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June 19, 2018

Mike Fox

Austin Bergner

Cody Roberts

Omaha, Nebraska

Mississippi State - 12, North Carolina - 2

THE MODERATOR: Coach, an opening statement.

COACH FOX: Well, good news is we get to play again. You've got to turn the page pretty quickly out here. And I don't think any of us will want our season to end on that performance, but you gotta give Mississippi State credit.

It was a strange game in many respects. I thought -- obviously our defense just let us down terribly today. And they took advantage of that. So we're going to have to regroup here quickly. And, again, I'm excited we get a chance to get back out and play here quickly.

THE MODERATOR: Questions for the student-athletes.

Q. Austin, you started cruising after the second inning, found that grand slam, found the pitch. What happened there?
AUSTIN BERGNER: On the pitch itself? I just hung a breaking ball. I don't know who hit it, but I just hung a breaking ball over the plate. He put a good swing on it and put it over the fence.

Q. Cody, what was Pilkington doing so well?
CODY ROBERTS: Honestly I thought we hit Pilkington really well. We just hit a lot of balls right at people. I don't think we took advantage of his mistakes early on. He was throwing a lot of balls, leaving pitches good, hit over the plate, but we were taking them. For the most part I felt we hit him pretty well. It's baseball, we hit it right at people.

Q. Cody, after a game like this where you guys obviously didn't play very well, what do you tell each other? What's the message in the clubhouse to rebound the next day?
CODY ROBERTS: We've got to flush that one. I think a lot of us would probably say that was probably our worst game we've played all year just defensively. And, like I said, we didn't take advantage of a lot of offensive things as well. We've got to flush it and move on.

Like Coach said, we still get to come out here and play, I don't know when it is, tomorrow, maybe. But that's how this works, double elimination, we still have life.

Q. Austin, after the second inning, what was the biggest key for you in terms of settling in more?
AUSTIN BERGNER: I think the biggest key was getting ahead early and just trying to put guys away early, get the lead-off guy out as many times as possible and from there good things happened. It's pretty easy to say. One of the things we worked on all year was get the first pitch strike and put guys away, and four pitches less and I think that was just again towards the back end of the game.

Q. Cody, you were out in the field, but as that eighth inning wears on and looks like there might be a play and then there's an error, and it kind of keeps progressing, what's going through your mind as they keep things going there?
CODY ROBERTS: It was a little tough. Just waiting and hoping for a double play or something there to help us get some energy and get out of that inning. As Coach said, they're well equipped. Every team here is equipped to take advantage of errors. When we don't play it well that's what's going to happen. They're going to put runs on the board. We've just got to play a little bit better.

THE MODERATOR: Questions for Coach.

Q. As that eighth inning wears on and you're switching pitchers, what's going through your mind as that kind of drags along there?
COACH FOX: You just want something good to happen. Those are the kind of innings that wake you up in the middle of the night. You have nightmares about innings like that as a coach. And it happens. It's part of the game.

I think Austin, I think he set down 16 in a row, 15 or 16 in a row, after the grand slam. And then it felt like they put 16 up there in one inning.

That's what I meant by just being kind of a strange game in that regard. But we're trying to get a strikeout. Trying to get a ground ball. That's why we brought Rodney in. He's a sinker guy. So we're just trying to get a ground ball. We have to play the infield in, just try to keep them from scoring. And you gotta give them credit. They found some holes and then we didn't make plays either.

Q. Mike, you've been in this situation before. In '07 you lost this game and still got to the championship series. What's the message to the guys and how do you keep their head on straight?
COACH FOX: Well, all year long you have to deal with this and a weekend series in the league. A little more amplified, a lot more amplified out here, but you've got to turn the page quickly, Friday, Saturday, Sunday, weekend series.

And we're used to that. Win a game, lose a game, you gotta get to the next day and play. So, again, that is -- you've got to find a silver lining pretty quickly in that regard.

And these kids, they're pretty good at letting stuff like that go and nothing you can do about it. We're just happy we get an opportunity to play again. And they're competitors. They're going to want to come out and play better which we'll have to obviously tomorrow.

Q. I imagine when you're game planning for Mississippi State you probably don't expect the freshman nine-hole hitter to drive in seven runs. What did you see out of Jordan Westburg today?
COACH FOX: You know, I just think that's the great thing about college baseball. I mean, it hurts to look at that. But I mean I don't know if the kid -- I don't know if he'll ever have a game like that again. He might. I hope he doesn't against us.

That's what you get out here; you get guys don't expect. You hope there's somebody on your team, and we just -- I thought Austin made one bad pitch. One bad pitch, like, out of 98. I mean, you could really go back and say you made one bad pitch and made us pay for it. We had a double-play ball before that possibly. It happens.

But you've got to give that kid credit. Looked like he was locked in after that. A grand slam will do that to you, get you some confidence. We were trying to elevate a fastball on the base hit he got to left. And then we're just running that sinker in there on him with the bases loaded. And to his credit he got the head of the bat out and pulled it down the line. So great credit, great credit to him.

Q. Any thoughts for starting pitcher for tomorrow?
COACH FOX: It will be Cooper tomorrow, Cooper Criswell tomorrow.

Q. Do you have an update on Dalatri?
COACH FOX: The only thing I know about Luca is he did throw last night. Once our game was canceled we got to let our pitchers throw and he got back to 75 feet and he felt good. I watched him the day before the game. He kind of stretched it out good; looked like the ball was coming out of his hand good. I asked him how it felt, how it was. He said it felt great. So that's a good sign for us. He's been getting treatment on his neck and we'll see.

Q. Was it the elbow that was bothering him or was it the neck?
COACH FOX: No, it's his neck. It's his neck.


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