Press Conference: UVA baseball after Game 1 loss

Press Conference: UVA baseball after Game 1 loss

Virginia Coach Brian O’Connor Opening Statement: “That was a great college baseball game. Unfortunately we came out on the wrong end of it, but Maryland deserves a lot of credit. [Jake] Stinnett really battled and made some big pitches with runners on. I thought offensively they had the best approach against Nathan Kirby that anybody has had all year. You have to credit them for what they did. Sometimes it comes down to a ball falling and a ball finding some grass out there. A lot of innings where we scored a run and had more runners on, guys squared the ball up. Joe McCarthy in the eighth inning squared the ball up and unfortunately, it was right at the right fielder. There were other opportunities that I thought our guys put good swings on the ball. I thought our offensive approach was pretty darn good today. That is baseball. That happens. It just didn’t drop. Guys can’t control what happens once the ball goes off the bat. All they can control is the plan they have when they go up to the batters box. I was proud of Whit Mayberry. He went out there and grinded and gave us a chance to win the ballgame. Unfortunately it just wasn’t enough.”

On losing the first game of the super regional: “This is why it is a best of three series. We’ve been in this situation on both sides. We’ve been in it where we’ve won it and we’ve been in it where we’ve lost it. We’ve got plenty of pitching to do this thing. It needs to be a quality start. It is really difficult to win this time of year unless you get a quality start – someone that can put you into the sixth or the seventh inning. I know Waddell is capable of doing that. I don’t know if there is anything learned from previous experiences. Obviously a lot of these guys were here last year when mississippi state took the first game against us. I told the players: ‘tomorrow is going to be the day.’ They’ve earned the right to be in this position and to have a chance to be playing tomorrow in the super regional.”

On Nathan Kirby’s performance: “He just didn’t look sharp to me out there. I don’t even think he looked sharp in the first and second inning. Usually his velocity is a little bit better. Usually that breaking ball is down a little bit more. Like I said, that is to Maryland’s credit. When he made pitches that were up in the zone, they capitalized on it. They did a great job. That is what you want your offensive team to do. It is disappointing. He has been our number one all year. He is as consistent as you can be. But this is why it is a team. Whit Mayberry comes in and picks him up and the other guys will tomorrow. Maybe this is how it needs to go.”

On the double play in the first inning: “I think there were a lot of situations in this game where you lose momentum. We would tack on a run and have another opportunity to maybe put a crooked number up there on the scoreboard and we just couldn’t get the hit to do it. Certainly we had Stinnett on the ropes in the first inning. Kenny Towns did a great job to barrel that ball up right to center. [Charlie] White made a great play. The teaching part of it in that scenario, you teach the player to go back and tag until you see the ball drop and then advance. It is a situation where Mike probably left a little too early and he didn’t stay in the moment and react to the play. Maybe it would have been a different story but that doesn’t take anything away from the tremendous ballgame that Maryland played and how we played the rest of the game.”

Mike Papi On what happened in the first inning during the tag-up play: “I believed that I had left the bag early, so just to reassure myself, I went back and retagged up. By that time the ball had already been coming back into the infield. He made a great throw that beat me home.”

On what this team has learned from past experiences being down 1-0 in a super regional: “As a team we’re really good at moving past things and moving on to the next day and just coming to the field with the same approach that we had today. And just playing the Virginia way.”

On leaving runners on base: ‘We got a lot of traffic on base today, which was good, especially against such a good pitcher as [Jake] Stinnett. We just couldn’t come up with that big 2-out hit. Leaving 14 guys on is really going to hurt us if we want to win a good ballgame or beat a good team like Maryland.”

Nathan Kirby On the 16 pitch at-bat in the second inning and if it affected his rhythm: “Throwing 16 pitches to one hitter is always going to be strenuous, but you have to turn the page. I made two bad pitches in the at-bat, but I also made 14 good ones. I wouldn’t say it really affected me.”

On his overall performance: “Simply put, I just left a couple balls up. Fortunately for them there were guys on base and I threw pitches that I didn’t need to throw. They had some good hits and strung together a string of good hits and got a couple runs.”

On Maryland’s approach to hitting: “I think it was just their day to hit. I had some good at-bats where I had some good pitches in there, but then they were hitting the pitches that I wasn’t making.”

On if he had trouble with his breaking ball: “Oh yeah, definitely. I left a couple pitches up and they hit them.”



Have a story idea or a news tip? Email editor Chris Graham at [email protected]. Subscribe to AFP podcasts on Apple PodcastsSpotifyPandora and YouTube.