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June 16, 2018

Lindsay Meggs

Levi Jordan

Joe DeMers

Omaha, Nebraska

Mississippi State - 1, Washington - 0

THE MODERATOR: We're joined by Washington coach Lindsay Meggs, student-athletes Joe DeMers and Levi Jordan. Coach, an opening statement.

COACH MEGGS: First of all, congratulations to Mississippi State. I thought they played a really good game in all phases.

If you like pitching and defense, I think that's a heck of a college baseball game. Not everybody does. I do. We talk about that a lot in our program.

And I think Joe DeMers was outstanding. They were outstanding on the mound. And as I told our guys after the game, you know, with a lot of things you have to do some things one time before you get comfortable. And this is a new environment for us. And I don't think any of our guys weren't up to the challenge.

I think they just pitched us so well. They did a nice job when we had runners in scoring position of making pitches. And we got a little jumpy because we knew who we had on the mound and we felt if we could get one, one might be enough. Monday will be a different day for us. We're looking forward to it. But congratulations to Mississippi State.

THE MODERATOR: Questions for the student-athletes.

Q. What was it like being in a game like that where you could tell early that one run might make a difference for your first game in the College World Series and a game like that?
JOE DEMERS: Yeah, well, we pride ourselves on pitching and defense. So we've been there before. We've done that. So it's just another game for us. It was just who is going to score first. And they happened to score first. So good for them. But I think we played a hell of a game.

LEVI JORDAN: Obviously a tough loss for us, and we played hard. They played hard. It was going to come down to one or two runs that decided the winner of that game.

Joe pitched his heart out for us and Hardy came in behind him and did the same thing. We played great defense behind him. Just couldn't get that hit. Couldn't get guys around the bases well enough to score enough runs to support our staff. And the result was what it was.

But I think in terms of our strength as a team, we performed how we were supposed to perform. And offense comes and goes in the game of baseball and that's how it is. But we were full of effort today and we're on the bad side of it, I guess.

Q. Levi, you had a chance to make a lot of great plays today. But I imagine playing behind Joe you probably get a lot of chances to make those plays. I mean, how much fun is it to play behind a guy that pounds the zone and gets as many ground balls as he gets and works as fast as he does? Does that help you as defenders behind him?
LEVI JORDAN: Absolutely. It gets us in a rhythm early and Joe is around the zone early, so guys are putting balls in play. You look around the infield and we've got guys who can make not just the routine play but plays outside of the routine play. And today, like I said, Joe got us going early, got us in a rhythm with some ground balls early. And that helps us further into the game to make those spectacular plays, which we had a couple tonight.

Q. Joe, you see these guys making all these highlight-reel plays behind you. Must be fun for you as a pitcher. How much fun was it for you to see those guys doing that for you all year long?
JOE DEMERS: Like you said, they've done it all year long. So I know I can just pound the zone and let them pound it in the ground. And I've got a good D behind me that will pick me up. And we saw it firsthand today.

Q. What's this week been leading up to this game been like for you guys, first time here and all the pageantry and everything? And how do you think you'll bounce back against Oregon State on Monday?
LEVI JORDAN: There's a lot of great things about being here, and we feel like we deserve to be here and all the ceremonies. And all the extra stuff that's going on can be a distraction sometimes. But we're here to play baseball and we're here to win games.

And all the noise outside and all the great things going on for this program, being our first time here at the College World Series, that's great and all, but when it comes down to it we're here to play baseball and win games.

Moving forward we've got to make some adjustments and it's survive and advance, as Coach said after the game for us from now on.

JOE DEMERS: So far it's been incredible. Just the atmosphere, to play in front of that many people has been really fun. And it's a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. And so we're just trying to make the most of it. But as Levi said we're here to play baseball, and we're not done yet.

THE MODERATOR: Thank you. Questions for Coach.

Q. Could you just talk about your defensive alignment on that last play? You obviously had the offensive in to cut off the run; is that right?
COACH MEGGS: The way the ballpark plays and with the fact that the winning run's on second base. We weren't going to let anything fall in front of us. And that's the percentage play. And that's what we talked about doing before the game. And guy puts a good swing on it. I don't know that we catch it no matter where we are, but that's why we were where we were was to give us a chance to throw somebody out.

Q. Having survived what you did in Fullerton, your back's to the wall and repeatedly in that last game in a do or die game, do you think that helps this team knowing that now you have to run through the losers' bracket?
COACH MEGGS: As ornery as Mississippi State was and as talented as they are, if you saw the scenario we had at Cal State Fullerton, I think our guys believe they can find a way to get back in this thing. And I think it prepared us really well for what we're looking at having lost the first game. And we've had our backs against the wall for seven weeks.

And we've kind of been playing that way for almost two months. And we've embraced it and we have an opportunity to play who I believe is the best team in the country on Monday at the College World Series.

And I think our guys will rise to the occasion. Win, lose or draw, I think our guys are going to play great baseball and we're looking forward to it.

Q. You said something to the effect of you have to play for the first time to get a feel for it. Do you feel there was any nerves or anything like that in this game?
COACH MEGGS: I don't feel it was a nervous issue. I think we were so excited. And the first game went so long, we were stuck in the waiting area. And we got a little bit fidgety. And I told one of my assistant coaches, God, I'm like a substitute teacher in a third grade class (laughter) because our guys were bouncing off the walls and doing everything you probably don't want to do as you're trying to settle down and get ready to play.

And I think, like I said, with runners in scoring position we didn't take the kind of at-bats that we have for the last few weeks. We just got a bit jumpy and chased some pitches.

Q. You had the bases loaded with one out there and Nick hit the ball hard and double play. Was that kind of a turning point, do you think?
COACH MEGGS: Yeah, I think if we could have got the lid off there we might have been able to get a couple more because it was early enough that I don't think they were interested in going to the bullpen at that point in time.

So that's a huge moment for them. And Nick gets a good pitch to hit. And he's the guy we want up there in that situation. And he just kind of hooked it. You saw his last at-bat he stayed inside the ball and went to right-center. And he hooked that one to short. The guy makes a really good pitch. It's a fastball down and away and it's a quality pitch.

Q. How special is Levi Jordan? He made some unbelievable plays tonight. I don't know if a lot of us have been able to see that all season long. But can you just talk about, like, how good he was tonight defensively?
COACH MEGGS: I mean, what you saw tonight, honestly, is what he's been doing for four years. He's an elite defender. I've been doing this for a long time. I've coached a lot of great infielders. And he'll go back to second base when we're done and enters professional baseball with the Cubs. But I think he has a chance to be a Big Leaguer because he can play all three positions on that infield.

The thing about Levi is he makes it look like it's routine. He makes the routine play look routine, but he also makes the extraordinary play look routine. The footwork is off the charts. It's always a good throw. There are no wasted steps. We've kind of joked that it's like watching "Dancing With The Stars" because he never takes a false step.

Q. It's old hat seeing Joe DeMers do this today. But to do this kind of performance on this stage, can you put that in perspective and given the context of his career?
COACH MEGGS: I think on both sides. I think everybody knows there's one walk tonight in the entire game. It was an intentional walk. And Joe just finds a way, whether it's the two-seamer to get a ground ball, whether it's a 2-0 slider to get back into the count.

I know JK, our pitching coach, loves when Joe's out there because we get into negative counts on purpose. They'll wave a fastball purposely so he can throw a 1-0 change. You can't do that with a lot of people. That's a Big League feel for three different pitches. And people sometimes don't give him the credit that he's due because he's not throwing 96 miles an hour. But he can make any pitch at any time under any circumstances.


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