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June 27, 2011
South Carolina Ã‚â€“ 2
Florida - 1
COACH O'SULLIVAN: You know, great game by both sides. You know, I thought South Carolina played outstanding. I thought we played very well as well.
It just came down to, you know, Wingo gets a big hit there in the eighth and two strikes. And we had our opportunities at the bottom of the ninth. We had bases loaded and nobody out. We needed to elevate the ball there, and, to their credit, Wingo makes a great play, and then Beary makes a great snag at the plate on the short hop and obviously they pick it to ground out the double play.
That was probably the most pivotal part of the game. We probably needed to do something that inning; unfortunately, we didn't. You have to credit South Carolina. They made the pitches and made the plays.
It was a frustrating game for us at the end there. But, bottom line, South Carolina is the defending national champs for a reason. They made plays when they needed to. This thing is a long ways from over. This is a series. We're disappointed tonight, but when we come out tomorrow, we'll be ready to go.
THE MODERATOR: Questions.
Q. Cody, could you talk about the play at the plate and coming around third and what you saw, obviously the throw at you pretty easily there?
CODY DENT: Just ball being there and it was going outside so I tried to slide on the inside, and he got me.
Q. Just to kind of follow up on that, did you see the coach -- did you see the coach waving you on? Was that kind of the issue?
CODY DENT: Yeah, there was two outs. I was going on contact. I knew he was going to send me anyways, but he was sending me.
Q. Sully, what's kind of going through your head where every single big play has to be made by the Gamecocks? They seem to make it. What goes through your head when you continuously see those guys make those plays?
COACH O'SULLIVAN: You've just got to keep pressing on. Like I said, they're the defending national champs for a reason. Like I said, with two outs, we're talking about Cody's play, I mean, you're going to send him.
And credit Williams. He made a nice throw. You just try to apply pressure. And, you know, like I said, Wingo makes a diving play and comes up, throws the ball home and short hops to Beary, and Beary makes a great play on an in-between hop and then they get the double play.
There's not much you can do. We just didn't elevate the ball in that situation. And that's what we needed to do, and we didn't. And South Carolina deserves all the credit for making some big plays that inning.
Q. Coach, your team has been on a roll in postseason. How much are you concerned about its ability since it's been a while since it's had a chance to bounce back from adversity?
COACH O'SULLIVAN: It happened in the Super Regional. We'll drop in that experience. And we got a really good pitcher going tomorrow in Karsten Whitson. Brian Johnson is available. We're going to use him tomorrow. Obviously all of our relievers were used on a short stint tonight, so we'll do everything we need to do to hopefully win tomorrow.
Q. Brian, can you talk about bouncing back from this game? Obviously it's probably the most toughest game you guys have lost all year.
BRIAN JOHNSON: I think it's like Sully said, we experienced it against Mississippi State in Super Regionals, and I think we had to come back in that game too. So it's far from over. We just have to put it behind us and go after it tomorrow. Tomorrow is another day.
Q. Hudson, you could, just talk about the at-bat at Wingo where you gave up the single? Did you think you had a chance to field that ball?
HUDSON RANDALL: Yeah, you know, I had good success earlier in the ballgame against them, especially with that curveball.
You know, I shook two of those. It was my decision to throw a curveball. I thought I was going to get him with it. Turns out he saw too many of them and got a good piece of the bat on the ball.
Yeah, tipped my glove, I just didn't get it down in time.
Q. Hudson, talk about the roll you were on for the first seven innings, the pace you were pitching at and the confidence you were playing with the team behind you?
HUDSON RANDALL: My off-speed pitches I was throwing for strikes. I was on the good roll through the seventh inning there. I was just trying to get off the field as soon as possible to get our offensive chance to score some more runs for me. And it was a close ballgame all the way through the end and it just didn't work out for us.
Q. Coach, can you talk about y'all's game plan going up against Forrest Koumas, a freshman who hasn't pitched for six weeks? What did you see out of him tonight?
COACH O'SULLIVAN: He was able to mix his fastball and breaking ball in there effectively and threw just enough change-ups to left-handers. And we only had five hits, five and two-thirds, so he did a heck of a job.
We just tried to -- tried to stay through the middle of the field. I thought our swings got a little bit big. I thought we were starting to press a little bit as the game went on.
I thought Forrest did a heck of a job, especially being a freshman. I thought he hung in there really well.
Q. Any of the players, I know you've talked about recovering from the Mississippi State loss, but what are you all going to say this time that's different? Having never been here before in the finals, what are you all going to say this time to recover tomorrow?
CODY DENT: You know, once tomorrow starts, this game's over. We just gotta put it behind us, come out focusing, pitch by pitch tomorrow, do whatever we can to win that game and force a Game 3.
HUDSON RANDALL: Like Cody said, most frustrating thing we had opportunities to win this game, and the team that beat us was ourselves. So we just gotta come out tomorrow and get ready to play. Two-out-of-three series, we're used to that. We've been playing like that all season long. We're geared up for that and we got a good pitching list, and I think we're going to bounce back from it.
BRIAN JOHNSON: Like these two guys here said, you just gotta battle back tomorrow, Game 2. And the umpire says "Play ball," it's a new game. Gotta go out there, battle, do whatever you can to scratch out hits, runs, execute where we need to.
We can't fall for stuff. We have to go out there. When the umpire says "Play ball," go out there and force a Game 3.
Q. Brian, coach was just saying that you'll be available this week. Just kind of talk about that and what you hope to do when you get on the mound again.
BRIAN JOHNSON: I hope to take off right where I left off. I've been facing hitters throughout the week and got hot in the Vanderbilt game and got hot in tonight's game. I'm just ready to get out there and contribute to the team on the mound.
Q. Coach, what kind of start are you looking for Karsten tomorrow and how do you prepare him to pitch in such a big game?
COACH O'SULLIVAN: He's pitched in big games all year long. He pitched in the SEC. That's what prepares you for these type of starts.
I'm not going to put any pressure on him. I'm not going to tell him he has to go five, six, seven innings. We're going to let him go as hard as he can for as long as he can. When we get in trouble, we'll go to the pen.
But bottom line is we've got to play well tomorrow, simple as that, or our season will be over. But I have full confidence that our players will be ready to go. And obviously we probably anticipate Roth throwing tomorrow, so we have our hands full.
But, like I said, if you want to win this game, you've got to beat really good teams along the way. And South Carolina is a very good club and they earned this one tonight. They earned it. I'm not going to blame our team. We had opportunities, but, hey, South Carolina made plays when we needed to, so I give them all the credit.
Q. Coach, do you recall having two errors on a play recently or all year long? And do you need to prop Zunino up a little bit? He's been so good defensively.
COACH O'SULLIVAN: Yeah, we had an indication they were going to hit and run there. We brought in Larson. He's a sinkerballer, and they know that. They know we're going to throw strikes early in the count.
And Mike has nothing to hang his head about. He's been one of our best players, if not our best player, all year long. I know he feels terrible about it. But that's baseball.
And he's mature enough. He's tough enough. He'll be able to bounce back tomorrow. He'll be hitting third or fourth tomorrow and starting behind the plate.
So I feel for him. I feel bad. But bottom line is you go to battle with certain guys; he's one I want in my corner. I love him to death and I feel terrible for him that the play turned out the way it is. But, hey, you know what, that's baseball and he's the main reason why we're here at this point right now.
Q. There was a late lineup change, at least in the press box, with Walker being inserted. Did you expect him to play? Did you expect Price to be available? And was that a bit of gamesmanship by Ray maybe deeking at least us and maybe you guys out?
COACH O'SULLIVAN: I didn't take it that way at all. I think that, you know, my job is to be concerned about our team. I'm not going to be concerned about what moves in that lineup that Ray does. There's enough things to worry about with our club.
And I don't think it was anything misleading. I just think that he probably made a decision at the last minute, and Walker wanted to play.
But, like I said, you know, personally I'm glad he played, because I think he's one of those kids for them that he's the main reason why they're there. And we got a great deal of respect for him, and he obviously showed a tremendous amount of toughness tonight to play.
And, like I said, I don't think it was anything unsportsmanlike at all. I think it was just a late lineup change and felt like it was the best lineup for them to win, and obviously it worked out.
THE MODERATOR: Thank you.
FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports