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June 25, 2022

Skip Johnson

Jake Bennett

Blake Robertson

Omaha, Nebraska, USA

Oklahoma Sooners

Postgame Press Conference

Ole Miss - 10, Oklahoma - 3

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

SKIP JOHNSON: I really thought they took the momentum from the beginning of the game. We kind of settled back in. Jake settled back down and made some really quality pitches as he went through it.

Hats off to them for taking the momentum of the game. We had a chance to get back in the game to take the momentum back, scored two runs. They brought a reliever in. Did a great job.

Basically they took the momentum over the last game when we had two -- I think one, two innings to end that game. We have to continue to get better, learn from our lesson today, and move on.

THE MODERATOR: We'll open up for questions for the student-athletes only for a few moments.

Q. Wonder if you guys could both please talk about kind of being the underdog up to this point and Ole Miss comes in with that same mentality. It's almost like they out-underdogged you guys. Was there a little jitters going on at first?

THE MODERATOR: Blake, you start.

BLAKE ROBERTSON: Honestly, I don't think there was jitters at all. I think they just came out, like Skip said, and came out hotter than we did. Had all the momentum, and they kept it going and took it throughout the rest of the game.

Jake did settle in, and he kept us in the game. We didn't play to the best of our abilities, but we were still in the game even in the 7th inning.

Like Skip said, we just learn from our loss and come back ready tomorrow.

JAKE BENNETT: I agree with Blake too. They definitely came out hot, but we were still in it. Still in it until the end. Sun is going to come up tomorrow. Just have to get ready to play.

Q. Blake, just as far as the 6th inning, how big of a gut punch was it that you did get two runs, but did it feel like you guys left more out there?

BLAKE ROBERTSON: It happens. It's baseball. Me and Peyton were talking about we're going to get up again. Success is coming. Tanner Tredaway picked us up working the walk, which that helped big-time. It happens.

Q. For Blake, just obviously you guys have done a really good job here in Omaha getting off to fast starts. Today didn't happen. It took a while for the offense to kind of find it. Did you notice anything different in this game, or is it more just a credit to what Dougherty was doing on the mound?

BLAKE ROBERTSON: You can't take anything away from him. He was executing pitches. I think we were a little sped up. Lesson learned. Tomorrow we'll be better prepared and ready to go.

Q. For both of you: You guys have had days off between games. How big is it to get to play right away, just really 16 hours from now to get you back on the field?

BLAKE ROBERTSON: Well, we've been doing it all year. Friday, Saturday, Sunday is usually how it's set up. I don't think off days really impacted us other than just giving us more rest.

Yeah, we're used to bouncing back from either losing on Friday or Saturday and playing the next morning, so I think we'll be just fine.

I actually think it will help us.

JAKE BENNETT: I mean, I agree with Blake again. I mean, we're used to doing it, but I mean, just -- we're going to get back out there ready to play. That's about it.

Q. For Blake: What was Dougherty doing out there? Looked like it was two pitches mainly he was coming out with with you guys, and then also the relievers seemed like they were going fastball-slider. Walk us through what it was like at the plate facing Dougherty and then the relievers later in the game as well.

BLAKE ROBERTSON: Yeah, they were all making good pitches, and they were executing. I think earlier in the game against Dougherty we weren't being as aggressive as we could be. I think we were taking -- getting down 0-1 and 0-2 too much.

The relievers that came in, they did their jobs too. I'm glad this happened. We're going to learn from our lesson. Slow everything down and get back and ready to play tomorrow.

It's a three-game series for a reason, so ...

Q. Guys, I want to ask you about that environment tonight. You guys talk about bouncing back. You guys talk about the mentality. How do you face another environment like you faced tonight, and how do you prepare for that overnight and get ready for the Game 2 of the championship series?

BLAKE ROBERTSON: Well, we've been doing it all post-season. Took care of Florida down in Florida, and went to V-Tech at their place and took care of business.

I really don't think a home crowd for them really does anything. I think we actually enjoy shutting up the crowd. I just don't think it impacts us.

JAKE BENNETT: It's definitely a big environment, but I feel like a lot of our guys really play free and loose and just kind of tune it out.

Q. Blake, obviously, this isn't the first time you guys have had your backs up against the wall this season. Just what is it about the DNA and the make-up of this team that makes you so confident that you'll be able to respond tomorrow?

BLAKE ROBERTSON: Well, we don't give up. We go pitch to pitch, and we don't give up, and we're going to fight to the last out. Like I said, we were getting beat in every aspect of the game until the sixth inning, and we still had a chance to come back and win. So it's just an unfortunate loss for us, but it doesn't define us as a team.

JAKE BENNETT: I think Blake answered it pretty well.

THE MODERATOR: Questions for Skip.

Q. Same question for you, Skip. Did you notice some jitters out there? You got Peyton kind of booted that ball. It was a hard out that came on him quick. Then you have Jake with the three wild pitches that matched the season total that he had, wild pitches all season long. Just was there some of that first kind of game after a couple of days off jitters situation?

SKIP JOHNSON: I don't think so at all. I think it might have sped up on them a little bit. They have a toolbox to get back in control of themselves like Jake did, but that's the way the game wants you to feel. It wants you to feel that way.

That's what's awesome about baseball. You can go 4-4, 5-5, and then the next day you can go 0-4, 0-5, and that's why you have to come back and keep playing the game and learn from the lessons that you learned, just like these guys said. We woke up this morning and still had to win two games. We'll wake up tomorrow morning and still have to win two games. It happens.

Q. As the pitching guy, what were you seeing from Dougherty for them this first five innings?

SKIP JOHNSON: I think he commanded his fastball. Kind of kept them off balance, had a little ride life to his fastball. We didn't lay off of it. I think he really took the game over.

When you take a lead like that in the first inning, you have a two-run lead, and your breaking ball gets better, your fastball gets better. That's what we've done since we've been here.

Q. Obviously, you guys haven't lost two games in a row in a month and a half. Just what makes this team so good about bouncing back, and how high obviously is the confidence level that they'll flush this and get right on to tomorrow?

SKIP JOHNSON: I think the learning lesson is they learned to take it one pitch at a time. We have to get back to doing one pitch at a time, and that's the biggest thing, is to understand what the game is telling us to do and go out and execute our game plan.

We didn't execute our game plan. There are balls that fell in. We lost them in the lights. Booted ground balls, swinging at balls out of the zone. That happens in a game when you're trying really hard.

When you try at this game, you fail. This is what it does to you, and you have to make sure you can get in control of yourself, take a breath, and make it just about one pitch.

Q. After Wednesday, the bottom of the order, didn't really provide much for you, but tonight the bottom of the order, four hits between the 7, 8, 9 hitters. Your thoughts on those guys getting going here as the series continues.

SKIP JOHNSON: Yeah, that's the biggest thing. We have to get some guys on for those guys up top, and that's why they're there, and they'll work a walk or get a hit or whatever it may be.

Wallace hit a ball hard off the guy's foot hard, and the guy made a great play at shortstop. Hats off to them. We have to continue to maintain and sustain the rally as we get it going and separate balls from strikes.

I thought in that rally in the 6th inning we swung at balls, and that happens when you are trying really hard to do something.

Q. Coach, you guys were really cutting into the deficit until those three straight home runs by Ole Miss in the 8th inning. Can you speak to how much of a momentum shift that was for them and just their ability to hit the ball so hard?

SKIP JOHNSON: We got some balls in their hot zone, and they deposited them. They're good players, and I mean, I think the hardest ball hit all night was a line drive off of Carter Campbell. I don't know what the TrackMan says. I'm sure you guys probably do, but, I mean, it was pretty scary to me.

I mean, we made that play. We've got to continue to move forward and really execute what our game plan is.

Q. Skip, just how big was it just to get those bullpen guys some innings, some pitches today, if you want to play these next two games like you want to play them?

SKIP JOHNSON: Absolutely. I try to get those guys out there and get some kind of experience in case they have to face a hitter or throw an inning or whatnot. I think it's huge, big.

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