June 21, 2022
Omaha, Nebraska, USA
Postgame Press Conference
Arkansas - 11, Auburn - 1
DAVE VAN HORN: Just a really well-pitched game by Will and gave us an opportunity to build on a lead. Obviously offensively we got some big hits, big two-out hits. And we didn't put it away completely after the fourth, but we felt really good because of the way Will.
He was throwing the ball down and mixing his pitches, getting them to look for the cutter a little bit and then he'd throw the fastball and vice versa. Just really did a great job. I thought we played outstanding defense behind him.
And he knows that he can throw the ball around the plate and we're going to field it most of the time. Just a good win for us.
Q. Want to ask you about Will McEntire. Could you tell us what he was throwing what made you effective and what you were throwing and what was effective?
MICHAEL TURNER: Everything, fastball, curveball, cutter, change-up, and all for strikes. Whenever you've got a four-pitch mix like that and you're throwing them all for strikes, it's a pretty good game plan for sure.
WILL MCENTIRE: I give credit to him. He's a really good pitch caller.
Q. Michael, when you think about what you've seen out of Will over the last two months, his emergence, what do you think has been the keys to his development since he's built his confidence over the last couple of months?
MICHAEL TURNER: He just works hard. He didn't get many opportunities early, and when he got the opportunity he shined. He's taken advantage of every opportunity he gets. And you go out and throw strikes for us and go deep in the game, it's huge for us. And we hope he continues to do that.
Q. How much confidence does it give you guys when you're out there when you have the best middle infield in college baseball behind you?
MICHAEL TURNER: It's nice. I feel like especially if you happen to get behind in the count, I can just set up middle because I trust our defense so much. We've been saying that all year. Those guys are ridiculous up the middle. It's fun to watch for sure.
WILL MCENTIRE: Those two up the middle, you get a ball to either one of them, I never have a doubt they're going to make a play on it.
Q. Will, wondering where this performance ranks for you in all time?
WILL MCENTIRE: I'd say that's No. 1.
Q. Will, you kind of maybe thought you might start yesterday and got the nod today. What were the last 24 hours like? When did you find out you were going to start today? And what was the anticipation of waiting around today like?
WILL MCENTIRE: I knew after yesterday's game I was told I was going to start today. And today just laying around the hotel room, just trying to get my mind right and I knew I needed step up for my team so we can get to tomorrow.
Q. Your pitching was great. When you have a first-pitch lead-off double and you guys kind of knock their pitchers around as much as you did, how important was it to get off to that kind of start and get their starter out within two and a half innings?
MICHAEL TURNER: It was huge. Webb kind of sets the tone for us, and we love him in the lead-off spot for that reason. This is the second time in, what, two or three games where he started it off like that for us, and it kind of started the ball rolling. So I feel like top to bottom I thought we had a pretty good day at the plate.
Q. Peyton moved up to the 2 hole, had five hits. What did you see from his approach and how he sparked you all maybe a little today?
MICHAEL TURNER: He's a stud. We've been saying it all year. Works extremely hard. He's seeing the ball deep in the zone. I feel earlier in the year we kind of talked a little bit. He was a bit jumpy, trying to do too, much which happens to everybody.
But he's seeing the ball real well right now. Even his takes he's seeing it real well. It's fun to watch and fun to hit with guys on base, too.
Q. You used the same lineup all postseason until tonight, when you moved Stovall to the 2 hole. What went into that decision and how good was it to see him come through tonight?
DAVE VAN HORN: The game kind of tells you what to do every now and then. I feel like Brady is not swinging the bat like he was even last weekend. He struggled yesterday and maybe the second half of the game here.
And Peyton has been swinging it great, the whole, I guess -- maybe even towards the end of the season. I was going to say he's swinging it great ever since we finished regular season, but he swung it well down the stretch a little bit.
But he's been really good since postseason started. So just thought about it last night. Thought I'm going to flip those two.
Q. Facing elimination, did you expect anything but this type of performance from your guys and the way they played well in all three facets?
DAVE VAN HORN: Yeah, you never know how it's going to go. If Auburn would have got off to a great start on the mound, I think we would have had a really, really good ball team. Both teams didn't want to go home, obviously, and we just jumped out on them.
But speaking for our team, we don't want to go home. We think we can play five days in a row. We like it. We're here until we're not.
Q. Auburn's starter has had some relatively short outings this year, hasn't gone much more than five innings in most of his starts. You got him pretty deep in the counts early and knocked out on 77 pitches in 2 1/3. Was that something you guys game planned for at all?
DAVE VAN HORN: It's something we've been doing a lot better of, grinding out at-bats and fouling off pitches really the last month. That's probably why we're here because we've done a lot better job of taking what they give us. And we get behind, getting a few more pitches out of starters and whoever.
It's led to some big innings for us, and I think that's what we did tonight. It's part of our game plan.
Q. Obviously you want the players to take it game by game. Your guys did a great job today. But as a coach you have to think about the long game knowing there's three games ahead of you. Curious how strategically in your mind how you're trying to map out a plan. And obviously there's an organic process having to play through it as things play out.
DAVE VAN HORN: Well, we told them after the game last night. Did not get all concerned about that. But the coaches, we have to think about that. But really we would have thrown everybody we had to win tonight just to get to tomorrow.
But fortunately because Will gave us an opportunity we got to save our whole pitching staff for the most part. And Vermillion came in and we just wanted him to throw one inning, if it went well. He threw four pitches, so we got him out of there.
We scored a couple more. We put Austin Ledbetter in there and he threw two nights in a row. Strategic -- the plan is save as much pitching as you can with -- and the offense, they helped us obviously by scoring and continuing to score.
But you never know how this thing's going to go. Baseball's a funny game and whatever it takes. And that will be what we do tomorrow. We'll do whatever we've got to do tomorrow to try to win tomorrow.
Q. Lanzilli's home run had the same distance as Elko's last night. What did you think of that shot? And could you talk us through your potential starting pitching plans for tomorrow?
DAVE VAN HORN: When he hit the ball, I was hoping it would stay fair. Had a little bit of a northerly breeze, maybe northwest, and I think it held it a little bit when it got up in the air. And it almost started backing up, looked like.
He got inside the baseball pretty good. He didn't hook it. And that swing, and all of a sudden we're up. The swing before Michael gets out front, hits a ball over the right fielder's head for two runs, they visit the mound in the next pitch, it goes out, and we score four runs on two hits. We're feeling pretty good, up eight runs, the way Will was pitching.
Obviously we could bring back Noland on three days' rest if we wanted. He's talking to us about it. We could go Smith. Couple other guys in there, too. Is that what you want to hear?
Q. You talked a lot about Stovall and him kind of pressing earlier in the year. He came into the tournament hitting .252 and now at .309. How good is it to see him work through that despite and struggling pressing a little bit?
DAVE VAN HORN: He had unrealistic expectations of him because he was a guy that turned down a lot of money. He didn't even get drafted he was going to go before the first round possibly. He wanted to go to college. And he just felt a lot of pressure. Social media and everything else and you read everything and preseason this, preseason that. It's hard putting that on kids that haven't even seen a college arm yet. And he's been really good the last month.
And like Michael said, even his takes are good. He was out front. He's not an out-front type hitter. He's pretty balanced. Stays back, and he's doing it now. He's starting to hit for power, hit for average, taking his walks. And we've really been able to see the future the last month. It's been fun.
FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports