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June 19, 2010

Jason Coats

Brian Holaday

Matt Purke

Jim Schlossnagle


TCU – 8
Florida State - 1

THE MODERATOR: TCU has joined us on the dais. Joining us up here is Coach Jim Schlossnagle, along with Jason Coats, Brian Holaday, and winning pitcher Matt Purke, who is now 15-0. Coach, opening statement.
COACH SCHLOSSNAGLE: Great win for us. I thought that Matt threw really well when he had to. I thought obviously the 1st inning was a difference-maker. And I think everybody we talked a lot about Matt in the last -- all season, but since we've been here.
And you've got a chance to see what we've seen all year when the more pressure the situation, the more that he's cornered, the better that he is. And that's really indicative of our team as well. He didn't panic. Freshman in Omaha did not panic and just made pitches.
We made some plays behind him, and certainly had some balls fall in the 1st inning, executed a lot of at-bats. I think we had some two-strike RBIs, their two-out hit by Schultz, which was big. And Matt then battled Florida State. We talked about new going in. It was going to be a challenge for Matt because Matt is really good at making hitters swing at pitches that are in the zone and then fall out. Florida State is very, very patient and they don't chase much. And it's uncharacteristic of Matt to walk four guys. But I thought he was around the zone enough and gave us a great chance to win the game.

Q. Matt, how does it feel to take the mound with a five-run lead in the second inning as opposed a man on third and a one round deficit in the first?
MATT PURKE: It's huge. It shows how good our guys are. We battled every inning and looked to put together good at-bats. And to come down 1-0 and our guys put five runs, it takes pressure off of you and you're able to just go out and throw and just compete, and that's what we've done all year long. We never feel we're ever out a game because of our offense and defense and pitching. So it's just one of those good things that we have.

Q. Jim, you talked last week about how you thought the atmosphere down in Austin was even tougher that you'd face in this thing. But just talk about the loose attitude of your guys. You guys played like a veteran team out there?
COACH SCHLOSSNAGLE: Well, I think we are a veteran club. We have certainly a veteran pitching staff with the exception of Matt, and Brian obviously leads the way for us. But last year, Coats and Holaday and Featherston and Curry all played what I call it support roles. That's just because we had so many seniors in the lineup every day. Those guys got a lot of experience at a very, very high level, and that's a great thing to get that experience.
We talk all year long about just having fun. The practices belong to me, the games belong to them. When we get to the games, I just want them to have all kinds of fun and play with some swagger, and we've been very consistent that way all year long.

Q. Your first time on the stage at Rosenblatt, the 1st inning, looks like it might turn into a nightmare. Can you just give maybe your emotions, what's going through your head after those first two batters when things were unraveling a little?
COACH SCHLOSSNAGLE: I mean, certainly you think of -- be lying if you don't think at least, hey, we've got to get control of this thing a little bit. But I think momentum in baseball, people like to talk about one side or the other. But momentum in baseball is dictated by the pitcher. If everybody in the ballpark -- I mean if everybody in the field is confident and the pitcher is nervous, it's not going to look good.
If everybody in the field is nervous and the pitcher is confident, it's probably going to turn out okay. That's what I'm saying. Matt took control of the situation. The ball's in his hand, and he made pitches and Brian blocked a couple of balls with a guy at third base and flipped it around for us.
And when I put these guys -- last night, before we went to bed, I asked them to do two things. One of them was to imagine yourself when you're going to bed, imagine yourself making a great play, making a great play on defense, getting a hit, all that kind of stuff.
But the second thing is I want you to think about something bad happening to you. And we call it a yellow light. Green light's when you're pitching, everything's going great. Yellow light is when, oh-oh, it starts going the other direction, how will you get out of it, because it's going to happen. It happens every day in baseball and it's certainly going to certainly happen here against the ACC champion, Florida State. I don't know if that helped him at all, but certainly he did a good job of regrouping and so did the rest of our team and coming right back.

Q. Brian, did you notice the very large TCU contingent in the stands? And what was it like running around the bases after hitting your college World Series home run?
BRIAN HOLADAY: We absolutely noticed it. It was just great, all the fan support. Everyone that's behind us, the Fort Worth people that came up to watch us and the hometown people that are supporting us, it's been great. I know this coach is getting some love after he threw that the beach ball back in the stands.

Q. The home run?
BRIAN HOLADAY: Definitely heard it running around the bases. It just made me feel so amazing. It was just great.

Q. Brian, how big do you think it was for Matt to come back with those three strike-outs? And from your perspective, can you take us through the approach for those three at-bats?
BRIAN HOLADAY: It was huge. After that error was made, I went out there and I said, hey, this is all on you. Just regroup. You've done it all year. Things will get the wall and go bad. Just regroup and do things, pitch like there's not a runner on third and just do your thing. And he threw a lot of hard sliders down into Roddy's and they chased it. They took -- Matt made some really good pitches and he did what he had to do to get out of the inning.

Q. Coach, you just talked a little bit about being named the national coach of the year, what that means to you, what that means to the program.
COACH SCHLOSSNAGLE: It's a program award for sure. Obviously I'm very humbled to receive it, considering the names that are on that trophy and the fact that Dick Howser and the fact that Coach Berger was in the room. That was great. But we talked all year long when the team goals are met, the individual goals are always met. We won 52 games because I have a really, really good coaching staff and some really, really good players.
And when you win 52 games, then you get all-American players, all-conference players, freshman of the year, those kind of things, and the coach ends up benefitting. I only have about nine more to go to catch our football coach, though. He can win like ten in one season.

Q. Question for Brian. Talk a little bit about your first experience at Rosenblatt Stadium and the butterflies you guys probably had coming into this game.
BRIAN HOLADAY: Coach did a good job of helping us out by telling us to separate everything, just kind of -- your on-the-field and off-the-field experiences. And he did a good job of letting us go around and taking in the sights and really get to see Rosenblatt and enjoy it. But he made sure when we're on the field, in between the lines, it's all baseball.
That really helped all our guys really focus in on why we're here. But it's an unbelievable city, unbelievable experience, and especially this being the last year in Rosenblatt, it's been a tremendous experience for all our players.

Q. Coach Schlossnagle, I know your catcher is the finalist for Johnny Bench Award and all that. But I have a feeling that you think that he's in some ways the best-kept secret in America. I was wondering if you could talk a little bit about him.
COACH SCHLOSSNAGLE: Well, I mean, he's the straw that stirs the drink of our entire program. And it's like having a great quarterback. Everything's under control. The best thing you can do as a coach, you talk about winning coach of the year, when your very, very best player is your very, very hardest worker and your leader, that's when you have a chance to have a great season.
And that happened for us last year with Matt Carpenter. Had a couple of guys like that, Matt Carpenter, Ben Carruthers, but Matt led us that way.
And with Brian, I can go to him, if I have a problem with something, I can say, hey, this, this and this, and I need you to handle it. A lot of guys can try to handle it, but he can handle it and the guys listen to him because they respect him. They respect the way he plays, the passion with which he plays.
And so I know more about Brian than anybody, and certainly I'm biased, but I don't think there's any question that he should win the Johnny Bench Award for everything that you need a great catcher to do. And there are guys with higher batting average, more homers and that stuff, but in terms of what you need a great, great catcher to do and manage your team and manage the game and manage the pitching staff, he's the best.

Q. Jason, you had the big hit in the first that got the offense going. That had to be kind of a dream come true for you, your first at-bat in a College World Series.
JASON COATS: Right. It was really special. At the beginning of the at-bat, every time -- the way we run our offense, if you get first and second, it's almost an automatic bunt situation every single time. That's just how we play to put pressure on the other team.
And the pitcher wasn't throwing strikes. So when it got to 2-0, Coach Schlossnagle and Coach Mazey gave me the green light, and he left me a pitch over the plate, and I got enough of it to get it down the line. It was a big relief getting in there, knowing that you can perform at the top level in the College World Series.

Q. Matt, Coach Schlossnagle talked about what Brian's done for the team. How much has he impacted your freshman year season in keeping you -- keeping you composed and keeping you in the game? I know this was the biggest crowd to ever watch a TCU game in history.
MATT PURKE: Brian, like coach said, Brian is huge to our team. He's the rock, the whole foundation. We turn to him whenever we need anything. And with me this year, he's really just brought me along, shown me the ropes, been there when things have gotten a little hectic to slow me down and then he's been right behind me when things are rolling.
I can always trust Brian and I know what he's going to do, especially when a guy's on third base. I can trust Brian, he's going to block every single ball and not one will get by him. So I can concentrate on making good pitches and getting swings and misses and I know he's going to be right there to handle it. If guys try to run, he's got one of the best, most accurate arms I've ever seen.
So he's huge to the team and the whole entire game.

Q. Coach, it only gets tougher from here. You have a seeded team next, either UCLA or Florida. Any different approach going into that?
COACH SCHLOSSNAGLE: Bring it. At this point in the season there's going to be great teams, and we feel like we should have been worthy of a national seed. Didn't work out that way.
What we went through last weekend, there is no tougher situation. And I have a lot of respect for UCLA and obviously Coach Savage and their pitching staff and their team, and I think Florida is playing as good as anybody in one of the best leagues in the country.
But those Longhorns are pretty good, and they were deserving to being here. And we played really well down there. So I think from a confidence standpoint, which this game, 90 percent of the battle is confidence. Our guys feel good about themselves. Doesn't mean we're going to win. Doesn't even mean we'll play well, but it means we're ready to play.

Q. Matt, last year after being the 14th overall pick and coming to school instead of going to the Rangers and winning the opening game of the World Series, being 15-0, number one it has to be a magical ride, and does this not redeem your decision, because I think you feel like you made the right decision regardless, but is this kind of sweet, extra sweet, you know, because you could right now be in the Minors riding around in a bus?
MATT PURKE: You can't think of a higher goal. I set high goals at the beginning of the year. I wanted to do good things for this team, be a big part of this team, but I knew I would probably have some bumps in the road. I've had a few here and there, but my guys have been there to back me up and help me out in those games.
But I mean, I told Coach Schloss, even if we didn't have the success, I was okay with my decision. I was 100 percent fine with it as soon as I made it. I love TCU, I love the place and the atmosphere. I'm having one of the best times of my life.

Q. Obviously expected to have success, but seriously, did you perceive 15-0 winning games in the World Series, did you think you'd have this kind of year?
MATT PURKE: No, it's hard to do in any league. I mean, it's a true testament to our guys. I mean, I go out and throw. But they're behind me. They play defense. They hit the ball. I mean, anything that any of us get individually is all about our team, because I mean we're a team on and off the field.
When one guy has success, we all have success. That's how we like to play.

Q. Coach, I think a lot of people expected TCU to win in this game with Matt on the mound. He was the ace, probably the best pitcher here, perhaps. Now that you are 1-0 and you have this kind of in the winner's side, how does that change the approach, had you lost this game, what would have been the situation?
COACH SCHLOSSNAGLE: The question is if we had lost? You know, you just -- certainly if you had lost, then your back's against the wall, you're just going to do anything you can to stay in the tournament.
But now that we've won, you're going to fight like crazy to try and win Monday so you can sit for, what, two or three days, three days, and somebody has to beat you twice. So I mean, I think it's equal both sides. You would have been fighting to keep your season alive. Now we want to stay as hungry to find a way to win one more game. And so we can rest and be ready to see what happens next.
But that's a long time from now.

Q. Does the win give you options now that you can use?
COACH SCHLOSSNAGLE: No, I mean I think it's about the same. I mean, we're going to throw the guy we're planning on throwing, I'm not going to announce him now, we're going to throw the guy we plan to throw going into the tournament. And I guess if it's in any particular situation, I guess maybe we could bring the guy who doesn't start the game who normally is a starter, we could bring him in.
But our bullpen is good. And I think in a Super Regional, our depth of pitching, which is pretty good, doesn't get tested when you only play three games. And in the College World Series, you get in the loser's bracket or anything like that, I don't have a problem going to Tyler Lockwood, I don't have a problem going to Kaleb Merck. Eric Marshall pitched today. He has a higher ERA. He's got about a six or seven scoreless-inning streak going in the times he's had a chance to pitch. We feel really good about the guys that are down there.
I don't believe in really bringing guys back on an incredibly short rest unless they come to me and we absolutely have to have it. We've never done it before. But we have a good bullpen and if we get in trouble, we'll go to it.

Q. Jason and Brian, obviously you guys had a great year all year. But everybody says you want to be playing your best baseball at this time of year. Are you guys playing your best baseball now? I mean, is that no doubt?
BRIAN HOLADAY: I think so. I think our team has really come together. We started off really good against Cal Fullerton. We just built on that. Each weekend series, we go out and, obviously, every day and practice. We try to get better. And I think right now we've really come together as a team and we're more confident than we've ever been and we're just looking forward to the next game.
JASON COATS: I agree with him. I think we're really confident right now and everybody is determined to go out there and play their best and show what TCU is capable on in front of everybody.
THE MODERATOR: Thank you very much.

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