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2012 NCAA Division I Baseball Regional – Game 5

Virginia (39-19-1) vs. Oklahoma (40-23)

Davenport Field | Charlottesville, Va. | June 3, 2012 | 7 p.m.

University of Virginia Quotes

Virginia Head Coach Brian O’Connor

Opening statement:
“Today, obviously, wasn’t one of the better days in Virginia baseball. It’s not too often that this program loses two games in one day, but that is to the credit of Appalachian State and the program they have, and obviously, Oklahoma has a really good ball club. [Dillon] Overton was about as good a left-handed pitcher as we have seen all year. He is obviously a really talented young pitcher and has a very bright future. The three players that I feel the most for are Keith Werman, Shane Halley and Justin Thompson – those individuals that won’t have the opportunity to wear our uniform again. They have always represented our program with a tremendous amount of class. They are warriors and they play the game the right away. They play hard all the time. It is disappointing that this is the end for them. There was a point that we were 11-8 with this ball club and we made some adjustments to our approach and how we were going about our business. We went off on a pretty good run and earned the right to play here at home. Unfortunately, we did not play our best baseball this weekend and as the leader of the program, I have to take responsibility for that. This game is funny. We had an opportunity there in the ninth and you just never know what run that you give up will cost you the ballgame. Overall, I’m very proud of this team and what we have accomplished. I’m sure we will have this opportunity again.”

On playing from behind the whole day:
“Obviously in the first game against Appalachian State, to fall behind like we did, was tough to come back from. I’m proud of our guys that we continued to hang in there and battle and had a chance to win the game. In both of the cases, we also had opportunities to score runs that we didn’t capitalize on. Again, that’s a credit to Oklahoma’s pitcher. He’s pretty special. Also, when you’re behind in the game it is difficult to run and you have to string a bunch of hits together. It’s not the situation you want to be in.”

On Shane Halley’s play:
“I thought Shane did a nice job. He gave us everything he had. He hadn’t pitched in three weeks. He came into this game 9-1 and pitched great for us all year long. It is unfortunate, what happened three weeks ago but he gave us everything he had.”

On giving up unearned runs:
“Those are the runs that you never know which one is going to cost you. Unfortunately we let a run cross and it was the run that cost us the ballgame. We certainly were not at our best this weekend and that is in no way meant to take away from Appalachian State and Oklahoma. We play better infield defense that we did this weekend. We certainly put the ball in play more than we did this weekend.”

On Derek Fisher:
“Derek had an uncharacteristic weekend. The kid has really grown a lot this year. He went from just DH-ing to being our everyday left fielder and moving into the four-spot. He’s young and has a lot to learn but he’s a very talented kid. He’s very athletic and he has some good power potential. He is going to be a fun guy to watch but he has a lot of growing up to do.”

Virginia second baseman Keith Werman

On the emotion of playing in his final game:
“It’s tough. I just tried to hold it together and do the best that I could for the team. We just didn’t get it done and that’s it.”

On the standing ovation he received in his final bat:
“It means the world to me to have the fans and my teammates there. It was tough. I just tried to hang in there and get a quality at bat for the guys to keep the game alive.”

On the ninth inning rally:
“It wasn’t over. You know what is on the line. Elimination is on the line. We knew we had to keep at them. That’s what this program is made of – all nine innings and all twenty-seven outs. We just didn’t come out on top. You always know it’s not over until it’s over. We showed that last year with UC-Irvine – that we are going to battle until the last strike. We showed that today but unfortunately it didn’t go our way.”

On playing from behind:
“It’s pretty tiring, both mentally and physically, but at the same time, we worked so hard in the offseason to get to this point. It’s about mental toughness.”

Virginia pitcher Shane Halley

On how he felt on the mound:
“I did have the oblique strain but that didn’t really affect me out there. I just fell behind on some guys and things didn’t really work out. I didn’t make clutch pitches when I needed to and the outcome is the outcome.”

On his experience at the University of Virginia:
“It has meant the world to me. I have learned so much here, and been around great players. It has been an honor playing for these coaches. I’ve learned so much and just being able to watch these young guys this year has been awesome. They started off rocky and they have learned so much in one year. It has been impressive and they are going to be great here, in the future.”

Virginia shortstop Chris Taylor

On playing a doubleheader:
“That first game was tough. It was definitely tough to swallow. It was high emotion but at the same time, we knew we had to forget about it because Oklahoma is a good team, as they showed. We just didn’t come out on top.”

On Virginia’s graduating class:
These three guys have been a huge part of this program over the last four years. I think that what they have done and the way that they have carried themselves has been the identity of the Virginia baseball program. I think what people respect about us is the players like Keith, Shane and Justin Thompson, and what they have done here.”

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