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June 22, 2010
South Carolina Ã‚â€“ 11
Arizona State - 4
THE MODERATOR: Now joined by South Carolina Jackie Bradley, Jr., Adrian Morales and Sam Dyson, along with Coach Ray Tanner who will now make an opening statement.
COACH TANNER: I'm very proud of our team today to bounce back from a tough loss the other night. We played, arguably, one of the better teams in the country. They've been there the entire season. Certainly a difficult task for us today. Sam Dyson was outstanding. If you look at his line score, it's impressive.
But the fact that he only had three or four strikeouts against those guys, against a lot of teams, he would have had eight or nine strikeouts today, maybe even ten. That's how good that team is. He pitched really, really well, and they kept fighting back.
The key was, I've said many times to our team, we'll give up some runs but let's not give up the big inning. They tried to make it a big inning a number of times, and we were able to get some pitches or a play to stay out of it. But they got -- Arizona State has a tremendous club, and I knew that you were going to have to get 27 hard outs, and that's what it ended up being.
Price wasn't feeling really well today, but he went out there and gutted it up for us and was able to get some outs there at the end.
That second inning for us, eight runs, eight hits, is the most we've had in one inning the entire season. We don't score runs like that very often. But we had some big, big at-bats in that inning and it gave us an opportunity against a great club.
So I'm proud of these guys and we're excited to still be playing in Omaha.
THE MODERATOR: Questions.
Q. Ray, you've been here three times, lost the opening game three times, always came back and won that next game. Has your approached changed or evolved in that stretch, or have you had the same tackle with the same way?
COACH TANNER: Well, I think it's been the same. I'm always a bad coach in the first game. It's hard to explain. But, you know, the thing about this team, in particular, and some of the teams I've had, they're very resilient. They bounce back.
They don't get too excited when things are going well, and they don't get too upset if they have a couple of bad days. They kind of stay level. You get a new day, you bounce back, and you try to win the next one.
That's kind of what we did today. Certainly that eight-run inning propelled us to a good position, but these guys are mature. We have some young guys on the field but there's some maturity, and they respect the game. They know it's difficult and it's going to bite you sometimes.
But we had a hard time scoring the other night. But we got some runs today. And that kind of evens out in this game. The part that I'm so excited about is we only allowed four runs two games in a row. And I know there were runners everywhere a couple of times, but at the end of the day, our pitching staff has limited both Oklahoma and Arizona State to four runs in two outings.
Q. Sam, was this your best start of the year?
SAM DYSON: I don't think so. Pitching ability-wise, we made some pitches when it counted. I struggled throwing some breaking balls early on, later on in the game. Just kind of made pitches when we had to and ending up getting us out of some jams.
Q. (Question off microphone)?
COACH TANNER: He'll probably be available. Maybe a little bit shorter, but he should be available. He's in good shape. I think that's one reason that Sam was able to stretch it out today.
It was difficult conditions out there. The umpire did a great job, and I think he became dehydrated. And Sam is a great athlete. He's in good shape, and that allowed him to extend himself a little bit.
Q. The umpire, not running right back out?
COACH TANNER: We thought we probably were going to have to stop right there, because we thought the delay would be a little bit longer. But they hustled and they got their next guy in there. So that actually worked out for us. But we thought probably that would be the end of Sam at that point.
Q. Ray, when Bobby didn't get down the bunt the second inning, were you thinking, oh, here we go again? But then how relieved were you when they came back around and they got hit after hit after hit?
COACH TANNER: Well, I was thinking first I was going to strangle him, that was my first thought. But yeah, you go -- you can't fail to execute in situations at this point in the year. And he had a poor at-bat and then Wingo uncharacteristically hit a ball the other way. That drove in a couple of runs. Kyle Enders did a great job scoring on that play. He's not the most fleet of foot.
And he got a great read on that ball after Wingo made contact and scored from first. So that was a big play for us. And then, of course, Jackie hits the three-run homer and Adrian ends up getting a foul pole shot.
But as I've said before, when things aren't going good, I always go back to baseball being a game of percentages and it's going to even out for you. That's where I try to find some sanity, when things aren't going well.
Q. Jackie and Adrian, you guys knocked around a pitcher who has had a really good consistent year. What was the key and did you have a particular plan or approach against him?
JACKIE BRADLEY, JR.: Well, I just wanted to stay aggressive, especially on certain counts, with base runners on. I think my -- I think it was my second at-bat, man on first and third. I was just actually looking to drive him in, get a sack fly somewhere. And he made a great pitch. It was low and outside. I just happened to stay back on it, put a good swing on it and it was wind-assisted a little bit. So it happened to work out.
Q. Ray, have you thought enough ahead to know how your pitching sets up now for Thursday?
COACH TANNER: No. I walked in the room back here a couple of minutes ago, and Jackie and Adrian, I think they have it figured out already. But I haven't given it enough thought yet. They've given me something to start with.
I think Cooper is going to have something in his tank because he only threw 65, 67 pitches. Webb was impressive. Jay Brown hasn't been out there yet. We'll probably wait to see who we play and then go from there. But I'm thinking that Blake Cooper will be available. Whether he's a starter or reliever, he'll be available.
Q. Coach Tanner and Jackie. Coach, talk about the impact of the top three hitters in your lineup. Had them combined eight for 13, two homers, six RBIs, kind of day they had.
COACH TANNER: If you're going to have a chance, if your guys up there at the top are having that kind of offensive day, you're going to have a chance to win the game, and that ended up being big for us. And I thought Christian, I think he was hitless today, but he had some pretty good swings up there. Didn't get anything to show for it. But he made some good passes. I think he's seeing it pretty good right now. But those guys were outstanding.
And Jackie, he's a little bit humble, but that ball that he hit to left center, maybe the wind took it a few rows up, but he hit that ball hard, and it was a pretty good pitch away. And it was just a big inning for us. Adrian's home run just stayed in there long enough to hit the foul pole. That was a big inning that second inning.
Q. Along the same line, just it was a 10-4 game but good to see Whit connect on one and see if maybe he can keep riding that?
COACH TANNER: I think Whit, what did he end up getting? Maybe three hits today? A few RBIs. I know that he grounded out with the bases loaded. But he hustled down the line with a potential double play.
Yeah, he's been a little frustrated that he hasn't been a little bit more offensive in the last couple of weeks. But he had a good day today, and hopefully that will help him out on Thursday.
Q. Adrian, did you hear any criticism from anybody after not getting the hit the other night, and maybe feel a little extra pressure to come out and really show what you could do today?
ADRIAN MORALES: I'm my biggest critic, so I felt it the worst. I was down on myself the whole night. I couldn't sleep. I tried to bounce back and help the team win and I was able to do that today.
Q. Adrian, talk about that home run off the pole. Did you think it was going foul, did you think it was going fair? What were your thoughts?
ADRIAN MORALES: I was trying to fade inside the ball, because I been pulling off lately. I was trying to stay inside the ball. And he was able to throw me a changeup middle in. I hit it, I hit it good, and I was watching it, making sure it hooked inside the pole and it was able to hit the pole.
Q. Jackie, when you see Merrill start to crack obviously early in that second inning, how were you feeling stepping into the batters box in that beginning, you're at bat in that inning before your home run?
JACKIE BRADLEY, JR.: I was feeling really good. I wasn't trying to do too much, trying to stay short to the ball, get something elevated and hit it to the outfield, because there was a man on third with less than two outs, and happened to find a gap.
Q. Adrian and Sam, after you struggled to score the runs the other night, what did it mean to you and the hitters to put an eight-spot up and Sam what did it mean to go out and pitch with an eight-run lead?
ADRIAN MORALES: It's always big to give run support to our pitchers. Coach Tanner tells us we'll never win 3 to 2. We're going to have to battle, and some games will be 9 to 8. And it was good to give us some run support early and then Sam just rolled right through them.
SAM DYSON: It's a lot easier when you have eight runs on the board. Just trying to keep your focus and continue to go out there and pitch well. Every team here is capable of scoring that many runs in an inning. It's a weight off your back when they put up that many runs.
Q. Sam, could you address how you felt, what was working for you?
SAM DYSON: Primarily fastball changeup. My slider curveball was rarely over the plate. If it was, it barely got swung at. Just worked around the plate, got some swings and jammed a few guys, seemed like when they hit the ball a couple times, they hit some bleeders or some -- whatever you want to call it there. But I was just throwing the fastball changeup primarily. That's what got me out of some jams.
Q. Jackie, before this event, Coach Tanner said that this could be a showcase for your abilities nationally. Do you think that's the way it's playing out the first two games?
JACKIE BRADLEY, JR.: I guess so. But we're trying to win. Not really trying to showcase myself. Just trying to help my team win.
Q. Ray, there's now one national seed left in this entire tournament. Did they get it all wrong, or does this speak to the parity of college baseball?
COACH TANNER: It's too hard. I enjoy talking to the committee members. And I had a long time talking to them that night during the rain delay. We visited about a lot of things. I think that was two days we were together.
But it's too hard. I'm not sure they got anything wrong with the national seeds, but there's so many good teams out there. I've been doing this for a while. And presidents care, athletic directors care, resources and facilities, so many good programs. And you get to the post-season, you get hot at the right time. You might not have been a national seed. Might not have been a host. But you're still pretty good. I think that's the beauty of college baseball right now. There's a lot of very good programs.
I realize there was only one repeater. Only three national seeds here. It's tough. It's just very difficult.
Q. Adrian, did you do your college Carlton Fisk impersonation on that home run?
ADRIAN MORALES: No, I don't think I did. What was the question? I really don't understand the question.
Q. Obviously you're young, but Carlton Fisk hit a foul pole home run in the '75 World Series.
ADRIAN MORALES: No, no, no. I just leaned a little bit. That's all I did.
COACH TANNER: Carlton Fisk? These guys are only 19 or 20 years old.
ADRIAN MORALES: 21.
THE MODERATOR: Thank you.
End of FastScripts