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June 26, 2021

Mike Antico

Omaha, Nebraska, USA

Texas Longhorns

Postgame Press Conference

Mississippi State - 4, Texas - 3

Q. Mike, this is obviously a tough loss, but kind of what were the reactions to what went down today and your thoughts on the season at Texas?

MIKE ANTICO: Yeah, it was an unbelievable season. It's a special group of guys, and we worked as hard as we possibly can. We didn't leave any stone unturned on our way here. I mean, no regrets at all. It was a great season. Baseball is a crazy sport. You know, we had a man on second in the top of the 9th. They had a man on second in the bottom of the 9th. They got it done, and we didn't and the season's over that quick. You blink your eyes and it's over.

I mean, it sucks to lose that way, but it was an unbelievable season, and I'm really proud of this whole team, the coaches and the players. It was a hell of an experience.

Q. Obviously would have been easy to lay down after the first loss, fought back, four straight elimination games. What's it like battling with these guys in this game and throughout the season?

MIKE ANTICO: Yeah, we definitely took the hard route to make it to the final, you know, but I think that shows the character of our team. Like you said, we lost that first game, and we scratched and clawed our way back. We came up just a little bit short, but you know, this team has done it all year, just battled and fought, and came up a little short. But I'm happy for this team. I really am.

Q. Coach Pierce has a lot of love for you all, what was it like getting to spend this year alongside him?

MIKE ANTICO: Yeah, Coach Pierce changed my life. I was at St. John's for four years. It was a great program and I wanted to take that next step. He gave me that opportunity this year and stuck with me through and through and let me play center field for the University of Texas. It was a life-changing experience, and I thank him very much and all the coaches. They made me a better player and a better person throughout this whole season. You know, my gratitude is through the roof for everybody in this program.

Q. Can you just talk about you guys seemed to answer every bell down the stretch here, all these elimination games, and just to have it end so suddenly and abruptly, just that emotion?

MIKE ANTICO: Yeah, I was running into left-center when the guy hit the ball and I looked at EK and I was like, it's over. It's crazy, just like that. My mind was ready for the top of the 10th inning. I think I was up third. Just like that, it could change so quick, just like life. So baseball is a crazy sport, it's a crazy game. I love it with all my heart.

But you know, a lot of emotions right then and there in that moment. But you know, your season can be made in a split second and it can be broken in a split second. Tonight it was broken.

Q. You obviously had a really great World Series and could probably have been the MVP with all that you did, but the offense just never really seemed to gel quite as well as it did during the season, and the postseason in Austin, a lot of strikeouts. Any particular reason or just you got great pitching you faced up here?

MIKE ANTICO: Yeah, we did. We ran into some great pitching. Hitting is contagious in baseball. And I agree, I think there is definitely some moments where it was hard to get -- we had a hard time getting the offense going. I read a stat on the board that said we scored the most home runs in the College World Series. This team did a great job and that's all I got.

Q. Where do you think the freshmen and sophomore pick up next year?

MIKE ANTICO: That's what I said to a lot of the guys after we were hugging at the end of the game, you still have time. Me, it's a different story. My next step would be professional baseball. I won't have this experience coming to Omaha and all that comes with it. My message to the younger guys was you have next year, you might have two more opportunities to make it here. It's definitely not an easy feat.

I was talking about it with some of the guys. It's just like, you know, like you look at NC State, they are an average team all year, I guess you could say, and they end up in Omaha. There were teams in the Big 12 Conference, TCU, Oklahoma State that they could beat us on any given day, we could beat them on any given day, but we ended up here and they didn't.

So a lot goes into making it to Omaha. Just got to take it all in while you're here, but, you know, I give those younger guys the hope that they still have an opportunity to come back here and keep your head up high and just keep moving forward.

Q. For these guys in the next group of pitching coming up, what does it mean for Texas baseball?

MIKE ANTICO: Cole was doing great and he hit the batter and I knew it was trouble. He hit the guy and they brought in a pinch runner to steal second. I knew we were in trouble then but he did great leading into that.

Tanner has one of the best mindsets of a pitcher that I've ever played with in my life, and he's such a young kid. He easily could have went and played professional baseball but made a great move of coming to Texas instead.

Aaron, he's our closer and it takes a special cat to be a closer in baseball, and he's got all the makings of it. My thing for Tanner and Nixon both is they were both position players. They were two-way guys. They understand the mentality of a position player, and they bring that same work ethic into pitching, and I think it really helps them a lot. But I think they have the brightest futures ahead of them all three of those guys that you had mentioned.

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