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June 8, 2013

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2013 NCAA Division I Baseball Super Regional • Game 1
June 8, 2013 • 1 p.m.
Mississippi State (47-18) vs. Virginia (50-11)

Virginia Head Coach Brian O’Connor
Opening Statement:
“That was a tough game. That was as good of an offensive approach by Mississippi State as we have seen all year. They were relentless at the plate. They did a heck of a job with two strikes and taking advantage of opportunities. To come into this ballpark and get 20 hits is pretty impressive. I don’t know if anyone has done that in quite some time. It’s a testament to their players. Frazier had a huge day. Coming into the Super Regional and getting six hits is pretty impressive. He is a very talented player and obviously Renfroe had some key hits too. We have to be better tomorrow, we have to be better at executing our pitches and handling the baseball. The things we have been doing all year that have gotten us to this point. Thankfully it’s a series and you have to win two ballgames to win this thing. Our players have done a nice job all year long handling adversity and bouncing back after losses. This is a difficult loss, but this is what makes baseball so great – having another chance tomorrow.”

On Mississippi State bullpen and the inning-ending double plays:
“You saw our approach at the plate. Not chasing pitches. He was making a lot of pitches down in the zone. We got some runners on, we just couldn’t get that one more hit to get him out of the ballgame. Now they have some pretty good options coming out of the bull pen, but we just couldn’t get that extra hit to extend those innings and those are the hits that Mississippi State got today. Their pitcher did a nice job. He pitched himself into some trouble, then pitched himself out of it with those double plays. Mississippi State is really good at turning the double play. I think they had over 70 this year and you can see why. Their pitchers pitch down in the zone and they get a lot of ground balls.”

On having experience in elimination games and approach for tomorrow:
“We don’t really look at it as an elimination game. It is, but you have to win two ballgames this weekend. It’s pretty rare for us to not win a series. We’ll just come out tomorrow. Scott Silverstein is going to pitch tomorrow. He is going to come out and put us into a position to win the game. If we do that, it’s win or take all on Monday.”

On using five freshman pitchers and bullpen for next games:
“I think our kids are in good shape. We still have a lot of pitchers we didn’t use. We need Scott [Silverstein] to give us a quality start tomorrow night. That’s something we didn’t get from Brandon today. Our bullpen will be fine. Anyone we didn’t use today, we will use tomorrow and we can use them again on Monday. I’m not concerned about players being available.”

On defense and pitching:
“I think that’s a testament to Mississippi State’s ball club. I think about the two strike hits they had. They had a lot of balls that found holes. We take pride in handling the baseball a lot better than we did today. I don’t think it had anything to do with nerves. Sborz tried to do a little too much when he threw it past King. So things happened and we know that we cant do those things this time of year. Mississippi State is very very good. You can’t do that. It’ll cost you games.”

On opposing hitters today:
“They saw the ball deep in the strike zone. They fouled pitches off when they needed to and waited for something they could handle. They looked like a team that won’t give any outs away. It’s a mentality that we take pride in too. They just did a much better job of executing it today and the pitchers did a much better job than we did today.”

On MSU’s squeeze bunt:
“We know from the scouting report and from film that they use the safety squeeze. Had Waddell handled the ball, I think we would have had the runner at the plate. That was a big point in the game. They were able to add two runs. But I think the fourth inning was really big. Waddell got out the leadoff hitter and then they got three more runs. Could we have handled that, it would have been better.”

Freshman Pitcher Brandon Waddell
On coming back after first inning:

“It’s just part of the game and managing the situation. It’s good to get the guys behind me and know that they are behind me. You get back into the dugout and just refresh yourself and get ready for the next inning.”

On how Mississippi State handled the count:
“You have to give credit where credit is due. Obviously 20 hits is a great day for anybody.”

On unearned runs:
“A run is a run. Like I said, there is going to be mistakes, you just need to go and pick up your teammates or pick up yourself. It’s a team effort and the difference between an earned run and an unearned run in the stat book really doesn’t matter because they will all go on the scoreboard. “

On approach against Frazier:
“We were going to the game attacking. You plan what you are going to do every game you play. You just want to throw strikes, make pitches, get good contact from a pitching standpoint. You just have to give credit to him. He had a great day. Six hits is something really special.”

Sophomore Outfielder Mike Papi
On Mississippi State bullpen and the inning-ending double plays:

“We had a lot of opportunities to come up with a big hit there and then in those three innings, the lefty sidearmer came up with the double plays. Give him credit for what he did on the mound.”

On game tomorrow:
“We have kept the same approach in this situation all year. We are just going to come out and do what we do.”

Sophomore Infielder Nick Howard
On inning-ending double plays:

“We just lacked that clutch hit today. We had a good approach, but just couldn’t get it done. “

On game tomorrow:
“We are going to take it one game at a time. We can only win one baseball game tomorrow and that’s what our goal is going to be.”

Mississippi State Quotes
Coach John Cohen
Opening Statement:

“Obviously we’re really proud of our players today. We played a very good Virginia club. It was a little sloppier defensively than we would have liked. It was just a long, grind-it-out type of game. We competed well at home plate with the bats. Everything we saw on the scouting report came true with their offense. They’re a fantastic offensive team- don’t swing at balls, don’t strike out, use the middle of field and get barrel to almost everything. They’re a really good team, but I thought our kids stepped up today”

On Ross Mitchell
“I think he had a couple near misses and then lost his composure, which is not like him. Normally if he misses and he thinks it’s a strike, he jumps right back into the zone, but he lost his composure today. He had a lot of small misses, not a lot of big misses, but we were in a position to where we have to ram strike in there and he didn’t do that as well as he normally does”

On Brandon Waddell’s fielding error
“There was a little bit of that on the scouting report. All the scouting reports that we’ve gathered talked about making them field their position, but I’m sure there are guys on our staff that says to make them field their positions. But those are the type of things that sometimes happen to younger players and the guy is a really good pitcher and is going to be a really good pitcher in one of the best conferences in America.”

Shortstop Adam Frazier
On his six hit day

“There were a couple of them that were lucky, but I got a couple pitches to hit, a couple fastballs. I was fortunate. You know, it’s baseball. But I was lucky to get a couple to fall”

On relaxing after being drafted:
“I think any time you can get stuff off your mind and pressure off of you, you’re going to be more relaxed. I think that goes for everybody out there”

On facing a freshman pitcher
“Really, you just want to make freshmen come to you and throw pitches and make sure you’re not hitting their pitch. I noticed that he started off with a breaking ball every time, but like I said you don’t want to hit their pitch so I made him come to me and luckily found a couple holes.”

Outfielder Hunter Renfroe
On his hot steak in the postseason

“I think the whole club is actually hitting the ball well and getting good swings on the ball. It’s all about rhythm at the plate and once you have rhythm at the plate, things are going to work well for us. I really think we’re seeing the ball great right now, so we just need to keep seeing the ball and getting people on base “

On his approach at the plate vs. Waddell
“You just have to make sure you’re looking at things up in the zone and not chasing pitches out of the zone and making them work. You have to get good barrel to it, and once you get good barrel to it, good things are going to happen.”

Pitcher Kendall Graveman
On his game today

“For me, to just keep competing no matter what happens is what I need to do, especially today, when I didn’t have my best stuff. For me to keep battling and get our team to the fifth and sixth innings was critical. And hats off to these guys, the hitters. I had a feeling early on that we were going to score runs, so for me to get outs and move the game along was what I was focusing on. It is not how well you start. To settle in there and get outs for a few innings and move the game along was really good for our team”

On UVa’s hitting
“They did a great job at the plate. When I got two strikes on them, it was really hard to put some guys away. And to keep pitching and make pitches, I had to go to my breaking ball today. That’s something that, if you know me, I don’t use much. But today that was one thing I was locating and commanding. Being able to make that adjustment and being able to go to that was big for me.”

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