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Press Conference: UVA headed to the College World Series

college world seriesVirginia Head Coach Brian O’Connor

Opening Statement: “Really just so proud of this group of young men. Not too many teams get the opportunity to start the season out as the number one team in the country and then put yourself in the position where you’re one game away from Omaha to advance. I’m just so proud of this team because I think they handled the expectations prior to the season about as good as any club can. In this ballgame, certainly our offensive output was outstanding. Much was made of our offensive ball club before this season started. There were some games where it didn’t go so well and it wasn’t easy, and we won a lot of close ballgames. Certainly the last two weeks, this offensive team showed what it was capable of doing.”

On the pitching performance in Josh Sborz: I had complete confidence in Josh Sborz going out there today. That guy has really electric stuff. After he settled down after the first inning he was absolutely in control for seven innings. I think there is something about him. Here he is our number two starter all year long and going in to the final ACC weekend against Wake Forest, we changed things up a little bit and brought Artie Lewicki in there. Josh hadn’t started in three weeks and hadn’t really pitched much at all in three weeks. When his team needed him the most, he stepped up and was absolutely dominate for seven innings. I’m just so proud of this team. I think this is a team that is built to win in Omaha and I think they understand what it takes to be very successful there. They will be focused. They’ll enjoy this victory tonight certainly, but tomorrow we’ll turn our attention to our next opponent. I think in all phases of the game, this team is pretty special. I’m excited to see them go out to Omaha and compete for a national championship.

On if making it to the College World Series feels different for the third time: “I’ll tell you it feels better without the drama. 2011 was absolutely gut wrenching how we won that one. They are all special because every team’s different. Every team’s journey to get to this point is different. Every team deals with different things throughout the season. This is a collection of young men where you have some freshmen that are stepping in for you, like Daniel Pinero, and other guys that are talented. Then you have a group of veteran players that have had huge expectations on them since they walked on Grounds. I’m really just so proud because they handled it absolutely the right way. You are always concerned as a coach when we have the talent that we have and how they are going to handle their junior year with the draft and things like that, and these guys handled it great. Their approach, their work ethic all year long was commensurate with the success that they’ve had. The 3-2 walkout wins for Omaha are exciting, but I’ll take these. The 3-2 wins add to this gray hair that I have. This one was a little more comfortable.”

 

Kenny Towns

On what it feels like to come back from a loss and win two straight to make it to the CWS: “I think it really shows how tough this team is and how we were able to bounce back from a loss all year. This group of guys that we’ve had here these past three years is really special. We’ve all worked so hard to accomplish this goal we set out for ourselves. It feels really good.”

On if he was in a zone tonight: “I was put in some good situations for hitting. I wasn’t trying to do too much. I just got some good pitches to hit and was able to barrel a couple balls.”

 

Josh Sborz

On what his game plan was tonight: “I took the game one inning at a time. I took it as a reliever. Just getting one inning done and then thinking about the next. I really only had two pitches today. I was keeping the ball down most of the time and I had a good defense behind me. So it was pretty easy to attack and let them hit the ball.”

On the double play in the first inning: “The first two batters, all they saw was fastballs so the guy at that time was sitting on fastballs, so we threw a slider and it worked out perfectly.”

On his curtain call: “The entire time I was refusing to go out. After about a minute of them clapping I figured I just had to go out on a limb. It felt amazing. I’ve never had a better experience like that ever.”

 

Brandon Downes

On what it feels like to come back from a loss and win two straight to make it to the CWS : “I think it is huge for us. The past few years we stood on our field while another team dog piled, so we finally got the opportunity to do that. And it is just a huge confidence booster for us going in to Omaha.”

On how they approached today after losing in the super regional last year: “We all always say ‘1186, trying to go to Omaha,’ and we tap our board that we have that says ‘All In’ and it has always been a journey and we are just trying to get to the end point.”


augusta free press
augusta free press