home jobs contact us
Our Clients:
Browse by Sport
Find us on ASAP sports on Facebook ASAP sports on Twitter
ASAP Sports RSS Subscribe to RSS
Click to go to
ASAP Sports e-Brochure View our


June 16, 2013

Mason Katz

Paul Mainieri

Aaron Nola


LSU - 1

THE MODERATOR:  Paul, give us your overview, please.
COACH MAINERI:  It was a tough, tough loss, that's for sure.  Certainly glad it's a double elimination tournament.  That would be a tough one to end the season on.  But we get another chance to play on Tuesday, and we'll get ready to do that.
We knew it was going to be this kind of game.  Their pitcher's a tough competitor.  We knew how he'd pitch us, and he did a lot of that.  He threw a lot more sliders than we expected, quite frankly, but we knew he'd try to pitch up in the zone, and we didn't lay off enough of them.  We hit too many easy fly ball outs.
And we knew Aaron would give us a chance to win.  And he did.  Unfortunately, uncharacteristically for us, we made a couple of misplaced defensively that cost us dearly.  And had we made all the plays for Aaron, they may not have scored.  We really gift wrapped the two runs that they did score.
But I thought it would take two or three runs to win this game, and we were only able to scratch across one.  And so they win and we lose.  So we'll just have to regroup, pick ourselves up by the bootstraps, and get ready for Tuesday and North Carolina.
THE MODERATOR:  Questions?

Q.  Coach, can you walk us through your thought process during Ryan's entire bat there in the ninth and obviously squared entirely and decided to go with the hit and run?
COACH MAINERI:  We were going to bunt the two times.  All year I would have had Raph hit in that situation, and he's had a propensity to hit into double plays, I think as people who follow our program know.
And I was going to go ahead and bunt.  I just figured in that situation he hadn't been really swinging the bat that great the whole game.
We gave him the bunt sign for two pitches.  And then once the count got 2‑0, I knew Mason was a very heady base runner and he wouldn't get picked off, and I figured Berg, who throws a lot of strikes, was going to have to lay one in there, assuming he was going to bunt again.
And so we decided to take a gamble there and go with the hit and run, and Raph hit it hard.  It was just really bad luck.  He hit it so hard, they were able to get the force out at second before Mason could get there and turned the double play.
So I gambled and we came up snake eyes.  I was hoping that we could end up with a big inning out of it.  That ball, I think he hit it pretty close to the line.  They must have been playing on the line.  If the ball goes down the line for a double, we're in business, maybe have a chance to win the game right there against a tough reliever.
The other thought I had was once the count got 2‑0, we were going into the bottom half of our order, and I just thought that it was worth the risk, worth the gamble and see if we could make something happen, get a runner to third base with less than two outs.  Didn't work out for us.

Q.  Coach, obviously you know Plutko is a fly ball guy, and I'm sure your approach was to‑‑ I'm curious, what was your approach?  You still had 13 fly ball outs.
COACH MAINERI:  We worked all week on it.  We set pitching machines, throwing fastballs chest high, trying to lay off of it, get on top of it.  We worked real hard on it.  I thought we had a pretty good plan ready and we just couldn't execute it.
It's a lot easier said than done.  When you get there in the game, and like I said, he threw a lot of sliders.  When he goes that fastball up, you know, it was just hard for them to lay off of it.  I think the kids were probably a little bit nervous.  We've got to remember, they're just young kids.
But I thought we'd do a better job laying off the high pitches and keeping the ball in the air.  I thought we crushed three balls as hard as we could.  Stevenson and two by Ibarra.  But we knew this ballpark, you don't hit home runs unless you pull it right down the line.
But the kids hit them as good as we could.  In our ballpark, they would have all been home runs but they weren't here.  We knew what the ballpark was going to play like, we knew how he was going to pitch us, we just couldn't get it done.

Q.  Mason, you guys have been in a lot of games like this, you've had to bounce back from not many losses but some.  How do you as one of the leaders get these guys to bounce back now?
MASON KATZ:  I don't think anybody on our team wants to go home.  That's about it.  If we lose another one, our season's over.  It's pretty simple.  I love these guys.  I want to play as long as I can with them.
So we pretty much play every game like it's our last because it potentially could be.  So it really‑‑ but that's not really a motivation.
We play this game.  We play this game of baseball because we love it and the will to win.  So we just want to go out and win every single day.  Unfortunately it didn't happen today.  Some things didn't go our way and we made a few mistakes.
But we're going to go out Tuesday and do what we do every day, compete and try to win the ballgame.

Q.  Aaron, sometimes this year you've kind of made it look easy and mowed teams down.  With as many lead‑off base runners as they got on and bunts they put down, was this as much as you've had to grind in a long time?  And how tough was it mentally?
AARON NOLA:  It was real frustrating getting that, letting that feed‑off guy get on.  But it's happened to me before throughout the year.
And I battled as hard as I could until the last pitch.  Unfortunately booted a couple of balls around.  But you just gotta forget about that and we're just going to come out Tuesday and compete.

Q.  Coach, can you talk about how much more difficult the journey is now and what do you tell your kids and how do you approach the rest of the way here?
COACH MAINERI:  Well, it would be a lot more difficult if it was a regional because there's no days off.  But all we've gotta do is focus on winning Tuesday.  We have a day off.  We've got a well‑rested bullpen.  We'll play North Carolina Tuesday hopefully win the ballgame.  And if that happens, I believe we've got another day off after that.  Then we come back on Thursday.  Then we've got to try to win another ballgame.
We know what the rules are now.  We've got to win four in a row to get through the bracket.  But if we get to Friday, Aaron will pitch another game.  So it's very doable.  You just gotta go out and play.  We've got to play better than we did tonight.  If we can do that‑‑ we can't look beyond Tuesday.  And we've got a really tough team on Tuesday.
It's what you have in this tournament.  Nothing but great teams, and there's very little margin for error.  We've got to play a little bit better.  We didn't play as well as we could.  I think all our players would probably tell you that we didn't play as well as we could tonight.
And all the credit in the world goes to UCLA.  They put a little pressure on us.  They put a bunt down.  They slapped a ball on the ground and forced us to make a couple of plays, and we just came up empty on those plays, and basically handed them a couple of runs.
And their pitchers did a good job and they made the plays, and that's why we lost.
So we've just gotta go back to playing good fundamental baseball and play better on Tuesday and hopefully get a win and get to play again on Thursday.

Q.  Mason and Aaron, how do you guys prevent this loss from becoming too mentally‑‑ the locker room is as deflated as I've ever seen it right now.  How do you bounce back from this and keep it from snowballing?
MASON KATZ:  It's been our mentality all year.  We've lost ten games this year.  You can reiterate that to the team, that we've only lost ten games.  Losses are going to happen.  And they have a few times but we've always bounced back this year relatively well.
The only time you can say is South Carolina when we didn't bounce back and we lost two in a row.  But you just flush it.  You just take every day like it's a new day.  Just because against Oklahoma, we won the first day, that didn't give us any runs on the second day.  We just flushed it and went and played a new game.  Unfortunately we lost.
But you just wash it similar to the SEC tournament.  We lost that game, flushed it, and came back and won.
So every day's a new day.  We don't have any runs on the board or taken off the board because of how bad we might have played today.  It's just every day's a new day.
AARON NOLA:  Like Mason said, you can't look ahead.  You can't look beyond Tuesday.  You're playing to win right now.  And we're going to come out Tuesday, the guys‑‑ we're not going to be down.  We're going to regroup ourselves and come out with a lot of confidence, and I know we're going to play better on Tuesday.

Q.  Mason, if you can, just talk about being one of the only guys to have figured out this park to go yard and your home run in the fourth.  I know you had some experience here last year in the home run derby.  Did that help you?  And I guess your approach hitting that home run.
MASON KATZ:  I just hit it to the right part of the park.  Pulled it all the way down the line where I knew if I hit it good, it might get out.
But this park is big.  And it's unfortunate that that's the way it plays.  We've seen a couple of balls in this tournament already.  Ibarra's, one or two of Ibarra's I thought for sure was gone.  Stevenson's had a chance.  The guy from Oregon State I thought for sure was ten rows deep.
It's a huge park but everybody's playing with it.  Yeah, maybe we have a few more power hitters than UCLA, but everybody has to adjust.
Like I was saying, Plutko is a fly ball guy.  Throws a lot up in the zone.  Has a lot of back spin on his fastball, gets a ton of fly balls, and we didn't make enough adjustments on that.  Luckily he threw me one down in the zone and i was able to keep it on the line drive and, like I said, pulled it all the way down the line.  And no, the home run derby had nothing to do with any of that.

Q.  Coach, were your hitters a little overaggressive?  Only one lead‑off guy got on base to start an inning, and they had six.  Do you think that played a part?
COACH MAINERI:  The fact they had more guys get on base than us?

Q.  Your guys were a little more aggressive.
COACH MAINERI:  I don't know if we were overaggressive.  I think we just didn't square up enough balls.  We can hit a lot better than we did today, and we just didn't square up enough.  And when we did, they were to the deepest part of the field.
But I don't think overaggressive is something that I would ever classify our guys as being.  They were going up there and they were competing, and I want them aggressive.  But just didn't work out today.  We just didn't‑‑ it's one of those days where we just couldn't square up the ball enough and come through with the hits when we needed.
We didn't have a lot of RBI opportunities.  I have to look at the box score, but when we did, we just couldn't get the big hit.  And consequently, that's why I tried to do a hit and run play, try to make something happen, try to see if we could get a break and see if we could get a guy to third base with less than two outs where it didn't take a base hit to score them.
But it just was one of those days.  We're just going to have to go back, regroup, have a nice practice tomorrow and get ready to play on Tuesday.
THE MODERATOR:  Thank you.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

About ASAP SportsFastScripts ArchiveRecent InterviewsCaptioningUpcoming EventsContact Us
FastScripts | Events Covered | Our Clients | Other Services | ASAP in the News | Site Map | Job Opportunities | Links
ASAP Sports, Inc. | T: 1.212 385 0297