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June 27, 2011

Forrest Koumas

Ray Tanner

Christian Walker

Jake Williams

Scott Wingo


South Carolina – 2
Florida - 1

THE MODERATOR: Give us an overview.
COACH TANNER: Incredible college baseball game. I thought we were going to have trouble getting a guy on base there for a long time against Hudson Randall. He was very, very special. You see Hultzen a few nights ago, and you see Randall go out there tonight. Although they're different guys, they have one thing in common. They're very special on the mound.
We're just able to hang in there and keep it to a minimum. Forrest did a nice job for us being a true freshman on this stage, he kept us alive, and we were able to eventually tie it up with Wingo's hit.
But so many opportunities for them, and we were able to get a couple of atom balls to keep them from taking the lead and Jake throws out a guy at the plate. We were just very fortunate to be able to win tonight.

Q. Scott, you had two or three big plays tonight, first the RBI single and then the double plays. What were you looking to get off of Randall there in the eighth, and just describe the ground balls hit to you later on?
SCOTT WINGO: Well, Randall, he had my number all night. And that last at-bat I think I swung through two sliders, and I just said to myself: Stay late. If I get beat inside, I get beat inside. And he threw another curveball and I was able to hit it up the middle. And those plays, I'm out there to make plays. And John gave us two ground balls. So that was big.

Q. Christian, at what point did you go from crying in the dugout thinking you couldn't play to being inserted into the lineup to getting two hits to scoring the winning run, how does that thing feel right now?
CHRISTIAN WALKER: You know, I knew it was going to take a lot of pain specifically for me not to play. And I can't say enough about Brainard Cooper and Dr. Walsh and Dr. Masaway (phonetic) and everybody at Methodist Hospital for doing everything they did.
And, you know, for the last half of yesterday I think I didn't think I was going to be able to play. But you know, they came out and really -- I mean, I'm speechless about it. And they did a great job. And I mean, I can't thank them enough.

Q. For the players, you guys have won, what, five games in the past two years in these close fashions. How do you guys do that?
CHRISTIAN WALKER: Go out there and battle, I guess. I don't know.
JAKE WILLIAMS: In close games like that you just try to keep fighting, you try to make the plays you can make and get someone to move them over get them in you gotta do little things in close games like that and hopefully come out in the positive, and we've been able to do that.
FORREST KOUMAS: Like Jake said, it's remarkable how we always managed to stay loose and stay calm in the dugout. Even going into the 10th, 11th inning against a team like Florida, we've done it all year, and hopefully we continue to do so.

Q. Jake, the throw comes to you, the winning run is coming to the plate. Did you have time to think about what you needed to do there, or was it just wind up and throw?
JAKE WILLIAMS: Well, I had one of those weird intuitions that the ball was going to get hit to me, honestly, and I was just ready to make an accurate throw and try to get it in the air and make it have a close chance for a play.
And the ball, sure enough, was hit to me, and I got a good throw on it.

Q. Two questions on strategy, Ray. With one out, the bases loaded, why did you decide to keep the infield up instead of playing maybe deeper for a double play? And then, secondly, the decision to -- I guess it was a hit and run with Christian when he took off, just the decision to start him in that particular situation since he's not usually a base runner?
COACH TANNER: After we got an out and the infield was in and Pickett comes up, he's a good runner. He's a really good runner. And I still see the ball right now.
We turned it the hard way. Would we have been able to turn it had he been back, and you would say, well, maybe because it seemed like a tailor-made double play. But he runs really well.
And you can't be close, even if you don't get a double play you get the out at the plate. And you're still playing. We were just afraid, you know. My coaches are sitting there and we were afraid that he's such a good runner that he could stay out of a double play. That's why I kept him in.
Matthews was up. Christian's not a guy that they would expect to take off in that situation. We sort of did it to element of surprise. We didn't plan on Matthews swinging through the pitch. We were hoping to maybe slash that around somewhere.
But he got a pretty good jump, and fortunately it wasn't a good throw down there and he was able to move up.

Q. Ray, talk about Matt Price for a moment, the job he's done the last couple of games for you guys and your decision to play him tonight.
COACH TANNER: Well, I was surprised that he was able to be out there, quite honestly. I talked to him a little bit today. And I just really didn't anticipate him pitching. I said: How do you feel? You're going to be pretty good for tomorrow? He said: Yeah, I'm surprisingly in very good shape.
Now he's in great condition. He works extremely hard. He does this slush work and milking of his arm and does everything he can to be ready to go. He's a bullpen guy.
He told me right before the game: I got -- I surely got an inning in me. He said: I feel pretty good. I said: Don't get up until we tell you to get up. I didn't want him down there throwing. He said: Really, I'm good to go. And so you have to trust your players.
And we got in a situation that it was an important inning. So we put him in there.

Q. Coach, and you guys can jump in on this, too, sometimes in this room we make too much out of momentum winning the first game in this series. Are you a momentum guy and does it carry over to tomorrow or no?
COACH TANNER: I think momentum's important if the other team isn't as good as you are. That's not the case here. So momentum is just a perspective on an inning or a couple of innings here or there.
So they have a great club. We're very fortunate to win tonight. We escaped a couple of situations where they had the game in hand with a hit or fly ball and all those kinds of things. And we fought. We battled. We didn't give it away. But momentum is short-lived when you have good teams playing.
If it was about momentum, we wouldn't win as much as we do, because we're on the downside a lot. We have to win late. That's the way we play.
We keep the game in perspective. We don't let it tear us up when we're behind or when we don't have that movement. And we just try to hang in there. And so I don't think it means so much when everybody you play is very good.

Q. Forrest, these guys were your first collegiate start back in March. Did you take anything from that start into this start, and what was working for you up there?
FORREST KOUMAS: Coach Meyers just told me to stick to what I've been doing, hitting the spots, and let the defense play behind me.

Q. Forrest and Coach Tanner, just talk about pitching on the big stage. And what were your nerves like coming into this? Were you more excited? More anxious? What was it? And, Coach Tanner, how did you feel like he performed on this stage?
COACH TANNER: I was very happy with his outing, quite honestly. And I would have said that had we lost the game tonight. I thought he was poised, composed. He battled. He had pretty good stuff.
It's not easy. It's not easy for seniors to be in this environment, but for three freshmen that had not pitched yet, and he did a fantastic job for me.
FORREST KOUMAS: Yeah, I just tried to take the crowd out of it, just focus on the mitt and hit my spots the best I could.

Q. You know how difficult it is to get here. Now that you're one game away from possibly successfully defending your national championship, can you expand your thoughts on that?
COACH TANNER: When you start talking about things like that, I get lost. I'm not -- that's not -- I don't ever get ahead of myself. I worry about the next inning and the particular pitches and defense. I don't really think like that. I never have. Maybe my mental capacity is not large enough.
But I don't worry about things like that. Let's be as good as we can be now in the moment, in the innings we play. And if at the end of the year you have a good record, it's a good season, if you're able to survive the whole thing, it's fantastic.
But I don't think about those things. I just try to stay in the situation that we're in. We're trying to win, and gotta win the first inning tomorrow.

Q. Scott, yesterday you joked that you were ADD. So what was going through your mind in that ninth inning when balls were hit to you back to back and you had plays at the plate?
SCOTT WINGO: You're right, I am ADD. But, yeah, just luckily I focus on the ball. I don't usually focus at all very much. But I focused on the ball, so, yeah, I got that ball. Big pick by Beary. Real big pick by Beary.

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