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May 31, 2013

Chad Clark

Scott Effross

Tracy Smith

Casey Smith



COACH SMITH:テつ Yeah, I think it's probably easy when a ballgame like that, especially the way that it ended, to be getting excited.
But I always walk away from those games, whether I'm on this side of it or the other side of it; that that's why we love this game and that's why we hate this game.テつ It can give you such a range of emotions in just a short amount of time, and quite honestly, I was already‑‑ I shouldn't say it publically, but I was already formulating my, what am I going to say to these guys speech at the end of the game.
So it's just a heck of a ballgame, and you know, I thought Valparaiso's pitcher did an unbelievable job against us, kept us in check the whole way.テつ But I think what you see with that game again, going back to baseball, that's why it's such a great game, because you can never tell until that last out is over with.
So, wonderful ballgame.テつ Certainly I know I'm speaking for these guys and everybody in that locker room, I'm very glad we won the game, but again, you know, I'm not going to do the‑‑ and I know, I've been on the other side of that with Tracy and how they must be feeling, but it was a good ballgame on their end, and we just got it and we were fortunate tonight.

Q.テつ Chad, take us through your ninth inning to the error and at‑bat and everything thereafter; what was that entire inning like for you emotionally?
CHAD CLARK:テつ Started off bases loaded fielder's choice.テつ I was late to the bag and we didn't get that guy.テつ I was playing back, also, to kind of keep him from getting a base hit and kind of overran the ball a little bit.
So I knew, I had a little motivation going into the bottom of the ninth at the plate, and I was pretty mad, but I kind of used that to my advantage.

Q.テつ What were you seeing so well off of Kowalczyk?
CASEY SMITH:テつ I think the easiest part for me was just switching to the right side.テつ I see it a lot better, nothing to it.
CHAD CLARK:テつ I was just looking for ‑‑ I was kind of laying off the slider, because he was throwing it off the plate.テつ I knew he was coming back in a fastball, like later in the game, he was working some right‑handed hitters inside and I swung at the first pitch up and in and just kind of‑‑ it was more of a reaction swing than anything else.

Q.テつ Chad, have you ever gone from the goat to the hero that quickly, and just how much relief did you feel, picking up your teammates?
CHAD CLARK:テつ That's never happened to me in my life.テつ Never had a walk‑off hit.テつ Just it feels great.テつ Feels good to help the team out again, kind of make up for my mistakes on the field.

Q.テつ Casey, your dad talked last week, if it's not easy, it's not as fun; two weeks ago Ohio State, last week in the Big Ten tournament, first walk‑off win was for the Big Ten Championship and now tonight.テつ Does this team feed off the drama as it increases exponentially?
CASEY SMITH:テつ Yeah, I'd say so.テつ I think we saw the people there, we wanted to give them a show all the way down to the last out, which we did (Laughter.).

Q.テつ Scott, four and two thirds from you tonight, what was working you out on the mound, felt like you got into a groove right away.
SCOTT EFFROSS:テつ Got out there and knew I had a job to do, keep us in the game.テつ Felt like I did that and I knew at‑bats would come around eventually like they did.テつ So I tried to mix up my pitches a lot which seemed to be working and not keep the ball down.

Q.テつ Who was here from California?
CHAD CLARK:テつ My dad, my mom and my grandma are here from California.テつ They came in last night at 1:00 AM.

Q.テつ First home run of the year, when you hit it, did you know it and when did you know it and can you describe the feeling when you hit it in?
CHAD CLARK:テつ I kind of knew it.テつ I knew I was going to smoke the ball right right when it came out of his hand because he hung the slider.テつ I knew it was coming, and then right when I hit it, I knew it, too.

Q.テつ When you come around the plate, what was that like?テつ A couple guys grabbed you and said something to you, three or four guys as you were walking to the dugout; what did those guys say and what were those moments like afterwards?
CHAD CLARK:テつ I don't really even know what they said.テつ I kind of forgot (Laughter).テつ But it was just all positive, like, I love you, stuff like that (Laughter.) Great job.テつ That was most of it.

Q.テつ Just kind of talk about the emotions from the start of the game, hosting a regional, home crowd here, how much those emotions played in, and was there a point in the game where you had to put those emotions aside and get into the flow of the game?
CASEY SMITH:テつ Yeah, you look around, it's hard not to see everything going on.テつ It's hard not to see thousands of people and where we were last year to where we are now.テつ The one thing I think this team is so good at is we don't ride on emotion.テつ I think we say pretty steady, as evident tonight with the home run late in the game.
SCOTT EFFROSS:テつ It was definitely great to see all those people.テつ We've had great fan support all year and good to see them come out to the regional.テつ Obviously there was some jitters in the beginning but we definitely settled in and were able to play our type of baseball for the rest of the regionals.
CHAD CLARK:テつ Start of the game there were definitely some nerves especially with the crowd, but as the game went on, we settled down and the bats started coming alive a little bit and we kind of played our game, and basically just kept going and kept being confident.

Q.テつ Coach always talks about you guys have become accustomed to having a target on your back; did this serve as a wake‑up call that it's post‑season time and everybody is going to bring their best?
CASEY SMITH:テつ Yeah, I think we have got a new life.テつ I think that home run helped us just push that aside, forget about it and keep moving on for tomorrow.
SCOTT EFFROSS:テつ Yeah, definitely with Chad doing what he did in the last inning, it's huge for going into tomorrow.テつ Like I said, we'll have to be more on our game tomorrow and playing Indiana baseball like we are supposed to.
CHAD CLARK:テつ Yeah, we got the kinks out this game and I think we are ready to go tomorrow.

Q.テつ When Chad comes out, does what he does, what was that like to see a guy that made a mistake forget about it and come with a good approach to the plate
テつCOACH SMITH:テつ Well, I was going to put my own context, because really, I think in fairness to him before we run with the goat‑to‑hero scenario, I mean, he really‑‑ the inning or the play that we didn't get the force at second, he was deep.テつ He was playing deep.テつ That flip never should have gone to second.
The play that‑‑ the only mistake he made in that inning in my opinion was allowing the second run to happen.テつ They were going to beat out the ball to first base on the other one.テつ So I want to be fair to him, that he wasn't the result of three runs.テつテつ To me the mistake was not keeping the ball in the infield.
But it was so funny, you can get a sense of how he is right there.テつ He's a tough guy.テつ There will be days in practice where he will do things that are the most bonehead things you've ever seen in your life.テつ And you can't stay mad at him, because you say something to him, and he looks right at you and says, "That's my fault, Coach, I won't do it again," and just kind of walk away.テつ The world we are used to now, people make excuses and do all these things.テつ And so, I'm not surprised.
He doesn't let things bother him, and again, I don't want him to go away thinking that he had to do what he did right there, because it didn't really cost us a lot that last one.テつ It was a big hit.テつ But he won't be like this on that.テつ That's just not his personality, he'll stay right here and that's what I love about that kid.テつ But I'm happy for him.テつ That was a huge, huge hit.

Q.テつ How big was it when you got from Effross, how important was it tonight?
COACH SMITH:テつ You know, they can say what they want, but I would beg to differ on their reaction to tonight and the crowd.テつ I thought we were‑‑ and my son probably said it the best:テつ He wanted to put on a show.
I felt like we were more worried about playing well for our hometown people rather than just going out and playing baseball.テつ That's all I said, are you ready now, because we were so caught up and Slegers is a perfect example of that.テつ He was around the zone and attacking the zone, and that was not him tonight.テつ I did not like what I was seeing out of him.テつ I thought he was pitching tentatively and that's not him.テつ Whether it was the nerves‑‑ I don't think he's fatigued.テつ He just wasn't sharp tonight but that's the beauty of this is he's got quality guys who come in behind him.

Q.テつ Casey's first double, against a right‑hand hitter, what did you see ‑‑ inaudible.
COACH SMITH:テつ Going back to‑‑ and I'll probably lay awake tonight, just on what I said:テつ Was it our nerves, are we too anxious; or, I'm not going to deny that that kid, he was on, and he was on tonight.テつテつ Because he had some pretty darned good hitters coming back saying, I can't see it.テつ And if you notice, we swung at a lot of‑‑ the left‑handers were swinging a lot of back‑foot breaking balls.
Casey came to me and said:テつ "I think I'll see it much better right‑handed."テつ And I actually thought about that earlier.テつ It looked like to me that our right‑handers were seeing the ball better.テつ He was on tonight and did a really good job of keeping us in check.テつ Good thing he has his mother's genetics where he can switch around like that, hit right‑handed and left‑handed.

Q.テつ Chad always plays back; what's your theory behind putting him as far back?
COACH SMITH:テつ Turf.テつ At that point, that kid struck a couple balls outside.テつ You're just trying to be as big as you can and give yourself a better percentage on an angle and that was the decision on that.
When they don't hit it with a lot of force, it makes you look silly but if he smokes one, gives you an extra better angle and keeps it in the infield right there and you throw the guy out, you look like a genius.
I'm a percentage guy and try to play those and I try to see what the hitter is doing, and that kid put some pretty good swings on to the right side and just happened to roll over that one a little bit.テつ But in my opinion, he was probably going to beat that one out, anyway.テつ The second one shouldn't happened, but certainly the first one, I think he was going to be safe.

Q.テつ You said that you were thinking about what you were going to say to the team after, what did you end up saying?
COACH SMITH:テつ And this game could be so mental, it's like golf, I always tell people, this game can give you such a wide range of emotions, and I'm human, too.
I'm sitting there the whole time, I'm frustrating internally, trying not to show it externally but I'm frustrated internally because I'm saying, we are better than what we are doing right now.テつ These guys, sometimes I think we forget, they are 17‑, 18‑year‑old kids, 20, this is the first time they have seen this and they are trying to please everybody here in their hometown.
So I was kind of running through that.テつ But one swing of the bat changed all that.テつ It was the feeling, it was kind of like, okay, monkey off the back, let's play.テつ And that was probably going to be my greatest disappointment is Webb was on but I didn't think that we were‑‑ we weren't playing our style of baseball.
We were so anxious tonight, swinging at a ton of bad pitches, but I think it was Chad that said that, that hit is going to help us.テつ And not only does it help you stay in the winner's bracket, but I think it's going to help guys relax a little bit.

Q.テつ Does this remind you of Ramos's slam in extra innings against Ohio State?テつ Do you think it's a similar thing now?
COACH SMITH:テつ Probably a little bit.テつ There's footage of it, but we had the Tyler Cox home run that was on national TV in a Big Ten tournament.テつ I can't remember the year, but it was in '08:テつ Let a ground ball go‑between his legs and in the ninth, we brought in a closer who only had one extra base hit all year and we had a walk‑off Grand Slam.テつ And I heard somebody say it; that was the Tyler Cox home run right there.テつ Some of the guys had no idea who it is.
I'm happy for Chad and I'm happy for our guys.テつ I always say, you get what you deserve, and had we lost the game, it would have been very easy for me to say we got what we deserved.テつ But the way they hung in there and fought until the last out, I think we got what we deserved.テつ Our guys stayed tough, stayed focused and they got it done when we needed to.

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