home jobs contact us
Our Clients:
Browse by Sport
Find us on ASAP sports on Facebook ASAP sports on Twitter
ASAP Sports RSS Subscribe to RSS
Click to go to
ASAP Sports e-Brochure View our


June 24, 2011

Kyle Crockett

Branden Kline

Brian O'Connor

Cody Winiarski


South Carolina – 3
Virginia - 2

COACH O'CONNOR: Wow, what a college baseball game. Unfortunately, we came out on the wrong end of it. That was a baseball game of just a lot of emotions, a lot of gut decisions, both teams taking chances at times. And it's unfortunate that we had to come out on the wrong end of it.
But that being said, I've got a tremendous amount of pride in this team and what they accomplished this year. It's really spectacular what we did all year, and the reason it is is because so many different players had to emerge during the season for us to be here in Omaha right now.
The fact that we lost so many players off of last year's team in the draft, and there's many players that stepped up for this team all year long, and I'm very, very proud of them and proud of this group.

Q. Cody, can you walk us through those final two at-bats?
CODY WINIARSKI: I mean, it's simple. They wanted to get an out and we weren't able to capitalize on that and just take what they were giving to us. Those are plays we practice every day in practice and just didn't execute.

Q. Coach, any similarities for the Arkansas game, the fact that everything seemed to hinge on one pitch?
COACH O'CONNOR: Yeah, you know, when we were here in 2009, had an extra-inning game with Arkansas, and just couldn't put them away. Tonight we had multiple opportunities, bases loaded, no outs, and a chance to win the ballgame. Other opportunities with less than two outs and a runner at third base and just couldn't capitalize.
That's a credit to South Carolina. Price is an outstanding pitcher, and they played great defense. And we squared some balls up, hit some balls right on the nose, and didn't have enough to show for it to get that one more run.
But, again, at this level when you're in the final four of the College World Series, you have to be a little bit better. You have to execute a little bit better and we just didn't quite do enough tonight.
Obviously South Carolina has got something very, very special going on right now. And the way their club is playing, the way they played at the end of the year last year reminded me of when Oregon State went on that run where a couple years in a row they won back-to-back championships.
And it just seems like they just find a way.

Q. Brian, how is Danny doing and what exactly happened and can you also comment on how well he did pitch when he was in there?
COACH O'CONNOR: Well, I thought Danny Hultzen in the first three innings showed why the Seattle Mariners took him in the second pick overall. His stuff was absolutely dominating.
But my plan coming into the game was for him to have a short stint. Danny was not feeling the best today. He was feeling under the weather today.
And he was gutting it out as much as he could. He was in pretty miserable shape after the first inning. And this kid's got a very, very bright future. And I was not going to put that at risk of him feeling under the weather on four days' rest and putting his career in jeopardy. It wasn't -- if we don't win a national championship, we don't win a national championship. That kid's done so much for our program for the last three years, and I owed that to him.

Q. Brian, what were your thoughts on the performances of Kyle and Branden in relief of Danny?
COACH O'CONNOR: Well, I thought they were tremendous. Kyle Crockett, other than the other day when he pitched against South Carolina two innings, he hadn't pitched in a couple of weeks, and I thought he was outstanding. He gave us a chance to win in those middle innings, and he showed why he's going to be a very, very talented pitcher in this program for the next couple of years.
And then Branden came in there. Fortunately he was fresh and only pitched on one time on Sunday in the Cal game. And he just went out there and kept battling. It wasn't pretty. But it was kind of Kline and Price toe-to-toe, and pitching with runners in scoring position a lot, and neither one of them was going to give in and neither team could catch a break. I'm really proud of him. Again, he gave us a chance to win, too.

Q. Cody, on the throw at second, did you think you had the runner beat pretty easily?
CODY WINIARSKI: Oh, yeah, but I didn't move my feet. Just kind of let them sit still. Once again, it's a routine play for the most part. It was a ball right to me and should have been executed. We had good coverage, and Jazz let me know there was plenty of time to get the guy. Otherwise I would have gone to first.

Q. The play at third, did you feel like you had plenty of time there? Did you think at the end the runner would have beaten the throw?
CODY WINIARSKI: I thought there was definitely a window. Otherwise, once again, we wouldn't have gone toward that. We definitely want to be aggressive off the mound and the ball was right to me, so I definitely, when I turned, I thought I saw a window.
COACH O'CONNOR: Obviously it's called from the dugout that if we feel like we have a chance to get that lead runner, we're going to take a chance, and it just didn't work out.

Q. Branden, did you feel like a starter out there again? I know you started a little bit early in your career but what was the feeling like for you as you continued to go on and did you, were you as strong in those later innings of your appearance as you were in the eighth, ninth inning?
BRANDEN KLINE: I took it pitch to pitch. I really didn't try to make anything bigger it was. As Coach said, it wasn't pretty. I just went out there tried to throw strikes and tried to battle. And give credit to the South Carolina hitters. They put up a good fight. And gave also credit to Price; he kept them in there. So as the innings went on, I started to fatigue a little bit, but I just tried to keep the team in the ballgame.
And I really wouldn't have had a chance to do what I did without Kyle over here. So give him all the credit as well.

Q. Brian, I saw you gathered the team together at the first base line after the game. What can you say to players after a season ends on a note like that?
COACH O'CONNOR: Well, there's not a script for it of what you say to them. I just told them that I'm extremely proud of them, that they needed to walk out of here with their heads high; that some people might feel that you're the number one national seed, that maybe you failed. But that is certainly not the case.
That the lessons that they learned in our baseball program, that I assure them, 20 years from now they'll come back and have told me I was right, that these lessons they learned on this field and as a group and as a team will make them better men. So that was the message to them.

Q. Was there any contingency if Danny couldn't go at all, and did you consider holding him back until tomorrow, hoping you'd get there and he would be better and give you a deeper outing than he did today?
COACH O'CONNOR: Yeah, I considered everything. But I just -- I felt that it was important for us to get on to a good start in this ballgame. I knew that we had depth in our bullpen. I knew Kyle was available. Cody. I knew we had Branden extended today.
So my thought was we were going to be able to bring Will Roberts back tomorrow. So once I kind of wrote all that out and figured it out, it was a pretty simple decision. The most important thing to me in this ballgame was for us to get off to a good start, and Danny certainly did that for us.

Q. Kyle, with the plan being for Danny to only go about three, did you know going into the game that you'd be next in line, and I guess what were your feelings heading into the game at the moment that you did given the magnitude?
KYLE CROCKETT: I didn't know I was going to be next in line or anything like that. But Coach told me to be ready, and he called down to the bullpen and he expected me to go out there and do my best and just get the ball and go. And that's what I tried to do the whole game.

Q. Your emotions?
KYLE CROCKETT: I was calm. All the coaches prepared me for the moment. It was a little exhilarating going out there. Of course I was excited. But I had prepared and I was ready.

Q. Brian, you were involved in this kind of game as a player at Creighton, an extra-inning tough loss. And now as a coach, is it harder to handle as a coach than it was that player?
COACH O'CONNOR: Very similar game as the game that I lost in 1991. You know, I think it's harder as a coach losing a game like this just because you want this opportunity for these players to get a chance to compete for the national championship.
It's my livelihood, coaching college baseball, but it's their experience. And I had my experience 20 years ago. This is their experience, and you want it so bad, for it to work out for them, so they can continue to have a chance to win it all.

Q. Brian, just to clarify on Danny. Did he start feeling badly just today?

Q. And what were his thoughts about coming out, and was it just strictly something that you made?
COACH O'CONNOR: Yeah, he told me that he would give us everything that he had, you know. And it just got to the point that -- you know, I've always put the players in front of maybe winning a championship. One time this entire year we've had a pitcher throw over 120 pitches. I think he threw 122. So their health, their futures in this game are always going to be at the forefront, and my responsibility of managing them.
And, you know, the kid's given us everything that he's had. And I just couldn't live with myself if maybe he wouldn't have pitched well the next inning and it would have cost his team the chance to move on.
And bottom line is I made the decision what was right for Danny Hultzen versus trying to win a championship.
THE MODERATOR: Thank you. Congratulations.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

About ASAP SportsFastScripts ArchiveRecent InterviewsCaptioningUpcoming EventsContact Us
FastScripts | Events Covered | Our Clients | Other Services | ASAP in the News | Site Map | Job Opportunities | Links
ASAP Sports, Inc. | T: 1.212 385 0297