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June 22, 2022

Mike Bianco

Kemp Alderman

Peyton Chatagnier

Omaha, Nebraska, USA

Ole Miss Rebels

Postgame Press Conference

Arkansas - 3, Ole Miss - 2

THE MODERATOR: Mike, give us an overview, please.

MIKE BIANCO: Tough one to lose, but I thought, probably from your perspective and from a fan's perspective, it was a heck of a college baseball game. Well played on both sides and certainly well pitched.

On a day where I thought maybe the ball was flying a little bit better than it normally does here, so it will tell you how good all the guys that touched the mound pitched today.

Tough for us obviously when you have the opportunity to -- a chance to win it maybe at the end. But credit them. Smith and Taylor were terrific, I thought, and not just to our left-handers. I thought the difference -- they pitched really well to our left-handers, but the right-handers didn't do much. We ended up with five hits, and Kemp had three of them.

Just a tough day. Got to play better tomorrow.

Q. Peyton, you've been in this locker room a long time. Just kind of what was the reaction there after the game, and what's kind of the message heading forward into tomorrow?

PEYTON CHATAGNIER: We've been in these situations for a while now. It was bittersweet, just that game right there. We didn't play our best baseball. I think they just played an overall better game than us.

I can't promise you the outcome of tomorrow's game, but I can guarantee you we're not scared, we're not going to back down. This is nothing new to us.

Q. Guys, a lot of nasty breaking stuff from the pitchers tonight. Just kind of talk about what you guys were seeing up there, how it was attacking you, and what made it difficult to put the ball into play tonight.

KEMP ALDERMAN: For me, last time we played them in the regular season, they were just trying to attack me with fastballs. So that's how I went up there, and that was my approach tonight, to hit the fastball and try not to get behind so I didn't see their good breaking ball stuff.

PEYTON CHATAGNIER: Kind of like Coach said earlier, we had five hits, Kemp had three of them. Obviously their pitchers were throwing really well today. But it is what it is. We'll go tomorrow.

Q. Peyton and Kemp, down in Mississippi, Peyton, you mentioned before how you've been in this situation before. The fact that you all have fought back so much this season and prevailed so much, do you think that that kind of experience will help you in a situation to be as ready as you can tomorrow?

PEYTON CHATAGNIER: I do. I do. Like I said earlier, we've been playing this kind of ball for a long time even before the postseason. It kind of felt like it was must-win situations in all of our games. We have a lot of older guys in our lineup, and kind of like I mentioned earlier, this is nothing new to us. We're going to come out firing, yeah.

Q. Mike, I'm sure you would have wanted Dylan for the first game of the Championship Series, but it looks like it might set up tomorrow him against Connor Noland, so maybe two aces going at it. That's a pretty good setup for tomorrow, wouldn't you think?

MIKE BIANCO: Is that your way of asking, are we throwing DeLucia?

Q. What do you think of that?

MIKE BIANCO: I don't know who they're throwing, but, yes, it would have been nice to start Dylan on Saturday, but you've got to get to Saturday. That's not the reason he didn't throw today. It was really just giving him another day of rest so he would be at his best. It shapes up for a really good game.

Q. Up until that ninth inning, I believe you all had three hits until that point. Did you say anything to your guys in the dugout to try to pump them up or anything like that, and what was kind of your message to try to get things going?

MIKE BIANCO: We don't do that much, often. We don't do that very often. I didn't bring them up at any point. I grabbed some guys individually and talked about their approach.

Again, credit their guys. Sometimes baseball's that kind of game where good pitching usually beats good hitting. I thought all the guys pitched well, including our guys. Nobody's said anything about that, and I'm surprised not one of the pitchers were sitting here. We had like three hits going into the ninth, and you guys -- somehow everybody asked for all the hitters to come here. Kemp was obvious, but I thought all the guys pitched really well.

Q. Mike, the play at second base is obviously huge, the one that was replayed that the winning run in the game. What did you see there?

MIKE BIANCO: That's why they have replay. I saw the board. Again, that's why we challenged it. We thought that Hayden tagged possibly the finger, but again, they got, I think, 22 cameras, and they've got people, and they see different views than we do on the board. I don't think it's fair for me to comment on a call.

They're doing a great job out there. This is about as smooth as you can do with instant replay. Now, if somebody on TV or somebody saw a different view, I don't know, but it's hard to comment when I see a couple things on the jumbotron.

Q. Mike, you talked about it a little bit, but it's been a while since Gaddis had gotten a start. Just your thoughts on what he did tonight.

MIKE BIANCO: I thought he was terrific. Obviously, we have a lot of confidence in our offense, and this is, again, more credit to Smith and Taylor on their side, but if you would have told me that was going to be the result, that we were going to run Gaddis, Washburn, and Dougherty out there -- and really any of our guys. It doesn't matter. DeLucia. You think you've got a good shot of winning those baseball games.

Credit them. They played a good game defensively, and they are good defensively. But I thought Smith and Taylor were terrific today.

Q. The eighth inning, Dougherty getting out of it with just one run, it gave you a chance there. What did you think of that situation?

MIKE BIANCO: Really it was the huge hit by Turner before then. Once we knew they weren't going to bunt, which we didn't think with Turner with no sacrifices in the 4 hole, but we pinched Gonzalez a little bit, one, because we thought, if they're not bunting, obviously they're going to ask him to pull the ball. And two, Dougherty's times were a little long to the plate, and we were a little scared Wallace would possibly steal a base. So we pinched Gonzalez, and obviously that wasn't a good thing.

Turner ends up hitting one to a 6 hole right off Gonzo's glove. Then we screw up a bunt defense and let Lanzilli get a base hit on a bunt, which we had a bunt defense called. You're not supposed to let that happen. Then Jack really, I thought, got back-to-back strikeouts that were huge and really give us a shot in the ninth because it looked like that inning was going to blow up on us.

Q. Mike, I know you coached in this winner-take-all game in '14, and I know you coached in some as an assistant. What is the key for getting the guys -- I know they're going to be ready, but they've got to be amped for it.

MIKE BIANCO: You've got to play well. We've earned the right to play in that game. We lose this one, but we won the first two, and that gives you the right to do that. As was already said, we've got our ace going.

If you would have asked four or five months ago in February, would you like this opportunity to have your ace on the mound in a winner-take-all to get you the Championship Series, everybody would say yes.

So rather than look at what happened tonight, I think the thing is to flush this and to look forward to tomorrow with an opportunity to win and stay alive and be one of the last two teams competing for a National Championship.

So rather than woe is us, how about looking at what a great opportunity we have tomorrow?

Q. I know obviously anything can happen in one game, but similar to kind of what I asked Peyton when you all were playing with your backs to the wall at that point at 7-14 and it looked like you needed almost every game to get to that point, do you think that history this season could play any role at all in terms of your having experience with your back to the wall like that?

MIKE BIANCO: You're still in the lead of all the guys that are beat writers with the most questions asked over this run. I knew you might ask another before this is all done.

Yes, you'd hope that you get to this point that those things, those tough -- the times, the adversity that you go through makes you tougher, makes you a little -- persevere a little more, a little more relentless to be able to handle this.

Again, it's disappointing, bases loaded, bottom of the ninth, we have a chance to win it, that will take a little time tonight to get over it. But I would think that everybody, besides what you've been through, this is what you play for. Their backs are against the wall too. They have to win too. So this is really cool, and you should appreciate the opportunity and the moment and try to be your best at that moment.

THE MODERATOR: Mike, we'll see you tomorrow afternoon.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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