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May 31, 2013

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Virginia Coach Brian O’Connor

Opening Statement:
“What a great college baseball game to open up the regional. Obviously, it was a real pitchers’ duel. The pitcher for Army, (Chris) Rowley, was an All-American last year. He probably didn’t think he pitched up to his capability in this game last year, and he certainly did today. Fortunately, Brandon Waddell was just as good or better than Rowley today. It was a great game. It was very well played defensively. We certainly had numerous opportunities to break the game open a little bit, but just couldn’t get that big hit. I’m just so proud of our guys. We played like we have all year and found a way to win the game.”

On :
Kyle Crockett has done a great job for us all year long. You would like to not have to put him in this game. Obviously, had we capitalized on some opportunities earlier in the game from an offensive standpoint, he might not have seen the mound. The situation called for it, it was a one-run game. I decided to put him for the eighth and ninth, a role he has had all year. This kid has been so consistent for us from the start to the finish. He has great stuff. He has good poise and you just know what you are going to get out of him. They are going to have to beat him, he isn’t going to beat himself.”

On pitching being overshadowed by hitting:
“I think so. Our starting pitching, all year long, has kept us in the ballgame. There have been times when it has been dominant, but not very often. They have kept us in games to be able to win 48 of 58 games this year. To do that you must have pretty good pitching. I have a lot of confidence in our bullpen. The starters do a nice job of getting us to the latter part of the game. Fortunately, early in the season we found the right roles for each of our pitchers and have kept them in those roles the whole season.”

On freshmen producing:
“I am not surprised by their performances. Joe McCarthy is one of the toughest, competitive players we have had here in 10 years. He is an animal. He shows up every day ready to play and competes. But he has a real maturity about himself in the batter’s box. He doesn’t let negative things affect him, he just gets ready for the next pitch. Brandon Waddell, he has to have a lot of poise and maturity to be your opening day starter and your opening game of the NCAA Regional starter. You are always a little concerned about rookies that have never been in NCAA Tournament play, in this environment. The fact is that this crowd is the same as it was for Florida State and for Duke, but it just means so much right now. You can be concerned about how guys handle it. They handled it as well as you possibly can today.”

Virginia rightfielder Joe McCarthy

On his three-hit performance:
“I felt like I wasn’t trying to do too much at the plate. I was really seeing the ball and using the whole field. That was what allowed me to get those three hits today.”

On taking better advantage of scoring opportunities later in the regional:
“We did miss some opportunities today to score some runs, but we need to put that behind us. We have been a team that has come through with those hits all year. We are going to reflect on that tomorrow and will look forward to those situations and capitalize.”

Virginia starting pitcher Brandon Waddell

On his first NCAA Tournament start:
“It feels the same. Looking back at all the experiences I have had throughout the year, it is still the same game, the game I have played my whole life. You have to go out there and know what your job is. It is to make pitches and keep your team in the game. You have to go back to that mindset and control what you can control.”

On having eight strikeouts:
“It just goes back to making pitches. Nate (Irving) calls a great game. He sits back there and really helps pull me through. The credit should go to him.”

Virginia catcher Nate Irving

On not taking advantage of opportunities to expand the lead:
“That happens in baseball sometimes. We have all the confidence in the world in Brandon and our defense to lock it down. Things are going to happen in every game. Brandon was phenomenal today and two runs was enough to win.”

On Brandon Waddell:
“I thought he was in complete control today. This whole season he has mentally matured with each start. Today was just a culmination of all of it. With the type of hitters that Army has, he needed to get ahead early in the count and he did that.”

Army Coach Joe Sottolano

Opening Statement:
“It obviously was a hard fought game. Congratulate Virginia, they were exactly what we thought they were going to be, a solid team that didn’t beat themselves. They throw strikes, move the baseball across the infield, put balls in play. We came down here to compete, came down here to win and play well, and we fell shy of that goal today. Our aspirations are not moral victories, our aspirations are not to be close, we came here expecting to win and we didn’t do that today. Virginia had something to do with that, they played the game really well and there’s a reason they are successful as they are. We compliment them on that and hopefully we’ll see them again.”

On facing Brandon Waddell:
“My disappointment is I thought we were a little bit timid offensively. He threw strikes. He threw three pitches for strikes. He doesn’t have anything overpowering. It’s a tribute to him and also their pitching coach. They do a real good job. I thought we played a little bit timid. We had 12 strikeouts, that is unheard of for us. In the last four games for us in championship play, we’ve faced a lefthander from Navy, he threw 91 or 92 and had breaking ball and we beat him. We didn’t have the same approach.”

On Chris Rowley:
“Chris did a great job. He had three strikeouts and two of them were with the bases loaded. That’s pitching. You pitch for contact outs, you pitch for outs that are not strikeouts, but you hope they’re there when you need them. And how about that play coming off the mound at home? He is one of the best athletes on our field, who can happen to pitch a little bit.”

Army starting pitcher Chris Rowley:

On his approach:
“Well first off I’d like to congratulate them. They had a heck of a day. They had a great approach. But with runners in scoring position, we like to say that we want to do our best work with runners in scoring position. So as far as being able to make those money pitches, I thought that I did an OK job for the most part. I thought that my approach to them was just to make the pitches I needed to make. I had a great defense behind me.”

On his pitch limit:
“In short – I don’t have one. Our trainer does a great job making sure I have recovery and treatment that I need. As long as I competitive, I feel like I don’t have a pitch limit unless coach decides I have one.”

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