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June 21, 2011

Kevin O'Sullivan

Steven Rodriguez

Preston Tucker

Karsten Whitson


Florida – 3
Vanderbilt - 1

COACH O'SULLIVAN: I thought it was a great game by both clubs. Obviously, the margin for error was very small for both sides. Kind of had an eerie feeling going into the game because we had a similar situation at Vanderbilt where they had a two run lead and got rained out and had to come back the next day. I thought both pitchers did exactly what they needed to do to give their team a chance to stay in the ballgame.
Like I said, the margin for error was very small today. A walk here, an error there, and the next thing the complexion of the game changes.
Both teams played great. Looking forward to Friday. Obviously we've got a long way to go in this thing. Whoever we play on Friday, we'll probably see their number one pitcher, so we've got a lot of work to do the next couple of days. We've got to stay focused on what we're doing and be ready to go.
This thing is long way from over, but we're awfully excited about the position we're in right now.

Q. Sully, your assessment on Steve? He looked pretty good out there.
COACH O'SULLIVAN: He did what he needed to do. He's done that a lot for us this year. He's one of those guys that he may not get the notoriety that some of the other guys do, but the guys in our locker room know how good he is and how valuable he is. I've said for a long time he's got a chance to pitch in the big leagues for a long time. Today was an extra special day to come back from last night.
Like I said, the margin for error was very small. A walk here, next thing you know the momentum changes. Very proud of the way he pitched. He needed to do that for us to win today.

Q. Steven, can you talk about your last pitch before you came here with a walk off and how you bounced back to do what you did? Also, could you talk about being out on the mound and hearing sirens going off last night?
STEVEN RODRIGUEZ: The first thing was when I came out of the Mississippi State game, I was coming in trying to do my job. That's what I tried to do. It didn't come out this my favor, but I had to forget about it and going to the next game. I can't let anything like that affect me from the day before. It's a new day, and I've just got to come out there and do my job if I get the opportunity.
Yesterday, when the sirens went off I was kind of upset because I was dealing, and I felt really good. So I was like, God, I don't need this to happen right now. I was like hopping around in the locker room trying to stay warm so I could go back out there, but it didn't happen. So I was like let's prepare for today, and go at it today, and everything came out in my favor.

Q. Steven, you've started a couple of games in your career. Did you prepare for this morning's start?
STEVEN RODRIGUEZ: Yeah, somewhat I prepared to go out as a start. But I just needed to get warmed up, ready to go like I usually do coming out of the pen. Because that's what it was basically coming down to in the last few innings. So I kind of did, but at the same time I kept my routine and kept everything the same way I usually get ready for a game.

Q. Preston, you continued a pretty impressive run. Could you talk about what's been going right and how you're feeling at the plate? Also, take us through the home run at-bat?
PRESTON TUCKER: It's a combination of things. First thing is guys in front of me are getting on base. Bryson and Nolan have been doing a good job getting on base and putting pressure on the pitcher. As for swinging the bat, I'm trying to slow things down. Get my foot down early, get my hands back on tile, and just looking for fastballs to hit and reaction to breaking balls.

Q. (Indiscernible)?
PRESTON TUCKER: I know how competitive Garvin is. He's going it to give me his best stuff. He's got a real good fastball. He's throwing his breaking ball pretty well yesterday. Every plus count he had on me, he had been throwing me breaking balls. So I was obviously I was looking for a fastball, but breaking ball I wasn't going to be surprised at all. He had thrown everything in the zone, but he left that one up a little bit.

Q. Karsten, just kind of talk about your start there. You were rolling and got a few strikeouts there early on before you got taken out?
KARSTEN WHITSON: Yeah, I felt good. I was trying to pitch low in the zone on today -- or I guess yesterday. I was trying to pitch low in the zone and trying to have quick innings. I knew it was obviously going to be a low scoring game because with both bullpens and Garvin and myself, it was just going to be a low scoring game.
I was just trying to keep us in it. My slider was a little low in the zone the first couple innings. Then I did a good job of changing my sights and bringing it up a little bit, and I was able to keep hitters off balance. Overall I felt good. I knew when Preston hit that three-run homer, I just had to put a zero on the board the next inning, which I did.
Then Sully came and got me and brought in Paco, and you can't say enough about what he did today. So it was good for him to pick me up.

Q. Kevin, could you talk a little bit about the tear that Preston's been on, and what it's like to have a hitter like that in the lineup?
COACH O'SULLIVAN: I think if you're going to to make a run in the postseason, you need a guy or two to get hot like this. You need your special players to play special, that is the bottom line, he's been able to do that for us. He's got a lot of support. I think the thing that is special about Preston and a lot of our guys is they deflect a lot of the attention from themselves. He understands when guys get on base in front of him, that it gives him the opportunity.
For us to play as well as we want to play for the rest of this tournament, we'll need special performances from our best players, as simple as that, and he's been able to do that.

Q. Coach, talk a little about your pitching in two ways. One about bringing Rodriguez back after the delay, of course. And also does this kind of roll over your pitching again? Do you start from the beginning with Randall again in your next game or do you go elsewhere?
COACH O'SULLIVAN: Well, we haven't really had a chance to talk about what's going to happen Friday. I think a little bit depends on who we play. We've got some options. At some point though I do know that we need to get Maddox into a ballgame and we need to get him going. But we've got some other options down there too. We haven't used Toledo yet. We haven't used DeSclafani, a few other guys that haven't pitched. But I think it's important to get Maddox out there at some point. And your other question some.

Q. Coming back from the delay.
COACH O'SULLIVAN: He had thrown 11 pitches, and I think the general rule, at least for us, is if he throws 30 or more, then we've got a tough decision to make. For us with him throwing 11, he threw the one pitch, obviously, in the Super Regional. He's well rested. As you can tell, he's strong and durable. There is no question we're going to run him back out there with the pitch count the way it was the night before.

Q. Talk a little about Whitson's poise and kind of the season and he's faced another first rounder and just went out there and started dealing again. He wasn't overwhelmed by the pressure at all.
COACH O'SULLIVAN: Well, I think first off, it's the College World Series. Second off, he's facing Vanderbilt who we all know is one of the best teams in the country. Third of all, he's pitching against Garvin who is a supplemental pick who obviously is SEC pitcher of the year. So there is no margin for error.
I was extremely pleased and proud of the way he pitched. The best inning for me was the first. Then when he put up a zero after we scored those three runs, he showed tremendous poise. Without his performance, I know Paco's, obviously, with his performance today, he's getting a lot of the attention. But we certainly would not have been in this position today if it wasn't for Karsten's start.

Q. Preston and Coach O'Sullivan, can you both talk about the weirdness of last night with the sirens and everything? Also, have you ever played in a game where you scored no runs on a day and advanced in such a big tournament?
PRESTON TUCKER: No, I haven't played on a day like this. But we knew that it happened at Vanderbilt. We got rained out. The main thing was we had to stay focused. We knew how easy it was to actually come back and tie the game up down by two runs just like we did at Vanderbilt. So we needed to get the last out with Esposito and get some started. We knew that Paco was going to get his best effort.
We were hoping for an extra run or two for support, but we didn't need it with his performance.
COACH O'SULLIVAN: As far as the no runs, no, I don't remember that. But like I said, the eerie thing about today was you knew they had Clinard, they had Williams, and with the two-run lead, it was going to be very difficult for us to score. That was the most uncomfortable thing is we knew the margin for error was going to be very small today.

Q. Can you talk about the luxury of when you talk about Steven and his potential of having a guy with that kind of talent to bring out of the bullpen and not have to use him as a starter because of the depth of your pitching staff and just what that allowed for you guys in a tournament like this especially when you get to the point where you're 2-0 now?
COACH O'SULLIVAN: We understand, and I said this before the season started, I knew this is probably the deepest pitching staff that I've ever been able to work with. We knew that going into the season.
Obviously, we've got a lot of options. There is a little luck along the way. You've got to get lucky with the draft a little bit. Guys had to perform up to expectations, which most of them have been able to do, but we've got a lot of options. We're balanced in the bullpen, which I think separates us maybe from most. We've got two power lefties down there in Paco, and Maronde, and we've got a couple of left-handed starters. So we can play mix and match out of the bullpen, which obviously a lot of teams don't have that luxury.

Q. Coach, your lower half of the order at one point last night was 1-12 against Garvin. What's that say about what he was able to do, and what does that say about what you guys need to do going forward?
COACH O'SULLIVAN: Well, first game we face Jungmann, and there is no consolation. Second game you face Garvin. We've seen enough of Garvin. We know what he's all about. There are a lot of good pitchers in this league. He was SEC Pitcher of the Year for a reason.
It's not a real comfortable feeling. You know you're not going to get a 5, 6, 7-run outburst on him. If he pitches like he's going to to, it's going to be a low-scoring game. That's why the start by Karsten, what Paco was able to do -- you know, each game presents different situations and different problems. This one was we had to keep him down against a really good lineup, and it's not an easy lineup to pitch to because it's right, left, right, left all the way down.
But we knew what we were in store for and I'm awfully proud of the way we handled it.

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