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June 13, 2014
THE MODERATOR:Â This morning we are joined by the four teams that will play on Sunday, from left to right, with over 500 victories in his career and having the distinction of leading the 2013 USA Collegiate National Team, making his second appearance at the college World Series, TCU head coach Jim Schlossnagle.Â Continuing to the left, in just his second season at the helm of the Red Raiders, he led Texas Tech to a 45‑19 record this season to win the college Hall of Fame Skip Bertman National Coach of the Year Honor, Texas Tech head coach Tim Tadlock.Â Boasting the third highest winning percentage of all coaches at 74 percent of all active coaches, our third coach is a two‑time national coach of the year and four‑time ACC recipient, Virginia head coach Brian O'Connor.Â And finally, on the far left, in his 14th season as the leader of Ole Miss, Coach Bianco has amassed over 500 victories for the rebels.Â After reaching the college World Series as a player in 1989 he guided Ole Miss to their first appearance here at the college World Series since 1972, head coach Mike Bianco.Â We'll ask for opening statements.
JIM SCHLOSSNAGLE:Â Really excited to be here and the college World Series.Â Obviously this is a dream of every player and coach, the pearly gates of college baseball as I like to call it.Â We were here last in 2010 in the last year of Rosenblatt Stadium, so really looking forward to the experience with the new stadium and what everything around the downtown area is going to be like.Â It's an honor to be up here with these three other coaches, three guys that I've known for a long time, and run the roads with as assistant coaches.Â Coach Bianco and I spent all last summer together with the USA National Team.Â It's a great honor.Â Our players, fans and everybody in Fort Worth, Texas, is excited, and looking forward to beginning play.
TIM TADLOCK:Â First of all, I'd like to congratulate all the universities that are here, TCU, Virginia and Ole Miss, and all the other clubs that are in the other side of the bracket and everybody's administration.Â It's a neat deal to be here, and we're excited about the challenge and the competition.Â Of course we want to thank all the people back home in Lubbock.Â It's been a neat time back there here the last couple weeks, and we're looking forward to competing this week.
BRIAN O'CONNOR:Â I'll tell you that we're certainly very honored to be here, be back in Omaha.Â I know these gentlemen that are sitting at the table with me can contest that it's really difficult to get here.Â You know, and the other four coaches that are here and the teams that are here, it's a tremendous challenge to get to Omaha.Â There's a lot of teams that their seasons are over, and we all understand how difficult of a journey it is throughout the season, but then when you get into postseason play, to do what it takes to get here, not only do you have to have a good baseball team, you also have to have a little bit of good fortune.Â We're certainly very honored to be back here.Â We'd like to‑‑ our University would like to thank everybody in the city of Omaha for their hospitality.Â This is, as I say, the greatest college sporting event out there because it takes place over a two‑week period, and the people in the city of Omaha wrap their arms around this event, and we couldn't be happier to be here, and we look forward to getting out there and playing some good baseball.
MIKE BIANCO:Â Like the other coaches said, excited and honored to be here.Â Congratulations to all the coaches, the three here, and of course the four in the other bracket.Â As Brian just said, we were joking outside before we walked in here, and I've said, and our beat writers have heard me say this several times, that the road to Omaha isn't a straight one.Â It's very windy and bumpy and nobody knows that more than we do.Â This is our fifth super regional and finally punched our ticket here.Â We're excited to be here.Â I joked about that my days at LSU as an assistant in the '90s how easy Skip Bertman made it look to get here and all those great LSU teams.Â When I got to Ole Miss, I thought I had the blueprint.Â Once you got to Omaha, this is what you do.Â Unfortunately it took 14 years, and heck, they don't even play in the same stadium anymore.
That blueprint isn't as good as it once was, but again, we're honored and excited to be here and can't wait for it to get started.
Q.Â Coach Schlossnagle, Mike talked about not having been here in a long time, and he said he called you and Dan McDonnell to ask about Omaha and just structure and routine.Â What did you tell him?
JIM SCHLOSSNAGLE:Â You know, not that I have a tremendous amount of experience here, one time as an assistant coach in 2001 and then in 2010.Â My only advice to anybody, I'll give the same advice I gave to our team, is I feel like as Brian said, it's so very hard to get here.Â I think some people try to make the guys just completely lock in on baseball, which that's why we're here, but at the same time I think we're foolish to not think that they're not going to want to enjoy the other days.Â So I've challenged my team to have a split personality, and on days like today where there's an opportunity, other than your practice time, to be a fan, you really need to enjoy being a fan.Â And when there's days for baseball, you need to be locked into baseball.
I think it's possible to do that.Â I think for us to think that that's not going to happen is foolish, and we're cutting those guys short because it's so hard to get here, so that would be my advice.Â But he's been here way more times than I have.Â I probably need to ask him.
Q.Â Coach Tadlock, I know you like to focus on one game at a time, but can you talk about what an honor it is to win the Skip Bertman coach of the year this morning?
TIM TADLOCK:Â Well, first of all, I think our league deserves a little bit of recognition for that.Â I probably should have said that in the opening deal.Â We've got a really good league and some really good coaches in our league, good assistant coaches in our league, and then our league kind of put us in position to do that by being able to get into postseason and be able to kind of get on a run.
Got really good people around us.Â I mean, Coach Hayward and Coach Gardner, Coach Thomas, our operations guy and coaches, and our whole administration, and really just top to bottom.Â We've got a really good group of people, and pretty big‑‑ I'm a small part of the deal, and just really thankful to be here.
Q.Â Mike, you talked about kind of the road to get here.Â What was it like when you finally got here for you personally?
MIKE BIANCO:Â You know, a lot has been asked of that, and certainly a ton of emotions, a Monday night, and fortunate to have most of my family there and just a great moment.Â But the thing I think that touched me the most is to watch the kids run out on the field and dog pile, and it was a neat thing.Â And then another cool thing that I didn't really put together until later, the first two guys that I touched, Stephen Head and Jordan Henry, which are both assistant coaches, ran up and hugged me, and both of those guys had been in the dugout but on the bad end of that Game 3 in the super regional, Head in '05 when we lost to Texas at home, and Jordan Henry when we lost to Brian's team in '09, so it was kind of a neat moment, because when you get there, I think all coaches would attest that it's really for everyone.Â A lot of guys that were great players and great teams that‑‑ and the truth of the matter in my opinion, a lot of them deserved to go, but unfortunately they didn't because the other team played better than them, and as Brian said, it's a tough road.Â A lot of emotions, but a lot has been said about me and getting there, but I'm just super proud of this team.
Q.Â First of all, congratulations to all the coaches, best of luck here in Omaha.Â This is for all the coaches.Â Could you talk a little bit about the personnel of your team defensively?Â This ballpark sometimes plays big.Â There's been a lot of talk about teams going through their conference tournaments, regionals and supers and getting here by playing good defense, and I think that can be a big story, your defense.Â What's your defense all about?
BRIAN O'CONNOR:Â I think our defense is one of the real strong points of our ballclub.Â We had won 50 ballgames last year, and as I'm sure these guys do, too, after the season is over you sit back and assess your club moving into next year and where can we get better.Â Our defense was an area that I thought we needed to improve from last year, and we did.Â I think we have a really skilled infield defense, and we have three outfielders that can run and go get it and cover some territory.Â It's an area that's really important to us, and I think we've done a pretty good job with it all year.
JIM SCHLOSSNAGLE:Â Yeah, I think anybody who has seen our team play realizes that we have to be an opportunistic offense, therefore that puts as much pressure on our pitching and defense as anybody possibly can.Â Our ballpark, as Coach Tadlock and Coach Bianco can attest, plays very similar to this place.Â It's big.Â The wind blows in most days out of the south.Â So pitching and defense are at a premium.
I think our catcher, our center fielder are pretty elite defensive players in the infield we have to catch the balls that we get our hands on.Â I don't think we have tremendous range, but we just have to play sound baseball, and obviously part of that is throwing strikes and playing great defense.
MIKE BIANCO:Â As you said in your question, I don't think you get to this point unless you can catch it in college baseball.Â Much has been said about the bats and the lack of offense, so I don't think you get to this point unless you pitch and play defense.
It's not the best defensive club we've ever had, but we're solid.Â We're solid in the infield.Â Will Allen has had a tremendous year behind the plate for us.Â But it might be the best defensive outfield, which is more‑‑ I think will play more‑‑ make the difference in this park.Â The fastest outfield we've ever had, and guys that have just made plays.Â I laughed early in the season, Braxton Lee in left field has made more diving catches in one year than our program since we've been here.Â Him and Boz out in center field and either Woodman in Jamison in right field, not a guy runs slower than a 6‑6 in the outfield, and hopefully that'll make a little bit of difference.
TIM TADLOCK:Â We've been pretty decent for the most part pitching and catching it.Â We've had a bunch of guys in and out of the lineup.Â We had a shortstop that was out for about 20 games, had an outfielder who was out about the same amount.Â But for the most part we've been able to put a club out there that can pitch it and catch it if we need to, and also we've taken some risks some days and gone with a little more we call it the big package at certain times, which I don't know if you can get away with here at Rosenblatt with the spacious outfield.Â But in our ballpark at home and even at Coach Schlossnagle's, there's certain days with the wind blowing the ball hangs up a little more, and really playing defense, you've got to give something to get something, and we try to put guys in the right spot the best we can, and I mean, all that can go out the window real easy if you're not locating the pitch.Â So it all really comes back to that bump out there in the middle of the field.
Q.Â Coach O'Connor, about your pitching staff, you talked about defense.Â This is a great regional, this side of the regional from a pitching standpoint.Â Talk about your success with your staff this year.
BRIAN O'CONNOR:Â Well, I'll tell you, coming into the season, there was certainly some uncertainty about our staff.Â I felt like we had a lot of talent.Â There was a lot of skill on the staff, but there wasn't a lot of experience because what we had lost from the year before.
But I'll tell you, it took shape really, really quickly.Â Nathan Kirby has been our No.1 all year long, and he's been tremendous, and Brandon Waddell has been in the rotation all year, and he's done a nice job, too.Â Josh Sborz and Artie Lewicki have both spent time in our rotation.
I think our pitching staff is talented.Â I think the depth is really good.Â I think we're pretty good at the end of the game with Nick Howard and some other guys we can bring in before him.Â It's been very, very consistent for us from start to finish.
Q.Â Obviously the hot topic in baseball this spring, especially at the pro level, has been the arm injuries.Â I'd be curious in getting two or three of you to chime in on what you think is the primary cause for the recent rash of pitching injuries and also maybe what to do about it.
JIM SCHLOSSNAGLE:Â You know, it's such a broad topic.Â I think it's going to be different for each injury.Â You can probably come up with a reason or an excuse as it goes across the board.Â Everybody wants to point to strength and conditioning or they want to point to too much baseball or too much pitching.Â You know, I think it's tough to answer.Â If I had to pick one thing, I would say that I heard somebody say, the MLB Channel did a neat special on it, that there's a whole lot of pitching and there's not a whole lot of throwing.Â My son is in this room, and I know he plays a fair amount of baseball, but there's not a lot of‑‑ there's a lot of organized play.Â There's not a lot of disorganized play, and I think if we had more disorganized play where guys were just playing catch, maybe their arms would be in better shape.
I do believe that college baseball coaches across the board take care of pitchers much better than we get credit for, and I think as you have in any profession, there's always going to be a handful of guys that they manage their club in a different way, and that's their right, and sometimes that gives a bad rap to the people who don't do that.Â But I think there's a lot of people out there that write things that are very, very uninformed, specifically about college baseball.
MIKE BIANCO:Â I was hoping they'd pick one of the smart guys.Â I don't know, I'm sure like Jim said, there's certainly a lot of reasons for it, and I don't know if there's one.Â But the one that I think is the biggest difference now than anything, it's not about a college coach pitching a guy on short rest, I think as Jim said, we are more conscious of it and you guys are more conscious of it and have a lot more information as reporters.Â I don't think that's the case.Â I think the biggest difference in my mind is when you look at youth league baseball, when I played youth league baseball you could pitch six innings a week, and you pitched once a week, and that was it, and you played for about 10 weeks, you played an All‑Star tournament and it was over, and then you went and played football, then you went and played basketball or soccer or something else and then you played baseball again.
These kids starting at eight, nine years old play year‑round in the tournaments because of the money that people make off the tournaments, allow all these teams, 50, 60, 70 teams and now you're allowed to pitch 12 innings in a week or nine innings, and if you pitch three or less you don't need a day off.Â If I pitch Lance Lynn three innings every single day for four days, that would be insane, but they do that to these young kids all the time, and they do it all year long.
I don't know if that's it, but that's the biggest difference I think now.Â It's not the strength training.Â It's not college coaches pitching them more or high school coaches.Â I think these kids from the age of 10 years old pitch so many more innings than I or anybody ever did growing up.
Q.Â I'm thinking about the question of you, Mike, and the blueprint.Â I've been able to be at 61 of 64 college World Series here.Â Wow, what a difference.Â Players and process and the parity issues, back in 1950, '51 to '60, USC would be here and Arizona and Arizona State.Â So how are players different in say the last 10 years, if at all, to today?Â And then just the process of the 64‑team regional, how do you retain your energy by the time you get here?
TIM TADLOCK:Â The last part of that question you said how do you retain your energy?Â Is that what you said?Â When you get here?Â Was that what the end of the question was?Â We don't have any problem with energy.Â We try to manage that the best we can, and I'm sure anybody‑‑ any team that's gotten here to this point is pretty good at that as far as that goes.
As far as parity in college baseball, you know, it's interesting, you look across the country and it's just really interesting to me that if you get in, you've really got a really good chance of getting in.Â But the easiest way to explain it for me is there's a lot of good baseball guys out there working really hard.Â There's a lot of guys that aren't here.Â There's a lot of good baseball people that aren't in college baseball, that are in all kinds of professions.Â But when you line up, and right now in Division I baseball, junior college baseball, there's guys working their tail off across the country.
Now, the interesting part about the parity discussion to me is when you start really looking at the different states and what's really out there amongst the different states, and that's a whole different topic.
Most of us I want to say‑‑ I mean, you're talking about a private school here, so it's about as hard as it gets as far as at a private school, and then you talk a big school, all state universities as far as that goes.Â But each state has its different limits and boundaries on what they can do with scholarships.Â So the parity deal is we could talk about it a long time.Â I think all of us could sit down and have dinner and say we'd like to have those in‑state deals that don't count against 11‑7.Â But we don't have them, and that's the cards you're dealt.
The simplest thing is, though, what your question is, the simplest thing is there's a lot of people out there working really hard, and that's why you have the equal balance across college baseball.Â I mean, you don't get to this point‑‑ you don't get to postseason without working hard and without doing things the right way.Â We don't have enough time to talk about the parity deal.
Q.Â Tim and Jim, the state of Texas has three teams here.Â What does that say about the state of baseball in Texas, and Big 12 had sort of a down year last year and four teams were two games away from being here?Â Do you think the Big 12 is as good as any conference in the country?
TIM TADLOCK:Â I think on any given day, I think our league, we've said across the board, we can play with anybody.Â At the same time I think that's probably the case in a lot of leagues.Â I think our league on any given day, though, can play baseball with anybody.Â I think we had a really good year this year in our league.Â I think Tim Wisner, I think Bob Burda do a great job with our league.Â I think baseball is important to the Big 12.
I think it's a neat recognition for us to have three teams here and almost had four here and could real easy‑‑ there could have been another team get hot and maybe got here.
But really to get three here is quite an accomplishment.Â It's something that's neat for the state of Texas.Â There's some really good teams in the state of Texas that aren't here, and he and I know that, and these guys know that.Â There's guys out there on the road right now trying to beat us next year.Â I can assure you right now they're trying to roundup some guys and put together a competitive team.Â We all really enjoy that competition, and we all get along.Â It's a neat fraternity of people and just a neat time.
JIM SCHLOSSNAGLE:Â I think regarding our league, this is only our second year in the conference, in the Big 12, but what's unique about this scenario this year is the three teams that are in Omaha finished 7th, 8th and 9th in the conference last year.Â It was a great turnaround for our conference.
Again, we've been touting the qualities of our league all season, and for me, and again, no disrespect‑‑ I grew up in western Maryland in the heart of ACC country and I cut my teeth as an assistant coach in New Orleans in the heart of SEC country so I know how great these leagues are.Â I know everything we've been talking about all year showed itself on the field of play.
With regard to the state of Texas, there are so many good players.Â I know Brian has a guy on his team from Texas, at least one, and Mike, you, as well, but I know he's come in and pill handled our state before.Â But there's so many good players and so many good teams, whether it be the big schools like Tech and Texas and A&M or Dallas Baptist is phenomenally talented, probably have a top 15 team next year.Â There's so many good players, and it eventually showed itself on the field.
Q.Â Coach O'Connor and Coach Bianco, you guys have a little bit of somewhat recent postseason history.Â Does that play at all into the preparation for your game or has too much time passed?
BRIAN O'CONNOR:Â I personally don't think it plays into anything.Â Those were different teams, different players, so nothing that we've done in the past with regards to Ole Miss I think factors in at all into Sunday night.Â We know the kind of program Ole Miss has.Â We know how talented their players are.Â Our team is different than those past teams, and I'm sure for coach it's the same.
MIKE BIANCO:Â Yeah, I don't think we have anybody on the roster, do we?Â It would have to be somebody that red shirted or something.Â It was so long ago that I don't think it‑‑ to the fans and to you guys‑‑ is there anybody‑‑ Allen and all those guys weren't on that team, so it would have to be a red shirt guy, so the answer is no.
Q.Â Coach Bianco, going back to that series in '09, could you get a sense, that was Virginia's first super regional and obviously going to the first college World Series.Â Did you get a sense that was a program on the rise, and this is their third trip since that time?
MIKE BIANCO:Â Again, a long time ago, but they were terrific.Â I remember back where we were matched up with‑‑ we probably got home because Strasburg didn't win, so I don't know which one would have been better.Â But Virginia came in and played great.Â We won the first game in extra innings.Â We had one of those dramatic walk‑off home runs, but then the next two games were very close and they played very well and deserved to win.Â It was one of those things where you could see what a great job‑‑ and I don't know their history as much, but you'd heard all the wins and all the success that Brian had had up there, and they were kind of like us, one of the‑‑ this year one of those teams is going to break through and get to Omaha.Â Unfortunately for us, it was them, but they were terrific, and really terrific since then, and of course we played them in 2010 and kind of watched them through the years.
I think probably back to your question, once you play them, you recognize them more.Â I think when you see them in a regional or super regional, watch them go to Omaha, I think for the fans and even for the coaches and players you remember back to that series.Â Not that it's significant now, but you're probably more aware of their success and certainly they've been tremendous, and Brian has done a great job there.
Q.Â Brian, last year in the super regionals against Mississippi State, sometimes it seemed like the players were making some uncharacteristic errors in the field.Â How did that experience for a young team help them grow this year in the super regionals?
BRIAN O'CONNOR:Â I think it helped a lot.Â Part of that was Mississippi state.Â They came to Charlottesville for the super regional last year, and they just played lights out and put a lot of pressure on us, and we quite frankly didn't handle it real well.
I think any time you can have the experience that they did have last year, you get a chance to be better the next time out.Â So almost all those players were on that club last year, and so we got to that point again this year in the super regional, and they figured it out and played really good, consistent baseball.
Q.Â Coach O'Connor, as you know, I was at Virginia back in the mid '90s and had kind of a magical season and made the NCAAs, but I remember the old football field and you could see the astroturf and then watching your team this week in the great stadium, if you could highlight three key elements that have helped you build the program at Virginia for those of us‑‑ maybe three key things.
BRIAN O'CONNOR:Â Wow, Pete.Â I think I'll say what Tim said:Â Pitching, pitching, pitching.Â Are we done?Â No.
You know, I would say certainly first it starts with putting a good coaching staff together.Â You know, I think for any of us up here, it's so important who you surround yourself with, and I've been very, very fortunate to have two outstanding assistant coaches that have been with us for 11 years, so I think it starts with that, Pete, on putting a good staff together that's hard‑working and knows what they're doing.
Then I'd say recruiting the right young men to compete for you and represent your program, and that's an area that we feel like we've had quite a bit of success with.
And then the third thing I'd say is player development.Â You know, you have those coaches, you recruit the right young men, and then you have to develop them.Â I'm really proud of what we've done there from a player development standpoint, and the players coming there and getting better and moving on to professional baseball, but during their time at Virginia helping us win a lot of ballgames.
Q.Â Coach Tadlock and Coach Schlossnagle, given the quality arms on both of your staffs, can you talk about the challenge of going up against someone for a fifth time, particularly Sadberry and Finnegan?
JIM SCHLOSSNAGLE:Â I haven't announced the starting pitcher yet.Â I've said all year long that Tech's pitching staff is I don't know if underrated is the right word, but we've been very aware of how talented they are, not just Sadberry.Â I think he's the guy that started the most games on the weekend for them.Â I have phenomenal respect for them, as well, but mostly their bullpen, Jonny Drozd and Cam Smith, those guys seem like all‑time pitchers.Â They come in the game in the second inning or they can start a game as Smith did in the regional or they can close a game.
Tim's team is very, very deep.Â His pitching staff is a pitching staff that I really like because they can do a lot of different things relative to who they're playing or whatever the matchup is at home plate.
Honestly with that pitching staff, he probably shouldn't lose a game here.
TIM TADLOCK:Â Can we compare numbers now?Â Because they say numbers don't lie, right?Â His staff obviously with Finnegan and Alexander and Morrison and Kipper and Farrell, and just keep going down the list.Â You've got just good arm after good arm.Â It's really impressive what kind of staff they've put together.Â Obviously we know whoever they name, we've got our hands full as far as that goes.Â All those guys, again, kind of like what he said about our guys, he's got a power guy in the left‑hander in Finnegan and then Morrison is kind of‑‑ how do you explain Morrison?Â I don't know really how you explain him other than he can really pitch and he has a lot of deception, and then Alexander has done a great job in his first year.Â In the Big 12 for a young man to go out on Sundays as win as many games as he did, I think he threw two complete games there late for him and probably clinched the regional and I think also the Big 12 tournament.Â Really proud of that young man.Â You get to know these guys, and just proud of him at that point and all of them, really.Â Other than Morrison, I guess which kind of run into all of them, Finnegan and I don't think we ran into Farrell, he got there before us.Â But all those guys, I mean, you're just proud of them.Â They've done a really good job for them.
But we're looking forward to the challenge.Â At this point in the year, whoever you face, they're going to have some pitching.Â But I do think you've got to go back and look at the numbers, because the deal about not losing a game, I don't know about all that carrying on.
Q.Â Coach Bianco, you joked about having that blueprint from Skip in the last 14 years.Â It's been such a long time.Â Is there anything timeless from that approach, that blueprint, that you did learn from Skip in your time in Omaha with him?
MIKE BIANCO:Â I think going back to what Jim said and talking to Dan and talking to Coach Bertman after the super regional, I think you've got to try to find that mix of yeah, you want them to enjoy it, you want them to take it in, you want them to be loose, but you've also got to be able to lock in, and that's important.Â You're playing the best teams in the country, and you've got to be at your best and you've got to play your best, and in our game it's not necessarily about the most talented team, it's the team that plays the best, and can you do that here.
I think another thing that is not talked about much, it's so much different than any baseball tournament that you've ever played in, that you play in, win or lose, you get a day off where you come in on Thursday and you don't play until Sunday night, it's not your normal setting for them.Â They're either used to a three‑game series or a conference tournament or a regional where you play every single day, sometimes you play double headers.Â There's a lot of free time.Â So I think it's a challenge to keep them locked in at certain points, but I think that's the challenge for everyone.
Q.Â Since you brought up starting pitchers, I'll give you a venue here if you each want to announce who you're pitching on Saturday and Sunday.
BRIAN O'CONNOR:Â We will start Nathan Kirby.
JIM SCHLOSSNAGLE:Â Preston Morrison will pitch.
TIM TADLOCK:Â Chris Sadberry.
BRIAN O'CONNOR:Â Chris Ellis.
THE MODERATOR:Â I'm really surprised one of you didn't say TBA.
Q.Â That question about the format being that you come in Thursday, some of you don't play until Sunday night, it's a question of comfort zone.Â How do you get the guys comfortable, and it really is in some ways an uncomfortable world.Â Not that it's bad, it's just different, new.Â I just wonder how you‑‑ because I believe that getting comfortable quickly is going to be so critically important to playing physically, technically well.
JIM SCHLOSSNAGLE:Â Well, you know, I think we all‑‑ I think Tim did the same thing.Â As soon as we got off the plane, we came straight to the stadium, try and knock off some of the edge of that anxiety or just desire to see your surroundings, that kind of thing.Â Get in as much of a normal routine as you possibly can, whether it be the time you have team breakfast, the time you meet on your scouting report if you do that, just get in your general routine to get them as close to it as you possibly can.Â It's not going to be the same as the regular season or even the last two weeks, like Mike said.Â But just‑‑ I think we talk the mental game all year, and they're told at the beginning of the season that a ground ball hit at Lupton Stadium in Fort Worth is the same ball that's hit at TD Ameritrade Park, it's just a ground ball, and the only thing that's different is what's outside.Â Whether it be your pregame routine, your pre‑pitch routine or how you're going to flush something that's negative, if you practice those things all year long and you trust them and you talk about them, then when you get to this situation, that's what you're going to rely on.
Q.Â Mike, you said earlier this week that you were kind of undecided about Chris or Christian for Sunday.Â Why Chris?Â Was it a difficult decision?
MIKE BIANCO:Â No, I just wanted to make sure because at the time that all you guys wanted to know, we hadn't looked at anything from Virginia, and so at the end of the day, he's been our ace, he's been our ace all year long, and I just thought it didn't make sense to rearrange the rotation for that, to just keep them in their normal rest.
The other thing was that Chris warmed up on Monday, and so wanted to make sure that he was okay.Â He had a short outing on Saturday, and before we had that big ninth inning, he warmed up just in case we needed him to finish the game.Â I wanted to make sure that he was okay, and he hadn't thrown since then.
It was really not just to throw a name out there and then the next thing have to pull it off.Â We just wanted to make sure, but I think from that point forward, we knew we'd go with Chris.
Q.Â Can you talk about the decision to go to Preston over a guy like Finnegan and your thought process there?
JIM SCHLOSSNAGLE:Â You know, to me just‑‑ Brandon is‑‑ they've both pitched the opening game of series.Â Morrison pitched on Friday night, almost all of last year.Â He's the Big 12 pitcher of the year.Â He kind of does unique things, as Tim mentioned, and Brandon is a completely different pitcher.
For us it's more about where we think guys match up with the teams that are in our bracket and how guys are pitching lately.Â Again, really at this level, they're really interchangeable and just feel like right now that's the way we're going to go, with Preston.
Q.Â For Tim, with this being Tech's first time to come to Omaha, do you have any stories you've heard from fans or people organizing their way to get up here to see you and looking for tickets, things like that?
TIM TADLOCK:Â Well, definitely tickets has been a little bit of an issue.Â A bunch of stories, I don't know if we've had a bunch of time for me to hear of all the stories.Â I know there's‑‑ I know a bunch of the coaches are coming, a bunch of the administration are coming.Â How they're getting here, I was actually wondering that about a couple hours ago and was wondering if I needed to share parking passes.Â We were talking about that pulling in here.
Tickets are‑‑ just like these guys, you can't come up with enough tickets for people.
THE MODERATOR:Â We'd like to thank the coaches for coming.Â If you have individual questions, please contact the sports information director for the four institutions that are here.Â Our next press conference will be the state of baseball.
FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports