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June 23, 2011

Austin Booker

David Esquer

Chadd Krist

Tony Renda


Virginia – 8
California - 1

THE MODERATOR: Dave, congratulations on the season. One game.
COACH ESQUER: Yeah. You know, the story of this ballgame isn't much different. Boy, you know, again, University of Virginia is very well coached, and they deserved to win. They played a heck of a ballgame tonight, as they did the first time.
They do so many things fundamentally well, they make it tough for you to beat. And you have to play an almost flawless game and you've got to be on your game to be able to beat them.
And tonight we weren't. You know, they did a great job, and we professed to a lot of our guys about using the middle of the diamond and being able to stay inside the breaking pitch and use the middle.
Boy, they did that textbook. If you look at a lot of their big hits, all to the middle of the diamond, even in breaking ball counts. And they just did an outstanding job offensively and took advantage of any little crack that you gave them.
I think we misplayed a bunt early in the game and they turned that into two runs, and that's what great teams do. Then they got the pitching to back them up, where they're not going to make it easy for you. They're not just going to walk two, hit a batter, make an error, and then all of a sudden you're back in the ballgame. And that's the difference.
They make you play so well to beat them. I have a lot of respect for that club. Very deserving for all the attention they've gotten throughout the year. And it's going to be a heck of a semifinal with South Carolina and Virginia. Those are two very good teams.
And obviously we're proud to be one of the eight teams in the College World Series. We'll never forget this. This is a great experience for not only myself but for my team. And as I addressed them at the end of the game, to experience this with your best friends, this is an experience that they'll never forget. They won't ever forget it.
I mean, it will be 20, 30 years down the line, and I think seeing that Creighton team honored before the ballgame here tonight is indicative that those things don't go away.
At some point at the University of California, 15, 10, 20 years down the line, we're going to be honoring this team for what they did and what they accomplished. And I'm so proud of what they've done. And I think I took even more satisfaction just listening to our dugout: Never give up. And in that ninth inning, to see them support their teammates and basically go out the way they came in, which was with a lot of spirit and energy and a lot of team support.
You know what, I couldn't have asked for more. I could not have asked for more from a group of guys.

Q. For the players, maybe each one of you could take a crack at this: Exactly what did they think of Tyler Wilson's pitching and how was he doing it, how was he keeping them off balance? His control was obviously tremendously, but just wanted to get your point of view on it.
TONY RENDA: Yeah, he did a great job. He kept us off balance to the point we were popping up a lot of balls up, which is pretty uncharacteristic of our team. And he was throwing two pitches for a strike. Slider was on tonight, and his fastball was getting on us.
And a guy like him, you just gotta take advantage of his mistakes, and he didn't make too many tonight. And we just weren't able to find the holes like we needed to, and keep the ball low.
But yeah, he was definitely on his stuff and made it tricky for us.
AUSTIN BOOKER: Around the plate, I didn't feel so many balls, and forced us to put the ball in play and hitting a pop up and ground ball right at people and couldn't catch a break. Did a great job making up his pitches and staying off the plate.

Q. Cam and then Barry and his group, I want to know your guys' thoughts on when the season finally came to an end, what went through your mind and what are you feeling right now?
AUSTIN BOOKER: It was a great run, I'm proud of all my teammates that we were able to go through so much and end up in Omaha. And it was a great time that I got to experience my senior year with my friends. So I'm sad and disappointed that it's over, but it was a great run and I'm happy to experience it with these guys.
CHADD KRIST: I mean, obviously, it's disappointing the way it went out. Very uncharacteristic of us. It's not exactly how we wanted to go out. We made it to Omaha, something a lot of people said that -- they can't say they've done. We did it with our best buds. Just like Coach Esquy said, it's something we're going to remember for a while. We're disappointed but gotta celebrate the season a little bit, too.
TONY RENDA: Everybody has the same goal of getting to Omaha, and we got here. So we achieved that goal, which is great, and being here was great, and I'll never forget it. And one of the first things I thought was: Is it really over? Couldn't really believe it. And the second thought was: Let's win it next year.

Q. Coach, you face a pitcher who you saw the other night who had thrown two and a third innings. Did you think that might give you some kind of advantage? Were you happy to be facing a guy you had seen before?
COACH ESQUER: Well, I don't know if I was happy to see him. His numbers are still outstanding. He's 9-0 with under a 2.5 ERA. If there was any advantage maybe to have seen him once, could have or would have been, certainly didn't look that way tonight by the way he handled us tonight. And I kind of anticipated people saying, Coach, did the magic just run out with your club? And I said, Boy, if magic was low and hard contact to the middle of the diamond, then it absolutely did. Because that's what we had to do. And we just didn't get that.
I don't think their shortstop or their second baseman had an assist all day long. I don't think we hit a ball to the middle of the diamond and made them make a play. I think we ran a couple of base hits up the middle.
Again, that's a tribute to the pitcher. Either we didn't handle them, be able to stay on top of the baseball and inside the baseball, or he got us to get out front and hit the ball in the air. And that's what we did.

Q. Coach, it was still 2-0 in the sixth when the ball got passed your centerfielder. How would you assess the impact of that play on the game?
COACH ESQUER: Well, I don't know if it was that particular play. You know, even at three, it's still a game. I think it got away from us a little bit in that inning. I thought it was -- again a couple of the mistakes, for instance, Keith Werman who seemed to be in the middle of a lot of things. You throw a breaking pitch that's supposed to get to the ground and you and elevate it and hits a base hit for the RBI single, another two-strike hit in the hole to score another run, and you can just count up the times where they actually -- they executed or they performed and we didn't. And again, that happened enough to let the game get out of hand.
I agree, I thought it was a very manageable game that had we done some things, you could be sitting in the seventh inning with 2- or 3-0 game, and we've been in that spot before, and maybe score a run, put some pressure to get some base runners late. But that didn't happen.

Q. Coach, how important was it there in the ninth to get your young guys, at least one College World Series at-bat guys, like Andrew Knapp and Vince Bruno and guys that may be back here at some point?
COACH ESQUER: You know, at that point, with the game 8-1, it gets to that, where you want people to actually experience it because there's kids in our program who are going to -- the baton may be passed to in the near future, and they are our future, and to give them some experience of not only having been here and been on the field, we felt they were deserving. And a lot of those kids, Dwight Tanaka, for instance, as a senior put just as much hard work as anyone who got to play every inning during the year, and we recognized that.

Q. When I saw you down in San Diego and you were playing Oklahoma, after that game, you kind of pointed to Oklahoma and you said: We want to become a team like that, we want to become them. That's what our goal is. When do you think your team kind of transitioned to becoming a next-level type of team this year?
COACH ESQUER: Well, it took us a while. We knew that an emphasis for our club -- and we said it right from the start -- we had to be a good road team. We had to be a team that could be quality people on the road.
I mean, that was going to be our road to get to the next level. We knew that if we were going to go to a regional, it was going to be on the road.
So I think just kind of the experience of going through, whether it was a tournament at Coastal Carolina and on to San Diego and the Pac-10 road series where you're facing quality pitching and quality people on the road, that had to be kind of our comfort zone.
And I think when we got to the regional, went to Houston, we looked back on our season and really knew we were ready for that type of challenge. Now, obviously there's some luck and some help and a miracle win along the way but I think we were prepared to kind of face the best of the best on the road and give it a good shot.

Q. Coach, if you were going to have a diary entry after all this season, how would you sum up everything that happened this year?
COACH ESQUER: Now, that is a great question. You know, really, my diary entry would be that: Got a chance to go to Omaha with a very special team in a really crazy year. And I think our program and our players proved a lot to themselves that they would take with them the rest of their lives.
It's going to help them be better professionals, whether baseball players or even professionals outside of baseball. I think they've learned a lot of lessons about perseverance and strength. And it's going to help them be better husbands and fathers, and I think it's been a year that has really taught them as well as myself a whole lot about human spirit.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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