Press Conference: UVA baseball after Game 2 Super Regional win

Press Conference: UVA baseball after Game 2 Super Regional win

college world seriesVirginia Head Coach Brian O’Connor Opening Statement: “Just overall, really proud of our guys. We’ve got a veteran offensive group. I knew last night going in to today, personally, I had a really good feeling that this team would rise up today. Certainty there is a lot of talent on this ball club and they showed that today. Losing a one-run game like we did yesterday and for us to come back and [Brandon] Waddell to be as good as he was and [Artie] Lewicki in the back half. They had a great offensive day. A number of guys had multiple hits. There were four or five players in our lineup that had two or three hits. For the first half of the game, [Mike] Shawaryn, he is talented and he knows what he’s doing out there. He mixes his pitches well. We had runners on again and we just couldn’t punch them home. But that is okay. Our guys didn’t lose the confidence that they need to be successful. The back half of the game we found a way to punch those guys across and open the game up a little bit. Certainly, making the decision to go to Artie Lewicki at that point in the ballgame with runners on 1st and 2nd with a one-run lead. I made that decision because you are in a one game season right now. We’ve got a lot of confidence in Artie that he is going to go out there and throw strikes. Certainly he made three big pitches to get us out of that inning and finish the ballgame. I don’t know right now where that leaves us tomorrow. I haven’t decided yet what we are going to from that standpoint. But if you look at a stat sheet, there are a number of guys who have made starts for this ball club this year and whoever goes out and starts that game tomorrow we’ll have a tremendous amount of confidence in.

On if he thought about taking Artie Lewicki out to hold him for tomorrow: “I did not. We’ve got to win the one in front of is. We know Maryland is not going to go away and I just didn’t want to get too cute and try to create too much. Artie was throwing strikes and I felt that that is what we needed at that point. I just decided to stay with him. I really wasn’t worried about tomorrow. I know it’s about winning the series, but tomorrow we have an opportunity to show what a complete pitching staff we have.”

On the hitting performance in Game 2 versus Game 1: “As I do in most games, I go back and reflect and watch the video of the game we’ve just finished with. As I go back to Game 1, we hit a lot of balls hard right at guys. That’s the game of baseball. If we stayed with the same approach that we had in Game 1, which I thought we did, the big guy upstairs eventually rewards you with being consistent with an approach. Certainly we did today and a lot of those balls found holes.”

On the challenge the MLB Draft happening in the middle of the post-season: “I’ll tell you, it is a lot for a young person to deal with. Fortunately a lot of those players had opportunities out of high school, so they’ve dealt with it before. They’ve dealt with the hype and the drama around the draft. I don’t think we’d be sitting here today with 40-some odd wins, or however many we have and having a chance to go to Omaha if those players who were third years were not mature and did not put their team first. It is difficult because they have a dream of going to the major leagues someday and that is important to them because they worked hard for that every day. But I sent a text message to each of the individuals that went in the first round right after they got drafted. Their immediate response was, ‘Coach, that’s great, thank you, but this team has more work to do.’ So I know in the conversations that I’ve had with them throughout the year that they were prepared for this. I thought they handled it really well. Certainly it is a challenge for every ball club.”

Kenny Towns On his confidence in the hitting ability of the team: “I had a lot of confidence today. Yesterday we were really squaring the balls up, but they weren’t falling for us. Everybody did a good job of sticking to our approach today. We happened to have some of them fall for us.”

On his hitting approach in the post-season:  “I always stick to the same approach. But I just have happened to have a little more success in the post-season.”

On his double: “Well Maryland scored a half inning before that, so I was just trying to get some momentum for us. Just get on base. I happened to get a good pitch to hit and it got a good bounce in left field, allowing me to advance to third.”

Artie Lewicki On if he was surprised to come out of the bullpen to pitch today: “I wasn’t surprised. I’d been preparing. It has been awhile since I’ve come out of the pen, so I was definitely excited. I just tried to go out there and throw strikes and it worked out.”

On if he would be able to pitch tomorrow: “We’ll see tomorrow. Like Coach O’Connor said there are a bunch of guys available.”

On what he did differently today than last time he faced Maryland in the ACC Tournament: “Nothing. I was just pitching. I was just making better pitches today. The ball was finding people’s glove instead of not.”

Mike Papi On the team’s approach after yesterday’s loss: The approach that we’ve been taking all year is to move past what game has just happened for us. Even if it is a win or a loss, I feel that we take a lot from it and we learn from it. We come to the field with the same approach, just like these guys said, and just play Virginia baseball instead of worrying about if it is Game 3.”

On how they approached today after losing in the super regional last year: “Our coaching staff had so much confidence in us today. They had so much confidence that we were able to stay alive and keep our approach. Being experienced players we know that there is a lot on the line and that this could be our last game, too.”



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