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June 22, 2010

Kole Calhoun

Tim Esmay

Mitchell Lambson

Deven Marrero


South Carolina – 11
Arizona State - 4

THE MODERATOR: We're joined by Arizona State, Mitchell Lambson, Deven Marrero and Kole Calhoun. Opening statement, Coach.
COACH ESMAY: Well, obviously very disappointed in the outcome today. Obviously you can't have a start like we did against a quality team of South Carolina. I thought they did a heck of a job of putting us on our heels, and I think you have to do that in a game like this where you lose and you go home.
And I think the team that kind of takes control of that and is the aggressor and puts you on your heels, it really makes it tough for you to battle up climb.
I'll say this. I haven't been any prouder in my years of being a Sun Devil than this team right here. It's an amazing team. They were fighting until the end. They didn't give up. They played hard and that's what they did all year long.
And I'm just very proud and very blessed that they gave me this opportunity to coach them this year, because this is a heck of a team. And having to deal with expectations, and expectations of Arizona State is to play deep in this tournament. And they know that. They battled that day in, day out, and they answered the bell all year long.
And obviously we did not want to end this tournament the way it ended, but I'll tell you this, there's nobody that feels as bad or as upset than those 35 guys in that clubhouse, and extremely proud of this ball club.

Q. Tim, you touched on it just now a little bit. But how would you describe your team's play after that second inning?
COACH ESMAY: After the second inning, it just seemed like the game was going pretty fast. And I was really excited that Mitchell Lambson, how about that, 70 pitches later, and the way he pitched, he allowed us to stay in the ball game. And our guys, we did, we kept fighting. We got guys on base.
As a tournament for two games, we just didn't have the ability to finish off at-bats. But I'll tell you what, at no point in the dugout did anybody feel like the game was over, and it was evident. Look at those two great plays we made in the 9th. The kids kept playing, and unfortunately at the end, South Carolina was better than us today.

Q. Coach, what did you see in Kelly today? Why did he not have it?
COACH ESMAY: Well, I wouldn't say he didn't have it. They had a couple of balls that hit some C&Is and then boom, their guys -- their big players show up in big games, and their guys took some good swings and finished off some ABs.
So Merrill Kelly has been great all year. And Merrill Kelly was a big part of us being in this game today and getting us here. And I felt like he was pitching his tail off.
And we had a couple of things get through, and then, boom, they take advantage of it. And it's as cliche, as they say, that's baseball.

Q. Tim, could you talk a little bit about Sam Dyson and how he pitched today?
COACH ESMAY: Man, boy, talk about grinding one out. I mean, I felt like we had opportunities every inning, and I felt like -- I didn't feel like he really breezed through any inning. But you look up and 100-and-some pitches later and he's battling and making pitches when he needed to, and that's a performance that I'm sure they're proud of, because he was a warrior out there today.

Q. For the players, did you guys, in that second inning, did you guys just feel a little bit shocked? All of a sudden you're down eight runs. I know you regrouped, but it had to be pretty stunning.
MITCHELL LAMBSON: Yeah, definitely stunning. For the most part, we've got great quality starts by all our starters all year long. So when we're on our heels, down eight runs, it's tough. It will get to you. It makes you think.
So our mindset was just trying to chip away, not chasing the scoreboard or anything. But I mean, an eight-run deficit is hard to overcome, especially with a quality team like South Carolina.
Yeah, we were shocked and on our heels, and that's what you have to do in a game like this.

Q. Coach, a delicate question to ask you. I understand you guys are hurting, but you guys came in, No. 1 team, No. 1 seed. Played like hell all year. And obviously these two games didn't play very well. I talked to a lot of Arizona State media that says it doesn't even look like it's the same team, like it's imposters in the uniforms. Could you address, and the players too, kind of what went wrong here over the last two games?
COACH ESMAY: You're playing good talent. I wouldn't necessarily call them imposters. Okay? They are definitely student-athletes, 18-, 19-, 20-year-old kids, that, you're right, had a heck of a year and was playing very good baseball. But being in the College World Series enough to see that sometimes when balls aren't hit or situations don't come your way, it just happens.
So I'm not going to say that this is not the Sun Devil team that I saw all year long because it was. It was a team that showed up to play, they were ready to play, and they were confident enough to play. But when you have eight teams at the end, everybody's had a sense of how to win and how to play and take advantage of things, and that's what I saw happen. The other teams took advantage.
We did a great job all year of not letting the crack, the door open, and these last couple of games, a crack opened and the other teams took advantage of it. And that's what happens in a national championship type tournament.

Q. Kole, can you talk about, this is your last chance, and you came here obviously wanting to win it all. So can you just talk about how you feel as one of the older players? And can the other two of you talk about how you're going to take this experience and try to build on it for next season?
KOLE CALHOUN: Well, for me it's just heartbreaking. That was my last college game that I'll ever play, you know? And I couldn't be any prouder to do it with this group of guys.
We had all the pieces. And we just came here and just didn't really play that well. You guys saw the games. But I'll take away from here just all these great memories of being on two of the best Sun Devil teams of all time, coming to the College World Series, getting two opportunities to play here, and I really wouldn't trade it for anything.
DEVEN MARRERO: I'd say this year is probably one of the best years as a team that I've been part of in my life. And it was really fun. And the opportunity to be here on this team and to come to Omaha as a freshman was unbelievable.
And I give credit to the seniors and juniors on our squad that helped me out and our other freshmen out, and it was a great opportunity. And I'll tell you what, next year we're going to come back and all the guys will be hungry for this. We got a little taste of it and now we want the whole thing. So we're going to be ready to come next year.
MITCHELL LAMBSON: You know, it's tough to walk away right now, but we just gotta remember that feeling of walking off the field and hope that motivates us for next season.

Q. Coach, how tough was Jackie Bradley, Jr. for you guys today to get out? Is he a guy you're going to see in your sleep tonight? And also talk about that situation you had with the three-run home run?
COACH ESMAY: Well, obviously I think he's tough on a lot more people than just the Sun Devils. He's a very good player. And he's having a very good tournament. And he did a great job, fastball away, and squared it up. He's a very tough out. Very good hitter.
He's aggressive. He attacks the baseball, and he's one of the better players we've played against. And he's performing. He's performing at a high level right now, and kudos to that young man.

Q. Coach, just knowing that this next off-season will be a lot less tumultuous, and you'll kind of reach a comfort zone, I assume, with your job, what do you look forward to next year? What excites you about next year?
COACH ESMAY: Well, I mean, what excites me is that we've got a bunch of guys that are -- a lot of guys that are coming back. And if you're in college athletics or college baseball, immediately the summer is full of recruiting and getting set up and organized. And I didn't want to tell these guys today, but two months from now, we'll be starting school and we'll be right back on it again.
So we'll give them a couple of weeks to enjoy this. Go play summer ball, but we're definitely ready for it. We definitely understand the process and the preparation that it takes to play at Arizona State. And we're looking forward to continuing that opportunity.
THE MODERATOR: Gentlemen, thank you.

End of FastScripts

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