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June 20, 2017

Kevin O'Sullivan

Deacon Liput

Brady Singer

Omaha, Nebraska

Florida - 5, Louisville - 1

COACH O'SULLIVAN: It was a well-played game by Brady Singer. And over the few weeks Alex Faedo and Brady stepped it up another level. I think you saw it tonight. They're dynamic and they can run up and down the lineup. You've got to limit walks. They've got some power in the middle. It's a really good lineup, one of the better lineups we've seen coming off a week where we just played Wake Forest, a different offense in the sense they may have hit a few more home runs, but this one here, they could steal. You could see they were down 5-1, the running game was still in play.

But I thought Brady was outstanding. Obviously the home run by Austin Langworthy was big to get us on the board. It was a good thing the wind was blowing across. Got called fair and Deacon's home run was big for us.

We never would have gotten to that point without the start by Brady. Got us out of the seventh had to make a couple of big pitches. Did not want to take him out of that situation. Felt like he deserved the opportunity to get through that situation on his own, and he certainly did. We played great defense behind him all night long and it was really good to get Tyler Dyson back out there. And I think you guys have seen the growth in him over the last three or four weeks and it's just another big bullpen arm for us moving forward.

We're excited we're 2-0. We're not foolish to not know that we have a long way to go in this thing. And there's three really good teams left in our bracket. And we're not going to take anything for granted.

We're just looking forward to playing against a really good opponent on Friday night.

THE MODERATOR: Questions for the student-athletes.

Q. Brady, you had that game against Arkansas which was kind of the bottom of the barrel for you. You bounced back a lot since then. Coach said you've taken it to another level here. What's been different about these last, say, two or three weeks?
BRADY SINGER: You know, just trying to pitch to win. Not trying to be too fine with anything, just pitching both sides of the plate and letting Sully call the game and executing what he knows.

Q. Brady, just were you able to draw off of anything Alex did two nights ago? Are you competing with him? What's kind of the dynamic there with you and Alex?
BRADY SINGER: He taught me how to pitch in a big ballpark, how to slow your heart rate down and pretty much, like he said Sunday night, just execute what Sully calls. Sully does his homework. If you execute what he calls, you'll have a pretty good game.

And he said just slow your heart rate down and pitch like you always have.

Q. Brady, you talk about that seventh inning and getting out of that jam?
BRADY SINGER: Yeah. I guess I was getting a little bit tired. But I just had to fight through it. McKay led off the inning with a double, I had to get a pop-up or a fly and keep him from going to third and get another ground ball and try to get out of it. But (indiscernible) made a good swing on one and put it in the hole scored him. I knew I didn't need to give up another run, so I had to battle through it and get the third out.

Q. You guys were both young last year, still young, but freshmen last year on this team. Do you see anything different in the way that you guys are carrying yourselves or going about your minute-by-minute chores here in Omaha that's made the difference between a couple of one-run losses and what you've experienced so far?
DEACON LIPUT: Absolutely, I think coming back a second year, as Brady talked about slowing the heart rate down, I definitely think it's easier this year rather than last year, not get caught up in the atmosphere and how many fans are around you. I think it's a lot easier to focus on the main goal and stick to what you're taught to do.

BRADY SINGER: Obviously you're a whole year older. We've been here two years in a row now. So learned so much last year, going two and out, and now winning the first two games, learned a lot. Obviously slow the heart rate down and then just pitching to your strengths and hitting to your strengths and doing what you've always done.

Q. Deacon, talk about that home run and did it surprise you that you were able to put it out of this big ballpark?
DEACON LIPUT: Well, I think the biggest thing is the difference from last year the win is actually blowing out rather than in. And as Sully and Craig talked to me about staying back and not doing too much trying to find the barrel, and I was just able to do that and elevate the ball and the wind kind of helped me out.

Q. Deacon, what were you seeing from McClure tonight, and were you kind of -- when you hit that home run, was there something you had ben noticing about the way he had been throwing tonight that enabled you to hit it out of the park?
DEACON LIPUT: I noticed he was establishing the fastball. When I got the two strikes, my main goal there was to try not to do too much and not get beat by the fastball, and I was able to catch it out front and elevate the baseball.

Q. I noticed you stomped on home plate after the home run. Is that the most excited you've been on a baseball field this season?
DEACON LIPUT: There's been definitely exciting times, but I would say this is one of the more exciting times. When you get in this tournament, every run counts. And being able to contribute and help this team is a huge accomplishment for me, and it felt really good. So, yeah, I guess so.

Q. Brady, with you on the three-run homer, it's a 1-0 game. You're walking the tightrope, then suddenly you have some cushion. How did that feel on your end?
BRADY SINGER: That helped a lot. Played a lot of one-run ballgames this year. And Deacon got his pitch and elevated it out and gave us some runs, gave me some breathing room, and just went out there and kept trying to put up zeros.

Q. Brady, you keep talking about how you slowed down your heart rate. How do you slow down your heart rate when you're pitching in front of 22,000 people and the No. 4 pick in the draft is standing in the batter's box?
BRADY SINGER: Obviously breathe. But you almost gotta think that you're almost better than him. Obviously he's a really good hitter. And just try to pitch to get him out. He's a really good hitter. Put the barrel on the ball a lot. It was fun to face him.

Q. Deacon, you've been drafted multiple times now. What makes playing for this Florida program so appealing to you rather than taking it to a different level?
DEACON LIPUT: Well, as you can see, the number of one-run wins we have this season, it's a huge accomplishment. We play with a lot of heart and we stay close together, and this team's a really tight-knit group. It's awesome to play with the Gators across your chest. It's something I can't even describe. This team is absolutely unbelievable, and I love the way we play and how close we are.

THE MODERATOR: Thank you. Questions for Coach.

Q. Sully, when you look back at that Arkansas performance and SEC tournament and next week it's Bethune, I think you gave up like a total of 17 hits. What have you seen differently from him in the last Super Regional and this start from maybe those two outings?
COACH O'SULLIVAN: I think against Arkansas, it was just one of those odd games. I mean, I think they have a really good lineup and they were going good at that time. And like I said, I said after the game I think sometimes you've just got to credit the other team.

But I think bringing him out of the pen was a really tough decision against Wake Forest. We just were not seeing Dunshee very well. And we thought about going with Jackson Kowar, but I had a feel, we had to sit there for two, three hours, I didn't know if we were going to score. And our best option out to get through the Game 1 was Singer.

He pitched angry. He did. He was full of emotion, and he pitched extremely, extremely aggressive, and did the same thing two days later when he came back started that game with two innings. I think he's pitching with an edge, little bit more of an edge. His first inning the ball was moving all over the place. The ball looked like a whiffle ball against some really, really good hitters from Louisville.

I mean, it was just one of those nights. And it's 6:00, it's a little difficult to see because you've got the sun and the shade and stuff like that. But you could tell he was going to be on his game tonight.

And you've seen him all year long. He was rated the number one prospect in the Cape Cod League. He's an ultra competitor. And we might not have as much depth as we've had in years past, but our front line pitching is pretty good.

Like I said, Michael Byrne has done his thing the whole year and the emergence of Tyler Dyson has been awesome. And we get contributions from a lot of different people. A lot of these decisions are gut decisions. Deacon has been hitting 9 hole the whole year.

Has a weekend against Wake, swings the bat really good, move him up to 6 hole and (indiscernible), hits a three-run homer. It's a funny game. Sometimes you've just got to use your gut.

Q. Nelson, I don't know if he's trying to win tough guy of the year or not, but he's overcome that ankle injury, bangs up his shoulder, stays in the game. Is that type of toughness -- is that something you've seen out of him all year long?
COACH O'SULLIVAN: Yeah. I mean, he got treatment yesterday, was running around fine. Somebody asked me after the end of the game about it.

Our trainer and medical staff is top-notch. We're never going to play anybody that's not healthy. I mean, it's just that simple. I mean, he dove back into third and jammed his shoulder and was fine.

We've had injuries the whole year. Dalton Guthrie has been out for a couple of weeks because his arm was banged up. Indy was out for a couple of weeks because his arm was banged up a little bit.

We've had three hamates and haven't rushed anybody back. He's fine. He's not playing 100 percent, but if he was not able to play, we would not play him. It's just that simple. He's a tough kid. I don't think our medical staff should be criticized one bit about us playing a player. To be honest with you, it's somewhat insulting. Our people are very qualified. And we would never play a player if he wasn't able to play. It's just that simple.

Q. Can you talk about the hamates? Obviously Langworthy, one of those guys, just to see him be able to get that kind of power back, how important is that for the lineup that he's now back to where he can do that?
COACH O'SULLIVAN: We were hitting him in the middle of the lineup before he got hurt. A hamate is one of those injuries, that even though you're cleared to play, your timing's off a little bit, you lose a little bit of strength, it's hard to come back in the middle of a college season because there's just not enough games.

But he has been seeing the ball better. And obviously that home run today was big for us.

Q. You guys are the fourth team since aluminum bats were introduced to allow one or fewer runs in your first two games. How comforting is it now to know that you've got these two days off and that pitching staff's getting rest to do what you want to do Friday and/or Saturday?
COACH O'SULLIVAN: Yeah, I mean, most important game is Game 1. If you're fortunate enough to win Game 1, then Game 2. Then you put yourself in a position where somebody's gotta beat you twice to get to the last round.

And ideally for us to win on Friday night it would be ideal. It's not going to be easy. But that would keep our rotation intact. But with that being said, the goal is to get the two wins and somebody's gotta beat you twice.

The last two nights you saw two Big Leaguers. We're fortunate. Faedo is a Big Leaguer and so is Brady Singer. They both pitched great.

Q. Deacon referenced this earlier, and I talked to Nelson just a second ago, they both said the team's more relaxed this year than they were last year. Is that just happenstance, or have you done anything differently to bring about that?
COACH O'SULLIVAN: I'll be honest with you, I stay out of their way. I mean, we don't check curfew. I trust them.

It's a total trust factor. We've got some really good kids. And I think it all starts in recruiting. I'm extremely involved in the recruiting process from day one.

Obviously anybody can hold a radar gun. Anybody can hold a stopwatch. The idea is to get good kids that are going to fit into your program.

We have -- every program's got a different culture. And we try to recruit baseball players that, quite frankly, come from really good families. And we have a really good locker room. Does that mean we're going to win Friday night and move on in the championship, I don't know, I just know we have really good kids and I trust them.

Every team's different. You just hope that the more times you come out here, you get more relaxed. And let's face it, you have to have breaks go your way, too. We lost five one-run games before these first two wins here.

I remember last year against Coastal Carolina, a ball was hit and just landed right down inside the chalk, down the right field line. It's just a game of inches sometimes.

Austin Langworthy hits a ball and it hits the foul pole. Three more inches to the left, it's a foul ball.

Everybody's good enough to beat anybody out here. And I think -- the two words I used today was control your emotions and execution. And if we control our emotions and we execute, we've got a chance. It's just really that simple.

Q. That seventh inning where Brady loads the bases and you leave him in, seemed like the bullpen was ready. Is that just believing that's his job to finish, or liking the matchup? Or what went through the decision to let him get out of that inning himself?
COACH O'SULLIVAN: If I would have went to the mound to try to get him out of the game, he would not have given me the ball. It was that simple.

He had earned the right to get through it. Obviously that was his last hitter. He got to about 100 pitches, I think he threw 101, that was it. But if I would have taken him out in that situation, you would have seen an angry kid. And I've done that before, and he's let me know his thoughts. And I'm not taking him out in that situation. It's just that simple.

So he gave us everything he had and he earned the right to get through that inning and that last hitter.


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