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June 6, 2014

Monte Lee

Tim Tadlock


BLAYNE BEAL:  Good morning and welcome to the 2014 NCAA Super Regional here in Lubbock, Texas.  We're happy to have you on our campus.  Joined on the podium today are the head coach of the College of Charleston, Monte Lee, and the head coach of the Texas Tech Red Raiders, Tim Tadlock.
We'll start with an opening statement first by Coach Lee.  The College of Charleston came to the NCAA Super Regional here in Lubbock by winning the NCAA Gainesville Regional.  This is their sixth NCAA Tournament appearance in school history, and their second Super Regional appearance.  Their first was in 2006.
Coach Lee, thank you, and welcome to Lubbock, and we'll start with an opening statement.
COACH LEE:  Just really excited about being here as a coach and representing our school, the College of Charleston and our baseball program.  I know our players are just really excited about the opportunity to be here and to play in a Super Regional against an awfully good Texas Tech program.
It's been a great ride.¬† It's been something that as a head coach you sit back and you watch these kids when they come in, and you watch all the work that they put into trying to develop and develop individually and as a team.¬† Just to see their journey over the course of this year, the consistency in which we've played over the course of the year, and to get into the conference tournament and get hot at the right time which is so critical in making a post‑season run.¬† To win our conference tournament in three games and then to go into the Regional at Gainesville and to play as well as we did there to get a chance to come here is just a dream come true.
It's just one of those things that during this time of year you wake up every day as a coach and you just realize how grateful you are to be in this position.  It's something that we work really hard to achieve.  Just really excited about being here.
BLAYNE BEAL:  Now for the home team in tomorrow's game, the Texas Tech Red Raiders.  This is the tenth NCAA Tournament appearance for Texas Tech, and the first NCAA Super Regional.  Texas Tech advanced here by winning the NCAA Coral Gables Regional.  Now an opening statement from Head Coach Tim Tadlock.
COACH TADLOCK:  First of all, glad to see everybody.  Congratulations to Coach Lee and his club and his university for winning the Regional down in Gainesville.  We all follow all of them, and it looked like they played really well down there.
Secondly, I think last week we mentioned that we'd like to host a Regional at some point in Lubbock, Texas.  I don't think we knew it was going to be this soon, so I think it would be worth mentioning and thanking all the people that have made this happen.  I mean, we've got a beautiful stadium, great administration, and we're excited to have a Super Regional here in Lubbock and excited for the challenge.

Q.  (No Audio)?
COACH TADLOCK:  I would say we've been okay as far as all that goes.  We've had, I mean, we're about to practice here in about 50 minutes, and as of yesterday, felt like they were all handling it really well.

Q.  Coach Tadlock, you never really had a Friday start this year, but pitching really came to the forefront in the Miami series.  Could you talk about the development in your stats that you've seen this season?
COACH TADLOCK:  Really thought Coach Hayward and Coach Gardner and Coach Thomas just did a fine job really throughout the whole year preparing those guys.  I mean, it's kind of what you shoot for.  I mean, to be pitching good at this time of year.  You've got to give a lot of credit to those guys at the same time.  Those young men that went out there and competed really well, all of them, threw the ball well.  Really feel like, too, the ballpark played to build a pitch in it last weekend down there.  The one offensive day was Friday.  We did start that Regional on Friday.  The one offensive day was Friday, and then I would say Saturday's afternoon game.  The night game on Saturday wasn't a very offensive night.
So pitch ahead and throw strikes, change speeds, it all kind of just came together, but it all has to kind of come together as far as that goes.  Miami and Columbia both hit some balls that on an offensive day could have been out of the ballpark.

Q.  Coach, talk about the decision to go with Chris again in the opener?
COACH TADLOCK:  Well, pretty easy as far as that goes.  As you guys know, he's been the one guy throughout the spring that we've sent to the mound every week as a starter.  And really this time of the year you just want to send a guy out that you trust.  We trust all of them.  It's not that we don't trust all of them, but he seems like the right guy at the right time.  I mean, we'll see, but I guess tomorrow will tell that.

Q.  Coach, playing at home, Super Regional, what's that do for your guys on a stage that these programs aren't usually on?
COACH TADLOCK:  Well, it's what we all talk about.  We talk about playing at home in front of a good crowd in a great environment, being able to play for what we're playing for.  You talk about all those things in the recruiting process.  Don't know so much you talk about it right now as far as that goes.  As far as right now, it's a baseball game.  The bases are the same, pitcher's mound is the same, and we're going to treat it that way.

Q.  Coach Lee, you've had two established stars on top of your rotation.  Can you talk about their importance in their Regional in pulling out that upset win, and what you see them going forward for the Super Regional?
COACH LEE:¬† Our starting pitching has been our strength all year long.¬† We didn't know going into the season how we'd be starting pitching‑wise.¬† We'd lost 70% of our innings from the year before.¬† We had a transfer in, Taylor Clarke and then two freshmen, in Bailey Ober and Tyler Thornton.¬† The thing about those guys is they've just been very consistent.
I think one of the keys in winning at any level in baseball is the quality of start.¬† How many quality starts do you get over the course of the year?¬† Our guys tend to give us a quality start.¬† I think that's been the biggest thing.¬† Coach Tadlock talked about it just a minute ago, that they throw strikes.¬† Our guys throw strikes.¬† We challenge hitters and we move our fastball around and change speeds a little bit, and we pitch to contact.¬† I think that's a big factor and why we've been respectful.¬† We were able to get into the sixth and seventh inning, sometimes into the eighth inning.¬† We've been pretty consistent week‑in and week‑out in doing that.¬† Those guys have done a good job.

Q.  Coach Lee, you guys have really played the underdog with the 4 seed.  How much have your guys embraced that?  Then for Coach Tadlock, you guys go from an underdog to a favorite in this one.  How do your guys switch gears like that?
COACH LEE:¬† I don't know.¬† I don't know if I would say we feel like we're an underdog, so to speak, and Coach Tadlock talked about it already.¬† It's a baseball game.¬† We know what's at stake.¬† We know when we go to a Regional out of Florida and we play against Florida, they're supposed to beat us and in their ballpark.¬† We know that playing here this weekend in front of 4,000‑plus Red Raider fans against a great ballclub, that it's going to be a very tough challenge.
I think the big thing for us is we've got to stay consistent.  We've got to stay loose, have fun.  There's going to be some nerves, I'm sure, when they see that big crowd and such a beautiful ballpark against a very good ballclub.  But after a few pitches are thrown, hopefully our guys relax and just go play baseball.  I think that is the big key is just playing baseball, staying consistent.  I'm going to try to be as consistent as I can be to help them.  But it's ultimately up to them.
As far as the underdog role, I don't know at this point in time if it plays that big of a role.  I think it's just a matter of staying consistent and having the proper mindset going into Game 1.
COACH TADLOCK:  I would say first, I've got a lot of respect for anybody that puts on the uniform in a game.  I don't think we've ever really lined up and said, hey, they've got this on their jersey or they're the underdog or we're supposed to win.  We just try to play each pitch the best we can and play.  They play good baseball in SouthCarolina.  I don't know if you guys know that, but they definitely do.  And Coach Lee has been doing a good job for a long time.

Q.¬† Coach Tadlock, offense kind of struggled in Miami, but your pitching staff really came through.¬† Now you're facing another tough pitching match‑up with the College of Charleston.¬† Just talk about the confidence that the pitching staff can give the hitters by knowing the fact that they're going to go out and get the job done?
COACH TADLOCK:  It all goes hand in hand.  I think you could say that either way.  A pitcher goes out and throws up goose eggs and it makes it easier for the hitters or the hitters can go out and get some runs and it makes it easier for the pitcher, or pitcher is throwing strikes and guys are going to get balls and making some plays.  So it depends on who the guy is on the mound and what day it is how all that works.
But all of us just want to go out and play the game the right way and respect the game.  As far as the confidence goes, I'm sure Coach Lee has got his guys, and we've all had our guys, where you go out and get them some runs and they all of a sudden get better.  I think that's pretty much the question you're asking.  That wasn't necessarily the case last week for us by any means.  They were good ballgames right up until the end.  You just kind of got to go with it.

Q.  Long trip, bigger stage, how have your guys handled this?  I saw the shirts, but how was the travel, and how are they handling being on this stage?
COACH LEE:  Well, I think the big thing that I try to preach to our guys, especially our seniors every year is it's their team.  It really is.  It's their team.  The leadership that we've only got five seniors, but the leadership that they give us is just incredible.
The travel part of it hasn't been tough.  I mean, we know that every stop along the way, where we're trying to get and what we're trying to do, and let's enjoy it and do it together, and hopefully our seniors and older guys will lead the younger guys and get everybody going in the right direction.
So it's just, again, we're just really excited about being here.  We know that this doesn't come around or hasn't come around all that often, even though we've been to six regionals in, I guess, the last decade or since 2005, and this is our second trip to a Super Regional.  So the program has done some big things, but every year is different, every team's different.  This group of guys just has a lot of chemistry.  They play the game like it's a little league game a lot of days.  They just go out and play and have fun and try to win.  They don't worry about stats.  They don't worry about individual accolades.  They just go play and have fun, and I hope they do that this weekend.
We all know what's at stake.  That goes without saying.  I just hope our guys just stay loose and enjoy it, and go compete.  That's all I can ask for them.  Just play the game hard and compete and do it the right way and let's see what happens.

Q.  How were the shirts?
COACH LEE:  We did great.  We all had the wear the Hawaiian shirt on the way out.  Our senior captain wanted to wear the Hawaiian shirts.  We usually wear this shirt, the black block C, and we look the same because we're a team.  I even had to go to JC Penney and buy one myself.  I've never owned a Hawaiian shirt.  But, again, it was just a symbol of their commitment to doing things together, and that they've got some personality about them and that's a good thing for a ballclub.
BLAYNE BEAL:  Coaches, thank you for taking your time to be here today and best of luck this weekend.

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