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June 16, 2012

Evan Marzilli

Erik Payne

Michael Roth

Ray Tanner


South Carolina – 5
Florida - 3

THE MODERATOR:  Ray, give us an overview, please.
COACH TANNER:  That was a great, great game.  Hard‑fought game.  Both teams were off and Johnson getting after it at the beginning of the game.  They pushed across a couple of runs.  Looked like we might be able to get out of that inning, and they had a little trouble picking that ball up, he said he lost it in the stands a little bit.  When he picked it up it was getting over his head.
But that ball was hit pretty hard as well (.  So that was a tough, tough play but we kept hanging around and had the big five‑run fifth.  We loaded them up, couple hits.  Walk and pane hit, I guess it was a two‑strike pitch in the alley.  Gave us a chance to get all three runs on the board.
But anytime you play a team like the Gators and every pitch is a big deal.  It was pretty much like that tonight.  Even at the end of the game we scored a few extras, but they were coming right back and they almost got the tying run until they played at the end.
THE MODERATOR:  Questions.

Q.  Erik, just describe your approach to the plate in that fifth, obviously you guys had base runners but you couldn't get anybody around.  What were you going up looking for and what did you get?
ERIK PAYNE:  I was trying to keep my hand still and try to stay balanced and work the whole field.  And I got a fastball that I could drive and I slid a gap and I was fortunate enough that it fell.

Q.  Erik, LB kind of mentioned a couple minutes ago it's challenging to do what you do get a spot start and still stay sharp.  How do you go about doing that?  What are some of the challenges that you face in having the role where you're going to start sometimes and not others?
ERIK PAYNE:  You just gotta practice and take DP every day like you're going to be playing.  And you just gotta try to stay sharp.
You keep on the same routine.  And hopefully when you get the opportunity, you're successful.

Q.  Coach, can you just talk about your team's consistency in the postseason?
COACH TANNER:  You know, it's hard to‑‑ it's hard to talk about.  I know we've had a pretty good run.  But it doesn't feel like that.  I don't think our guys approach it that way.
It's kind of like we're getting to play baseball.  We're having fun.  Our season has been extended.  We were fortunate to be successful in the postseason, and these guys, I think, just enjoy playing.  They don't get caught up in things you can't control.
And thinking too much ahead and things like that.  We just try to play hard.  And try to play with some awareness and hope some good things happen.  And as I've said before, we've got some good players.  We've done some good things but we've also had some good fortune.
We've had a little luck along the way and all those things are important.  But you gotta give our guys credit, too.  They have been consistent.  And they play hard and they keep scrapping.  Even tonight we got down, and you get down with a guy like Johnson on the mound and as good as pitchers they've got in the bullpen over there, it could be a major task for you.
And we were able to have a big inning.  We don't get five, six, seven too many times and go double digit hits but tonight we were able to do that.

Q.  You guys take on the Razorbacks.  Beat them two out of three in Fayetteville earlier this year.  What do you expect from them, coach and players, what do you expect from them they've got good pitching from Ryan Stan Nick on Monday night?
COACH TANNER:  First thing facing Stan Nick, he's dynamite.  ( Big arm, big guy, power pitcher good stuff.  Mid‑90s.  And we were able to scrap against him in Fayetteville.  But that's the first thing you gotta figure out how do you run scores against a big guy like that, pitching really well.
They have a great club.  Another SEC foe.  They know a lot about us and we know a lot about them.  And they're going to go out and play well and I know we're going to approach it the same way (.
ERIK PAYNE:  A lot of power arms.  I know they have a really good staff.  And I remember them putting up a lot of hits against us on that weekend.  And I know they're really good.  They're a top SEC team.  And you just gotta go out there and battle.
EVAN MARZILLI:  Arkansas is a great team.  We saw that when we went to Fayetteville.  A bunch of guys out of the pen that throw hard.  Some really good hitters.  I mean, it's going to be a battle.
And just like every other SEC game that we have, it's going to be a tough one.  So we'll be ready.

Q.  Coach, I'm wondering, Johnson had worked them out of a couple of jams early in the game the first few innings, then they left him in in the fifth.  I'm wondering what you were thinking at that point when you had the bases loaded and he didn't come out.
COACH TANNER:  I was thinking probably a lot like Coach O'Sullivan was he's the kind of guy he can get out of trouble.  He's really good.
He's one of the best pitchers in the country, just like Michael Roth.  Michael has been able to work his way out of jams in the past.  Top quality pitches‑‑ and Johnson can do that as well.  We were very fortunate that pane got a pitch he could hit and he was able to split the alley.
And they had sometimes the game happens that way.  They had an opportunity to get some things going when we brought Webb in, and they hit a ball right at massy right at right field that could be different as well.
So I think Johnson ( is really, really good.  We're very fortunate.

Q.  During the streak, I think it's easy to look at the big name guys on this team and say those guys kind of made this.  But talk about the other guys involved, like a guy like Erik Payne tonight that steps up and makes that big play to maybe get it going.  Are those guys equally as responsible for this?
COACH TANNER:  Said a couple times since I've been here that we're probably here because of the leadership of our older guys, veteran players who have been able to help some of these young players understand situations and play hard every day and good things are going to happen for you.  Erik was a freshman last year, had a tough time, didn't get much playing time.
It was a tough adjustment for him.  So much better for him a year later.  He's bigger, stronger.  He's developed a lot more.  And still hasn't got 250 at‑bats, close to 100.  But those guys know when you get a crack, you gotta be able to go out there and fight.  And they've learned that from the older guys.
And we've got some guys that can play some roles.  We've got the veteran players that I've mentioned, they sort of have to take us‑‑ they have to lead for us, and we gotta get some contribution from the rest of those guys, just like pane stepped up tonight for us.

Q.  Erik, I guess cram two questions into one, do you have to kind of focus on spending maybe more time in the cage than other guys just because of the fact that you're not playing as often and getting those at‑bats in a game, number one?  And also your emotions just in that at‑bat, in that situation, bases loaded, no outs, two strikes.  You had been here last year but hadn't really been out there, those two things, please.
ERIK PAYNE:  I think the cage can help and it can hurt.  I think when you go in there and you fight yourself, you make a bad swing, you get down on yourself, I think you have to go in there with a routine and don't worry about it, just get your swings in, and then when you get into the game, it's more mental than anything.  So you have to go with a it's not physical more mental approach.
To answer your second question, I mean, every player wants to be up there with the bases loaded.  And you've got to try to stay calm and focused on what you want to do.  You've got to listen to your coaches and they help keep you calm and you've got to focus on just hitting the ball hard and not like bases loaded, we're in Omaha, all that, you have to simplify things.

Q.  Evan, can you take us through your catch and kind of where do you rank this one amongst some of the other fine catches you've made?
EVAN MARZILLI:  Off the bat I didn't think I was going to get to it.  The ball was hit pretty well.  But I kept sprinting as hard as I could.  On those you don't know until the last second whether you're going to get them or not.  I kind of laid it out and it landed in my glove.  It's just one of those.
But it was up there with one of my best ones, I think.

Q.  Michael, could you talk about your performance tonight?  Looked like they were knocking you around a bit but you were able to get out of trouble and when will you be able to return?
MICHAEL ROTH:  Well, as far as the performance goes, obviously I'd like to be a little bit better, of course.  But you just have to go out there and grind it out and Florida's a great hitting team.  Just try to keep them off balance and when will I be able to throw?  Coach Tanner and I will probably talk about that in a little bit.
COACH TANNER:  That means I'll do a lot of listening.

Q.  Michael, as a veteran at this event and through your league, can you speak to the strength of the SEC that you beat one team and now you've got another one right around the corner, which seems to kind of happen a lot in Omaha?
MICHAEL ROTH:  Well, being part of the SEC has been a great experience for me.  We were playing great teams week in, week out, regular season.  And you know we had three teams at the SEC last year and three again.  So I don't think that's a mistake.  But we're looking forward to another great SEC match‑up on Monday.

Q.  Erik and Evan, in the first couple of innings you guys left a lot of batters or runners on base.  How did you guys stay disciplined as hitters when you guys were leaving guys on base?
ERIK PAYNE:  When you're struggling like that in the beginning of the game to get runs across you have to be patient.  Brian's a great pitcher.  You're not going to score runs off him chip ha way with what you got.  And made good adjustments kept staying aggressive kept swinging it and ( had some balls fall and Erik put a great swing on the ball.  It's just one of those days.
ERIK PAYNE:  Yeah, like Evan said, Johnson is a really good pitcher.  I don't want to say you've got to be happy you're putting good swings on the ball but it's a good feeling if you're not cashing them in that you're getting guys on base, and it's better than striking out seven of the first nine batters, you know?  So it kind of loosens you up a little bit, like maybe we'll string a couple together, put a couple of runs on the board.  So you just gotta stay patient.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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