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June 24, 2012

Andy Lopez

Alex Mejia

Robert Refsnyder

Konner Wade


Arizona テや 5
South Carolina テや 1

COACH LOPEZ:テつ Needless to say, once again Konner was outstanding.テつ Marvelous, marvelous job.テつ And we played pretty good baseball again.
I mean, you get timely hitting.テつ You get Robert Refsnyder getting us a great start and taking a little bit of the anxiety off by being up 2‑0, but you never feel comfortable with Ray's club.
To be honest with you, even going into the last inning, you always ‑‑ at least me, they may not feel this way, but at least me going in, you have to make good pitches and do the right things or they'll take advantage of it.
Obviously a good ballgame for us, and hopefully we can put together another one tomorrow.
THE MODERATOR:テつ Questions.

Q.テつ Andy, just kind of break down what you saw from Konner tonight.テつ Obviously pretty good.テつ And, Konner, just talk about your performance after Coach.
COACH LOPEZ:テつ The thing about him, and he knows this, he went through a little bit of a stretch early in the season where he just wasn't throwing strikes.
He has tremendous arm side sink, has a really good changeup with arm side sink as well.テつ So I think those strikes, he gets a lot of swing‑throughs, he also gets a lot of ground ball.テつ They just don't square him up very easily when he's throwing strikes.
Again, pitching in this park, I think, is conducive to what he does because he's had to do it at Hi Corbett all season.
And, again, you really are very thankful when a young guy gets better as the season goes on, which is what he's done.
I mean, there's a couple days early in the season where you would have never said this would be occurring right now, he's got, what, three complete games in his last three starts in postseason.
That's pretty impressive.

Q.テつ Talk about the home runs you saw.テつ And, Konner, talk about Robert's play right there in right field.
ROBERT REFSNYDER:テつ The wind was blowing out, so that helped a little bit.テつ But I forget what the count was.テつ I know it was two strikes.テつ Wanted to put a good swing on it.テつ I knew if we got the team on the board right there, we got on second base, it's going to, like Lopez said, kind of settle the team down so we could just go out and play good baseball.
I was fortunate enough to run into it.テつ Sometimes you close your eyes and swing really hard, good things happen.
KONNER WADE:テつ I can't say enough about my defense tonight.テつ They really picked me up in some big situations.テつ The first inning double play could have prevented a really big inning.テつ And then Rob right there getting the first out at third.
It was huge, knowing that you can pitch to contact with this defense behind you.

Q.テつ Alex, can you describe that double play?テつ And talk about the effect that you thought that had on the game.
ALEX MEJIA:テつ To be honest, the way Wade was pitching, obviously there's a little effect.テつ It takes them out of a big inning.テつ But the way he pitches and the way he's been pitching, I would be‑‑ I feel safe in allowing those two runners to get on because he's done such a tremendous job, you know?
And he did real good.テつ And I don't think that play would have mattered too much, because he's just spot on.テつ He don't let things like that affect him as other pitchers might.
He has a real hard head and he understands that things are going to happen.テつ He just keeps tugging his own, and it's real easy to play defense behind him.

Q.テつ Robert, Coach Tanner mentioned he was almost surprised that you made that throw with the four‑run lead rather than just throw to second.テつ Were you kind of thinking you were just going to be aggressive on that play from the get‑go?テつ And, Alex, it looked like Robert was really excited after that home run.テつ Did that energize the dugout, do you think?
ROBERT REFSNYDER:テつ I was surprised that Matthews decided to take the extra base.テつ The ball was hit relatively hard through the hole.テつ And when Konner throws, I mean, I play especially hard, but I play probably the hardest out of any pitchers because I know what Konner's been through.テつ He's arguably the strongest kid on our team, if you guys realize what Konner's‑‑ the adversity he's gone through.
So I came through that ball real hard and I really wasn't expecting Matthews to go.テつ But I thought he kind of hesitated, so I decided to let it rip.
But if you throw the ball anywhere close to Seth, he's got the hands of apes, so it was pretty easy, just get it close to Seth and he put a really good tag on it.
It was a big momentum shift for us.

Q.テつ Coach, obviously a great night offensively for you guys.テつ 12 hits and then five runners put on base by being walked.テつ But on that same note, 11 runners left on base.テつ Moving forward, how do you approach that, and what do you tell your guys?
COACH LOPEZ:テつ We talked about it after the ballgame.テつ I thought we had a couple of opportunities we didn't cash in.テつ I said I thought it was about a grade of B.テつ And, again, South Carolina is a phenomenally good program.
But if we do what we‑‑ again, we grade ourselves out based off of what we're trying to accomplish.テつ We didn't sacrifice it one time.テつ We had bases loaded and went double play, which goes against our teaching philosophies.
A lot of that has to do with the people on the other side of the field, too.テつ South Carolina made good pitches when they had to in situations.テつ But not to be greedy, but I would hope that our guys would always strive for the standards that they've established in practice and the things they're trying to do.
Again, South Carolina's made good pitches and beat us in those situations.テつ But, again, I've grown to know that don't ever be too proud to take a "W."テつ So, I mean, we're very thankful for the win.テつ But you're right, there were some things we did poorly at times, we've gotta do a better job against an opponent like South Carolina.

Q.テつ Coach, you mentioned that the first inning kind of lifted anxiety for you guys.テつ When you say anxiety, did you sense any jitters, maybe some uptightness in the dugout, can you describe the mood and emotion in the dugout before the game heading into the bottom of the first and heading into the second with the 2‑0 lead?
COACH LOPEZ:テつ No jitters whatsoever.テつ In fact, after batting practice, we go up in the clubhouse, and I'm in the kitchen going through my‑‑ I had jitters.テつ I don't know if they're going to talk about‑‑ I was going through the opposing hitters, my pitching plan and what have you and all the rest.
And God only knows what they were doing.テつ But it was the loudest, goofiest group of young athletes I've been around in about 30 years‑‑ what were you guys doing in there?テつ They were playing some goofy game.テつ I still don't‑‑ I sat there and went, wow, these guys are kind of loose tonight.
So I just think when you score in postseason, it just feels good to be up versus chasing runs; it's postseason.
No, to be very candid with you, I have no clue what they were doing in that clubhouse, but I was in the kitchen.テつ And at one moment I thought my God‑‑ it was monkey noises and there's all kinds of‑‑ it sounded like a zoo, to be real honest with you.
So I don't think there were any jitters, to be honest with you.テつ I think, again, it's just good to be on top, on top of a very good opponent when you're getting into the second inning.

Q.テつ Konner, can you discuss your mentality on the mound that's allowed you to pitch so deep into the games, not just tonight, but throughout the postseason?
KONNER WADE:テつ Well, you know, my past two starts I had the same mentality, throw strikes and try to get ground balls.
I'm not going to have a lot of strikeouts, obviously.テつ But I think that works to my advantage when we get‑‑ when we get deep in the games because my pitch count is lower.
And I just tried to work ahead of guys.テつ I knew that they were a pretty aggressive team and they were going to try to take the extra base.テつ So I tried to work ahead and get in counts that were favorable to me.

Q.テつ Kind of going back to Aaron's question, obviously there was not much tension after the monkey noises and everything.テつ But when Robert hit the home run, both hitters, if you could both talk about it, did that take away whatever nervousness or whatever there might have been remaining when you guys got ahead real quick?
ALEX MEJIA:テつ When Rob hit that home run, to be honest, I didn't think it was going to go out.テつ I thought it was ‑‑ he crushed it.テつ He has really good power and he crushed it.
So when that went over, I think‑‑ I don't think we were nervous or we didn't have any anxiety or anything.テつ But when you get ahead in the first inning against an opponent like that, had been there two years in a row, this is the third, anytime you get ahead of a team, to be honest, you get more relief, you get settled in a lot faster than you would as opposed to being a tie game going into the ninth or chasing one or two, as Coach said earlier.
I think Robert Refsnyder's home run definitely helped us a lot and let us get the victory tonight.
ROBERT REFSNYDER:テつ Anytime you can get a little bit of a lead for Konner.テつ I can't remember the last time we got a lead for Konner he didn't give it up or anything.テつ Helped Konner's confidence, I'm sure, a few runs, and helped the team's confidence because South Carolina is two‑time defending champ.テつ And anytime you can get ahead of a team like that, because you're going to need every run against them.

Q.テつ Robert and Alex, obviously first inning you get up 2‑0.テつ You have Konner on the mound.テつ You were just talking about how secure you feel with him.テつ What does that do for you at the plate knowing you don't have to be the guy to make a big play and you can play the way you guys have played all year at the plate?
ROBERT REFSNYDER:テつ Konner's play was a masterpiece, and I was totally anticipating for him to throw strikes and kind of do a double of that.テつ And he did.
So anytime Konner or Kurt or any of our starters Farris, you might see, anytime you get a yield from them, you know you're going to be in a good place, because pitch to contact to really know that I don't think there's a better left side of the infield than Alex and Seth or third and short.
So that must be pretty relieving for Konner and Kurt to see a guy like Joey and another center fielder who plays left field, Johnny, and that.
So our team complements each other well and they kind of know their role.テつ So anytime you get a lead for Konner or any of the pitchers I'm sure both ends of the spectrum feel pretty good about it.
ALEX MEJIA:テつ Like he said, pretty much anytime you get a lead for these guys, it's going to be a close game.テつ But as hitters, as our offense, we don't get away from our plan.
We're still trying to get as many runs you can, as many runs they're going to give us, because you never know with this game, anything could happen.
You might be up 10‑0 going into the ninth and something happens and somebody makes an error, and they're back in the game 10‑9.テつ We stick to our game plan.テつ We try to stay short on top, make sure we are still as aggressive as we were in the first inning.テつ Kind of pushing to stretch the defense as much as possible.

Q.テつ Coach, obviously you're in the position having taken Game 1, but what's your message to your team knowing you're going against an opponent in South Carolina that's been at their best when their backs are against the wall?
COACH LOPEZ:テつ We've talked about one in a row for six weeks now.テつ That's all we've talked about.テつ One in a row.テつ Play good baseball tonight and show up tomorrow night and play good baseball tomorrow.
I mean, again, we've had to do that‑‑ like I said their immediate goal is to win the Pac.テつ When we got beat by Oregon with‑‑ I think there were three weeks left in conference, we talked about, as I've told them, I don't know if you can win 25 games in a row, but I've seen you win one in a row.テつ I've seen you play good baseball tonight.テつ So let's just go one‑‑ tonight's over.テつ It's over.テつ It's done with.テつ You gotta come out tomorrow and play good baseball.
And we understand where we're at.テつ These guys understand who they're playing.テつ They understand it's not a tournament somewhere in South Dakota.テつ They understand what they're doing.テつ So they've got to play good baseball again.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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