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June 21, 2011

Brian O'Connor

Steven Proscia

Will Roberts


South Carolina – 7
Virginia - 1

THE MODERATOR: Okay, Brian, give us an overview, please.
COACH O'CONNOR: Well, we're obviously very disappointed in our play this evening. South Carolina, really, quite frankly beat us in every phase of the game tonight. Overall, we just didn't do the fundamental things that it takes to win a college baseball game at this level.
It's pretty simple, and South Carolina did. You've got to tip your hat to them. They got big, clutch hits and took advantage of their opportunities when they had them. So that being said is that's why it's a double elimination tournament. We'll look forward to showing what we're capable of doing on Thursday night.

Q. Will, what was your night like?
WILL ROBERTS: They got a lot of two out hits that hurt me. I mean, I just didn't really have it all day. I wasn't able to put people away with two strikes. I mean, I felt like it was just a battle every at-bat. Nothing really came easy, which is a credit to their hitter that's they weren't going to give in with two strikes and chase.
I may have really made them earn everything they got, but they did earn it.

Q. Coach, could you talk about South Carolina's defense? They made good plays and they made some really sensational plays. It seems like every time they had something going, they'd come up with a play?
COACH O'CONNOR: Well, their pitchers made big pitches when they needed them to. Their infield defense was tremendous tonight. That's what it takes at this time of the year. When you're playing other great clubs you have to be able to pitch, and you have to play great infield defense. They certainly turned a couple of double-plays that were pretty special plays and got them out of some jams.
There were a couple innings that we were threatening and they were able to handle the ball and get themselves out of the inning. Those are the kind of things we've been doing all year long, credit to them. They made some tremendous plays. The middle of their infield, that double-play combination that they have is pretty special.

Q. When you said it felt like you didn't have it all night, was that something you got a sense of warming up before the game, or at what point did you kind of realize it was going to be a battle?
WILL ROBERTS: I felt good warming up. When I got to the mound in the first inning, I felt great. I felt like they hit good pitches and bad pitches that I made. I mean, obviously gave up like eight hits in three innings, and that hasn't happened in a while. So they were pretty aggressive early in the count. I mean, they just hit the ball tonight.

Q. Steven, what was the frustration level knowing that you guys were so close to getting out of that first inning?
STEVEN PROSCIA: Any time you make errors, it's frustrating. Especially when you have a guy on the hill giving it all he's got. I made that play in the first inning that could change the total complexion of the game and could be a total different ballgame. Our defense has been there all year, and we just didn't have it tonight.

Q. Brian, your team has not been in this situation often this year of being down by three runs at any point let alone after the first inning. What did you tell the guys in the dugout at that point?
COACH O'CONNOR: Well, we really didn't talk about it, honestly. Our team all year long has had a lot of poise. They haven't overreacted when we've fallen down in games. It's a veteran group that understands what's at stake and what they need to do to have a chance to win a ballgame.
You know, I thought we showed a lot of fight. I give credit to their pitchers. Holmes did a nice job. The relief guy they brought in just really tied us in knots. We didn't get a lot of great swings off of him and just couldn't get enough momentum going.
But we haven't been in that position that we were in today very often. Probably could count them on one hand that we've been down 3-0, 6-0, you know, it's only happened a couple of times to us all year.

Q. Coach, the SEC is 5-1 here and has the two, 2-0 teams and has won every game that it could so far. I'm sure you guys are preferential to the ACC and take a lot of pride to play in that conference. But what do you make of the suggestion that those SEC teams are playing at a different level right now?
COACH O'CONNOR: I don't make anything of it, honestly. I have never even thought of it. I mean, it's baseball. I think it's easy to sit there and say because the SEC is 5-1 in this tournament that maybe the SEC is better than the ACC. I don't know that the coaches in either league talk about it or make a big deal out of it.
I don't think it matters what conference anybody comes from. It's baseball, and it's good teams battling out. I don't think that there is a -- you know, a competition between the two leagues. It's a competition between South Carolina and Virginia.

Q. Coach, John Barr didn't hit into a double-play all year, he hits into a two tonight. Some of those things just a little bit of baseball and weird things that just happened tonight?
COACH O'CONNOR: I think so. But you have to give South Carolina credit for that. You know, they turned those double-plays and they made those pitches to make it happen. So John's been a clutch guy for us all year. He just didn't do enough tonight. And, again, credit them for being able to handle the ball and get out of the innings.

Q. Steven, talk about that double-play there, the 1, 2, 3 double-play that got out of the inning. You were building momentum. What did it do to you at the time?
STEVEN PROSCIA: That's just how our night was going all night, basically. We were hitting balls, some good, some bad, and their defense was just making plays. That was a big spot. Their pitcher made a good pitch and they got the double-play that they needed. That's what they were doing all night to us, and that's why they won tonight.

Q. Coach, you guys came in with one of the best fielding percentages in the NCAA. Can you talk about the two first inning errors, how much that hurt your club, and how difficult it was to climb out of there once you got down 3-0?
COACH O'CONNOR: I you this it's pretty obvious to everybody how those errors can hurt your club. We had two outs and Steven didn't make a play. Steven Proscia's made a lot of great plays for us all year long. It's one play. We've done a nice job of pitching out of those situations when we have them. We didn't, and Carolina used it as momentum to capitalize on the opportunity.
We didn't handle the ball a couple of times in the outfield on relays that allowed them to get an extra 90 feet. So bottom line is when you're playing at this level of baseball, you have to do the fundamental things to win, and we just didn't do those things tonight. You're not going to win a baseball game at this level if you don't do it.

Q. Will or Brian, talk about kind of the shock to your system, and Will, did it affect you in the second and third innings? Just everything seemed to go haywire in the first inning.
WILL ROBERTS: It definitely gave them momentum early on in the game. We were just fighting an uphill battle once we gave them that three spot. I think it kind of relaxed them, maybe, and they were able to put some good swings on the balls there in the third and then in the fourth inning.
I mean, they came out swinging, and they got some hits. We really didn't play well enough to beat that good of a team today.
COACH O'CONNOR: Yeah, I think once we fell down 3 in the top of the first, obviously our guys didn't pack it in. But in the first three innings, I didn't think our offensive approach was aggressive like it typically is. I think it was passive. I thought we continued to fight and battle through the middle innings and the late innings, but, again, they made the plays. We had some runners on. We had chances to start to creep closer and just couldn't get that one big hit.

Q. After Sunday's game you said you would not be surprised to see Cal come back from that loss and stay alive in this tournament. Did you see Cal's game today, and what are your thoughts on the rematch?
COACH O'CONNOR: I did not see Cal's game today. I only know what the score was. I just knew that they won. I just think they have good players. They've got good pitching. They've got good players, and obviously they have a lot of pride in their program. We're at the point right now where no matter who we play on Thursday night, it's about what we do. It's not about who we play.
We did not play the way Virginia has played all year this evening. No matter whether it was Cal or whoever it is, it's about us playing the baseball that has gotten us to this point.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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