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NCAA MEN'S COLLEGE WORLD SERIES


June 21, 2012


Tanner English

Jordan Montgomery

Ray Tanner

Christian Walker


OMAHA, NEBRASKA

South Carolina テや 2
Arkansas テや 0


Q.テつ Coach, your overview.
COACH TANNER:テつ For the second time today we got an absolute wonderful game out of our lefties.テつ Jordan followed up what Michael did earlier today.テつ Was outstanding.テつ He's had some good games for us this year, and this was the best one.
We had some pretty solid defense behind him.テつ A couple big double plays, and the play that Walker made late in the game was huge.
But Jordan was very, very special on the mound.テつ We scratched, got a couple of runs, and held up today.

Q.テつ Jordan, throughout the year you've kind of gotten in the streak of sitting down a lot of guys and maybe a flare will drop in and the wheels will start to come off.テつ How much did it give you confidence that the defense was making those plays behind you, especially in the late innings?
JORDAN MONTGOMERY:テつ Definitely making those big plays keeps the momentum going.テつ And I just buckle down and have to get the next guy out.

Q.テつ Ray, what did Jordan do differently this time than the last time you faced Arkansas back in May?
COACH TANNER:テつ He probably could answer that better than me.テつ But from my vantage point it was all about location.テつ He was able to stick some fastballs in today.
He's got a really good changeup, and I think people respect the changeup, but, to go along with that, he started sticking some fastballs on the inner half.テつ And then he would get his breaking ball going a little bit.テつ He got a couple guys looking at the breaking ball.テつ He had a three‑pitch mix going, and it was pretty good.テつ All his stuff was pretty good tonight.
So comparing him to the time before against these guys, I just felt like his location was better.テつ Is that good, Jordan?
JORDAN MONTGOMERY:テつ Yeah.テつ (Laughter).

Q.テつ Ray, two years ago you had Michael up the street at Rosenblatt.テつ Nobody really knew much about him.テつ He comes out and you have him start and he has a magnificent game.テつ Do you view this or were you thinking at all during the game this is sort of Jordan's kind of arrival moment, at least in the eyes of people that don't really know him?
COACH TANNER:テつ Like I said, Jordan's had some games for us this year at a time that we had a couple of injuries and we needed somebody to pick us up.テつ And he was there for us.テつ He was a freshman that just seized an opportunity to get some innings.
He kept us going.テつ We were trying to win some series, and we weren't going to be able to do it unless somebody step up on the mound, and he did that for us.
And I gotta give Jordan a ton of credit.テつ He's a young guy, he listens to Coach Meyers.テつ He's got a great pitching coach, and he's watched Michael Roth.
So he continues to develop, and hopefully what you saw tonight will be a sign of things to come in the next few years.

Q.テつ Ray, your defense, very big for you tonight.テつ Can you just talk about the improvement of your defense from early in the season until now, especially, with some of the young guys?
COACH TANNER:テつ Well, you know, it's one of those things that throughout the season I felt we were going to have to play defense if we were going to be a consistent team.テつ The team is good enough to play at the end of the year.テつ And we had to replace three guys from a year ago:テつ second, short and third.テつ And LB was really good for us the entire season.
Vergason, when he broke in the lineup, was making all the plays.テつ And Pankake was a little inconsistent at first, but he's been really, really good down the stretch.
We've just gotten better.テつ Those guys have just made improvements, and we needed‑‑ certainly needed them down the stretch to make plays.
Now that we're talking about them, we'll probably have seven kicks tomorrow somewhere.テつ But they've played really well.テつ We've been able to get out of some situations because of our defense and pitchers throwing well.テつ And we don't score a lot of runs, so we need that.

Q.テつ Christian and Tanner, your thoughts on the plays you made, the double play, Christian, and then, Tanner, on that gundown on the runner on third?
CHRISTIAN WALKER:テつ I kind of expected to do more of a drop step, but my feet got stuck and it made it look more like a dive, so it ended up working out.
Jordan was getting ground balls all day.テつ He was working both sides of the plate.テつ And especially with a righty up, I knew not to expect something just to the left side.テつ And luckily I was in the right spot.
TANNER ENGLISH:テつ When he hit that ball, I came in, it two‑hopped me, and I really didn't think he was going to go to third.テつ I looked up and he was rounding the ball hard.テつ I kind of let it go.テつ The ball was a little slick.テつ And LB made a good scoop over there.
When I came back in the dugout, I guess we had the play to go to second all the way on, and thank God he tagged him out because I probably would be on the bench for the rest of the game by doing it.

Q.テつ Ray, who pitches tomorrow?
COACH TANNER:テつ I'm not exactly sure.テつ Coach Meyers and I just had a brief conversation, and I said we'll pick this up in about 45 minutes.テつ So I don't know yet.

Q.テつ (Question off microphone)?
COACH TANNER:テつ Holmes is an option.テつ He threw 50, 53 pitches the other day.テつ And Koumas is an option, although he hasn't been out there in a while.テつ Nolan Belcher's name will come up as well.
So I'm not sure.テつ We'll get it out to you.テつ We'll shoot it to you a little past midnight probably.

Q.テつ Jordan, Coach talked about you've watched Michael.テつ I'm just curious what you've learned from watching him and did you talk to him about how to approach a College World Series start?
JORDAN MONTGOMERY:テつ Yeah, I've learned a lot from Roth and Webb and Munson and all those lefties.テつ Definitely watching Roth pitch that first game, I knew I just needed to come out here and put up some 0s on the board for the team and speed up innings and save our bullpen for the next game.

Q.テつ Christian, could you address the development of the in‑field defense from the start of the season to the present?
CHRISTIAN WALKER:テつ Yeah.テつ I think the rough start maybe was more just guys being‑‑ I mean, not so comfortable or settled in or‑‑ for whatever reason nobody was really fielding the way they wanted to or things just weren't happening for us, obviously, the way we had it planned out.
But everybody is a lot more comfortable.テつ Everybody knows their role.テつ It's not much more than that.テつ Everyone's just settled in and we're just playing good baseball right now.

Q.テつ Ray, when LB didn't score from second and stopped at third and you guys didn't get him in, you had a conversation with him.テつ And the camera kind of caught you two talking.テつ I'm wondering what he explained to you, because your reaction was a little kind of taken aback there, it looked like.
COACH TANNER:テつ Can you be more specific about the‑‑ I didn't have my hands around his neck, did I?
No, it was one of those deals.テつ You have to have some awareness as a baseball player.テつ Like give you an example.テつ Christian Walker probably not the fastest guy we have on the team, but he's an outstanding base runner.
And LB is probably the slowest guy we have in the lineup, but that doesn't mean that you can't run with some awareness.テつ You gotta know where the center fielder is.テつ He said he did.テつ The center fielder was a little bit deep.テつ But yet when the ball was hit, he checked back a little bit.テつ First mistake.テつ So he goes to third.テつ After he checks back, Coach Holbrook wasn't comfortable sending him.テつ So he holds him up.テつ Once you get held up, immediately it's your responsibility to find the baseball.
Now if you have to wait for a coach to tell you, hey, he just booted it, now score, it's too late.テつ So once you're held up, that's fine, but find the baseball.テつ He didn't do those things.
So there were numerous things that happened on that play I was trying to get LB to that point, hey, you have to hold.テつ We've held you before trying to score because you don't run that well.
But if you had a little bit more awareness we would have gotten that run home.テつ Of course, he said I made a mistake.テつ And it was just a good conversation.テつ I hope that the cameras didn't portray it in a different light.

Q.テつ Jordan, just coming into this year, or when you got the assignment to start today, were you nervous at all?テつ Did you get any butterflies or how did you react?
JORDAN MONTGOMERY:テつ Definitely pitching in front of 20,000 people maybe, plus, had me a little nervous in the bullpen.テつ But after that first inning, and I guess the way I settled in and the way the team was playing behind me, I was just kind of staying on cruise control and just went.

Q.テつ Jordan, do you remember watching that game in 2010 when Michael pitched up against Clemson, and do you kind of regard this as a moment just like that, sort of when you've kind of arrived; I don't know if you look at it like that?
JORDAN MONTGOMERY:テつ I'm pretty sure I watched a little bit of it.テつ I can't really remember.テつ I remember it, but I can't remember watching it.

Q.テつ And what about your arrival, that moment?
JORDAN MONTGOMERY:テつ Definitely‑‑ definitely a big part, because it's such a big stage and pitching in the College World Series, people don't really do that much.テつ So they needed a man.テつ I just stepped up when I needed to.

Q.テつ Christian and Tanner, what are your thoughts on facing DJ Baxendale tomorrow?
CHRISTIAN WALKER:テつ You know, I haven't really thought about it too much.テつ I was more concerned about the game we were playing.テつ But he's a great pitcher.
A lot of‑‑ like most of the guys we face in the SEC, like the guys we face on the weekends, just going to have to make our adjustments as the game goes on.
No matter what sort of scouting report or pregame strategy you make, usually it doesn't ever work out perfect.テつ So tomorrow's game is going to be about making adjustments.
TANNER ENGLISH:テつ Yeah, I'm pretty sure he threw earlier in the week.テつ And I was watching that game.テつ And he was throwing the ball really well.テつ So hopefully get out of there tomorrow, hop on them early, and see what happens.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports




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