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June 26, 2010
UCLA - 10
TCU - 3
THE MODERATOR: Joined up here by UCLA players Trevor Bauer, Blair Dunlap, Dean Espy, along with head coach John Savage. Opening statement, Coach.
COACH SCHLOSSNAGLE: First, we'd like to congratulate TCU for having a historic season. I thought TCU was as good as we've played. You're talking about a team that is very similar to us in terms of just never giving up. And Jim and his staff have done a remarkable job.
In terms of the game, it was good to get back on our feet a little bit. Purke did a great job yesterday, and we kind of got back into Bruin baseball today. Got off to a great start with the five-run first inning. And then Trevor settled in, and it just seemed like it picked up steam a little bit. Bauer got better as the game went along.
We swung the bats. We had 15 hits. But they were still hanging around. It was a 6-3 ball game in the 6th or 7th inning and we finally knocked the door down and kind of separated ourselves.
So I'm very proud of our team. It's another level of where this team has gone and certainly to the national championship round and looking forward to this coming week.
THE MODERATOR: Questions.
Q. Trevor, talk about your performance, and what you were able to do throughout the game especially in that 8th inning?
TREVOR BAUER: It was a struggle in the first couple innings. They came out and obviously they had the home run the 1st inning and some guys all over the bases on me.
I turned a lot of pitches in the first couple innings. So kind of a struggle. I just wanted to go out there and go pitch to pitch, get my team as deep as I could.
I think just staying with that mentality is what really helped as the game went along. Kind of found my mechanics and got in the groove and went from there.
Q. Trevor, second game in a row you've gotten double digit run support from your offense. How does that affect your comfort level or your approach out there?
TREVOR BAUER: It's huge. Obviously I thought five-spot in the first inning was huge. It gives me a lot of confidence that they have my back. And kind of simplifies the pitching approach and you go out there and you throw strikes and you don't put anybody on base. And go from there.
We're obviously -- in a tighter game, you have to be a little more careful and every pitch is high stress. It's huge when the offense can support you like that.
Q. Coach, can you kind of talk about the decision to start warming up Gerrit and how fortunate were you that it didn't come to that?
COACH SAVAGE: Well, we were going to do anything we could to win. We were in good position. We had plenty of rested arms. Gerrit was certainly one of them. I contemplated starting Gerrit in the 8th and then turned the ball over to Dan in the 9th but I got talked out of my starting pitcher again.
He said to leave me in. I felt strong and it turned out to be his best inning. The 8th inning was really an unreal inning. The guy was on top of his game. And we turned the ball over to our closer.
So it turned out in the best scenario we could draw it up. Cole will start on Monday, and he got his bullpen work in, and we were very fortunate, because we were going to go to him if Trevor ran into any problems.
So Trevor did his job and got through the 8th and we turned it over to Dan Klein.
Q. Trevor, TCU said that the heat and the length of the game, all things, wore them down a little bit. Looked like you weren't really affected. You were out there with your long sleeves and it's 95 degrees out there. Did the heat get to you at all?
TREVOR BAUER: Yeah, it did, first couple of innings. It was real hot warming up and being out there a lot, high-stress innings, like I said. It was hot and I had to make sure I kept drinking a lot of liquids to kind of stay in it. Kind of caught my breath after the 4th. Cooled down a little bit and kind of went along from there. My sleeves were so wet they kind of kept me cool. There was a breeze.
Q. Blair, first talk about what you guys did to Winkler early that was a pretty big start. And Coach, you bounced around the lineup a little bit, Niko and Beau switching off a little bit. Talk about what you've done in the World Series with that and how important it is to play matchup to matchup?
BLAIR DUNLAP: Obviously Winkler is a great pitcher. We knew that coming in. We saw him a couple games ago. He's pitched well all year. I think he was the Pitcher of the Year in their conference. But basically we just wanted to be aggressive today and have competitive at-bats all the way through.
We knew if he would get pitches out over the plate and stay aggressive that we'd be in good shape.
COACH SAVAGE: We just have a bunch of interchangeable parts. I mean, we have a couple of lead-off guys. We have a couple of two-hole hitters. We have some fives, some sixes. We don't have a lot of threes and fours. Certainly Dean and Uribe and Rahmatulla hit third all season. He obviously is not playing. And we just like to give them different looks. And people kind of sometimes question: Why is that guy leading off? Why is that guy hitting third? But it's worked.
And our guys believe in each other. I've said from day one that our strength is our depth of our roster. We have a bunch of good young players mixed with some older players, and there's no egos. And Blair hit third today for maybe the second or third time all season.
Hit a three-run homer in the first inning. If you look at our numbers they're not going to jump off the sheet, but we're tough to play. And that's the bottom line.
Q. Blair, you've been around this program for a long time now. Maybe in years past, we'd have a game like yesterday where Coach said it just wasn't Bruin baseball and you were fighting upstream the whole time. Even the past, coming back the next day would have been more difficult. What do you think it says about the makeup of this team that you were able to just wash it and come back and play like this today?
BLAIR DUNLAP: This team obviously very strong mentally. We worked on that in the off-season. That was something that we wanted to work on. We've worked hard with our sports psychologist this year to be able to take things pitch to pitch, flush at-bats, flush pitches. We know if we can do that, we're going to stay competitive.
Q. Dean, you got the big home run today. You also had the double play at third. How comfortable are you feeling playing at third every day and also being in the lineup every day now?
DEAN ESPY: At first, you know, it was a change. I played first most of the year. But I'm getting comfortable now and just taking it pitch to pitch, and really trying to slow the game down for myself, manage the moment, and going with it.
Q. Trevor, Coach called you a team guy before. How important was it to keep Cole in the bullpen, or not even in the bullpen, but not even throwing today?
TREVOR BAUER: I wasn't really thinking about that. I knew he was warming up and I have confidence in everyone in our bullpen, whether it be Cole or Claypool, Rasmussen or any of the guys that have come out of the pen all year.
Like I said, I was just trying to go out there and give as much as I had and get as deep as we could and let them finish it off, because they're great at it. I wasn't really thinking about that.
Q. Coach, considering your depth that you did just talk about, is there any thought about bringing Trevor back as the next three games go along, two or three games go along?
COACH SAVAGE: For sure. We're going to go one step at a time. But we have a day off tomorrow. We'll have a practice. We don't have a game tomorrow, obviously, and then Gerrit will start on Monday.
But we'll look at it. And if Trevor can go possibly on Wednesday, you know, he probably wants to go Tuesday, but it won't be his decision, it will be the coaches' decision.
So we just have to see where we're at. We have plenty of arms. As you know, we really like our depth on the mound as well as our roster. So we have a lot of picks to choose from. But Gerrit will start on Monday.
Q. We've seen other teams from California come here and win these titles. The first time UCLA getting to this stage, what does it mean to take the program to this stage?
TREVOR BAUER: Yeah, it means a lot to us for the program and for the school and everything. And I know we talked a lot in the fall with our sports psychologist, like Blair said, and one of the things we talked about is kind of establishing a new tradition and kind of setting the tone for the program going forward. And it's been one of our main driving goals all year.
So we've kind of been doing that, and be here in this position, it means a lot to us.
BLAIR DUNLAP: Just kind of to reiterate what Trevor said. It means a lot to get the opportunity to come to Omaha, and even more than that, to get an opportunity to compete for a national championship, making the last three games of the year. It says a lot about our program. And being here for five years, I've seen a lot. And I've been through different coaches and coaching staff and where our program has come today, we've made leaps and bounds from originally where I came in five years ago at UCLA.
DEAN ESPY: I think for the new guys and the young guys especially, it's for guys like Blair, for Coach who has been here a long time, the older guys, they really set a standard for us in the fall and really set the stage for us to really come out and be who we are and play like we can play.
THE MODERATOR: Gentlemen, thank you.
End of FastScripts