that scored first won. That is him right there. I mean, he read it perfectly. It's what we call a gray area. It has to be past the pitcher except what we call a swinging bunt. And Beckwith can really do that with his sink. And Zach hit it into the ground, and he was gone right away. And he told me he was safe.

I mean, I'm guessing if Joe is umpiring the home plate in the national championship game, he's the best umpire in the country. I hope that's what the criteria is. And he said he tagged him. I haven't seen it yet. And it definitely -- I think it could have had a huge impact.

But you gotta tip your hat to Coastal because we win what's called the free base war a lot, and they won it today, and that's why they won the game.

Q. Take us through the last at-bat. Ryan, was he swinging away? Did you have him swinging away or have him sit on a couple of pitches?
COACH JOHNSON: We had him swinging. He was the winning run at that point, right, going back to the inning. Yeah, I had a vision of him taking a great at-bat. I thought it was going to go the other way. I knew he was going to rattle one down in the corner and give Cody a chance to score.

That's a special story with him. I mean, that's a guy that I was told should be eliminated from the program, and not only did he come back and -- I mean, gave his scholarship back, there you go, from a character standpoint, and his family, and if Cody was the best player in the Pac-12 this year, Ryan was in the top five.

And it's all you can ask for right there, those three seniors. I mean, taking those at-bats, they gave us the chance to win the game. And I definitely wanted him to get a hit right there. Might have hit a home run. I had a great feeling he was going to square it up, and he did.

I'm probably going to have nightmares about that little rat in left field running around and making that play. I say that with, if you know me, that is a big-time term of endearment.

Q. Big picture, before the season you basically had people telling you your team was going to stink. I mean, have you drunk this in as deeply as you can? And can you kind of put a capper on just being able to come to Omaha and then take the championship game down to the very last pitch?
COACH JOHNSON: Well, to put it in perspective, I mean, this is the best five weeks of my life. And I don't want to say goodbye to these guys, because, I mean, it's -- what you saw was great baseball really for the whole year.

We won more games than any team at the University of Arizona in the last 30 years. You have to go back to the 1986 national championship team to find a team that won more games. And it's very gratifying based on where we started, and I'm so proud of them and I'm very -- I couldn't be more pleased at the foundation that was set.

And you guys think I'm talking about winning and Omaha run and all that, that had nothing to do with it. I'm talking character, work ethic, improvement on a daily basis, heart, courage, competitiveness. It just goes on and on. I'm very proud of these guys.

Q. What did you make of Bobby's outing today, and really just his entire postseason and his future in the professional game?
COACH JOHNSON: As far as his outing, he was competing his tail off. Sometimes you run into a problem when guys strike a lot of guys out. The pitch count gets up. He was on four days' rest. And I just -- I thought they did enough to make it tough. I don't think they -- we gave them the runs. He made one bad pitch, the home run. He was Jake Arrieta for us in the postseason. If the Boston Red Sox don't want to pay him what he's worth, I'm happy to have him back. And I'm sure someone in the organization was watching the College World Series, and this first-round talent that might have went in the fourth round.


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