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June 18, 2011

Ben Bunting

Mike Fox

Chaz Frank

Patrick Johnson


Vanderbilt – 7
North Carolina - 3

THE MODERATOR: We're joined by North Carolina. Coach, give us an overview of the game.
COACH FOX: Well, first of all, I mean, Vanderbilt, they have a terrific club, which we knew you have to play them for nine innings.
It seemed like it was kind of almost of a two half game. The first half we really hurt ourselves not taking advantage of the opportunities we had first three or four innings, I guess, four or five innings.
You look up and we have ten hits and they've walked us six times and two hit batters, 18 base runners. Of course, I looked on here and saw we left 16 men on base. That's pretty much the tale of the game for us, offensively.
Out here, it's how well you play from the first pitch to the last and getting big two-outhits. And they got them and we didn't. And that was pretty much, I think, the tale of the game. They have a terrific team. And we'll just have to regroup and be ready on Monday.

Q. Chaz, when you hear that number, 16 left on base, is that, I guess, an indication of how good Vanderbilt's pitching was in the clutch, or is that more a case of the bats not coming through?
CHAZ FRANK: I think they buckled down, especially when they had runners on base, when they had two outs, I think their crowd got them into it. They just made good pitches and we weren't able to get timely hitting like we've been doing all year.
We've been riding our pitching and defense all year. And we've been able to get timely hitting and we wasn't able to get it today.

Q. Patrick, how did you feel out there today? Looked like you were struggling a little bit at the beginning.
PATRICK JOHNSON: I definitely didn't have my best stuff. They're such a good hitting team. You can't leave balls over the middle of the plate. I did that a couple times today, and they made me pay. But I wasn't as sharp as I've been. And I just made a couple of mistakes.

Q. Patrick, if you could talk about the sixth inning, take us through that, if you were getting tired at that point, and the home run that Harrell had?
PATRICK JOHNSON: It just goes to show they can score runs quick. I got the first two guys out, then the next guy got a single and hits it off the wall. And then the next pitch I hung a slider and he took advantage of it. It was a 3-1 count. I really didn't think he was going to swing at a breaking ball, but I kind of laid it in there and he didn't miss it.

Q. Chaz and Ben, if you could talk about Williams, just what different look that he gave you guys compared to Sonny and what he did that allowed him to have such a positive effect for Vanderbilt?
BEN BUNTING: I think he did a nice job coming in, getting ahead of his fastball, keeping us off balance with his off-speed pitches, making us chase his off-speed stuff in the dirt and made us get ourselves out.
CHAZ FRANK: I think he did a good job at locating his fastball and hitting the corners. And I saw he was leaving it up and then down the zone so we couldn't hit it. But Williams did a great job at working the corners.

Q. Coach, talk a little bit about the character of your team; for some of us who haven't seen much of your team this year, just their comeback ability and your confidence in them?
COACH FOX: Well, we were right down there in the last inning. Makes a great play. Westlake makes a great play at first base. We got a chance to get the tying run up there.
So I love our team. We're not going to give up. And I really -- I felt like the home run deflated us a little bit. Maybe more than I expected, and we still had plenty of game to play. Maybe I misinterpreted my team a little bit. But Vanderbilt's bullpen, they're as good as advertised.
I was probably remiss in not saying that earlier in my statement. You know, everybody knows the pitching they have; and coming out of the bullpen, they're going to match it with some arms, 91, 92, 93, and they're going to bring a lefty at us and we've got lefty hitters.
You've got to give them credit. They made some big pitches when they needed to. But I thought that was the story of the game.

Q. Moving forward from here, going to Monday, talk about your team, their comeback ability after they've taken some tough losses.
COACH FOX: You know, we've been in this situation before. Certainly not out here, but you gotta -- you get a day off, which is unusual. I think most college teams would prefer to get right back on the field the next day. Not let this linger too long.
That's usually what happens in a weekend. But we'll regroup and we'll go workout somewhere tomorrow and let the guys rest a little bit and most important let them do their fathers tomorrow, I think that's extremely important. Dads always make you feel good, no matter what. So I'll make sure they get around their dads and this one will be over with and we'll see what happens Monday.

Q. (Off microphone)
COACH FOX: I'd rather win the first one. That's the difference. It's a four-team double elimination tournament, so it's like a regional. If you lose that first one, you're like, oh, boy, gotta get on with this thing, we've got to win. I don't look at how many you have to win, you just have to win the next one.
By my take it's either going to be Texas or Florida. So that's not going to help me sleep good tonight either.

Q. Coach, Levi is four of his last 26 in the postseason. He's been a force for you all year long. When you're leaving bats, struggling like that, how do you approach that with him?
COACH FOX: It's not helping us, that's for sure. And we make a change here next game, I may have to, get him out of the 2 hole, drop him down a little bit. That's really the only thing you can do this late, maybe switch things up a little bit.
He's trying as hard as he can, certainly, and he's getting pitched pretty well also. But he can't get anything going. And he's been up there with guys in scoring position, and he got himself out on the one-pitch. We got a four-pitch walk right before he gets up there, bases loaded and swings to the first pitch that was a ball. That's because he's pressing a little bit, trying too hard; and no matter how poorly you're swinging it, you still want to have that good ball strike recognition and swinging at strikes, nothing else. Hopefully we'll get him back on track the next game.

Q. Patrick and Mike, your thoughts on what kind of spark plug Tony Kemp was in the lead-off role for Vanderbilt today?
PATRICK JOHNSON: He battled me each time he was up there. He saw a lot of pitches. He's so fast. He was a great lead-off hitter, and I think he kind of set the tone for them at the beginning of the game, forcing me to make that play right there; and unfortunately I made an error. And he just did a great job all day.
COACH FOX: Yeah, he's a pest. He's an absolute pest. I'd like to have him. No offense, Chaz. I would hit you in the 2 hole if we had him.
But he's a good player. He's just what you want over there. Hit lefties, righties, slap the ball around, can bunt, run like the wind. Puts all kind of pressure on you right out of the gate, drops the bunt down. But we're playing into the bunt and he still gets on. Good player.

Q. Ben, just back to the runners left on base. Out of the 16, I believe eight of those were with runners in scoring position. How frustrating or could you talk about the frustration that you guys probably obviously felt in that situation?
BEN BUNTING: It's very frustrating looking back leaving all those runners on. We all go through those times and at-bats where we don't get that big hit and leave runners on. But to keep it happening and have that lingering feeling all game, you start pressing, it's pretty tough mentally to try to get out of that.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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