Postgame press conference quotesVanderbilt quotes
THE MODERATOR: Coach, give us an overview, please.
COACH CORBIN: The story was Taylor Hill from a pitching standpoint. Thought he came out and pitched very well. He set the tone early, throwing a lot of strikes, keeping them off base. It was a contrast really to the first game where there were a lot of base runners for North Carolina.
He did a good job of neutralizing their offense, and got us deep into the ballgame where we could put Corey into the game and give him the ball. Connor's home run was big and followed up by Curtis. We did enough offensively to get by. We played tight defense in the outfield, and I that those kids made some nice catches out there. So we'll take it and move on.
Q. Taylor, Jacobs you kind of said you elevated your play in that strikeout in the fifth. Can you take us back, please?
Taylor Hill: I obviously wanted to get ahead. And Curt was moving them in, and out, and Curt called the away fastball. I was just going to give it everything I had. And if he hit it, he hit it.
But thank goodness, he didn't. But that's just pretty much it. We just moved them in and out and went away, and fortunate enough to have them swing through it.
Q. Taylor, if you could just talk about coming back after the two weeks off whether your arm felt fresh? And secondly on that 0 2 pitch to Jacob, are you trying to outguess him there? Are you trying to outthink him since obviously he knows you from summer ball?
Taylor Hill: As far as having two weeks off I was thrilled about it as a pitcher any time you can have two days off is great. But I was able to throw a few pens and last week I was able to throw a couple of innings in the scrimmage before we left for here.
But, you know, just keeping it down and working the corners and just working on your movement was about all you can do. You can't throw in scrimmages every day.
But at this point forward it's all mental. You've got to go out there and give it your all and whatever happens, happens. After that I can't really do anything.
As far as the 0 2 pitch to Jake, he hit the 0 2 slider in the first at bat really well. Then the next at bat he hit an away fastball the other way. So, you know, I was just like I said earlier, just trying to move it in and out, and Curt was calling great pitches and doing what he always does, catching a great game.
Just like I said, fortunate enough to have him swing through it.
Q. Coach, did you consider going to the bullpen in that fifth inning? And how much of a boost was it for Taylor to give you a couple more innings after that and keep your bullpen fresh for a couple days?
COACH CORBIN: I think he made us keep him in, really. Going back to that one inning I don't know how smart we looked when we intentionally walked to get to a guy that already hit two doubles. We just thought the match up was a little bit better to keep the ball away from (Colin) Moran because he's a very dangerous left handed hitter. We just thought at least Taylor could keep the ball away from Jacob and neutralize his back a little bit.
But we had (Kevin) Ziomek and (Will) Clinard down there, and we were thinking about going with them. But he made some nice pitches, and I and D.J. felt that when he got to Jacob it was his ballgame and he was going to find a way to get himself out of it. He deserved that. He's been the owner of some tough luck during the course of the year. But he's pitched so well to get us to this point right here. He deserved the opportunity to win that ballgame. Once he flowed through the sixth and we gave him the 7th as well.
Q. Connor, talk a little bit about your second home run and what is it about this park that fits you?
Connor Harrell: Well, the wind was a factor tonight. That's also a credit to Taylor to get so many groundballs. But I just tried to get my hands extended. Get that ball in the Jet stream and get it into the seats. Obviously having that win helps, but the ballpark's big, so we get the ball in the air was important tonight for us.
Q. Coach, do you have the proverbial you do everything you can to win that first game, or do you go into this what do we have to do to win two games to win the rest of the bracket against Florida?
COACH CORBIN: Yeah, I don't think you can think about two games right now. There are no two games unless you win the first game. We'll treat it as such. There are nine innings you have to play, and we'll do whatever we can. We have a good guy going on the mound. We think we can start Sonny (Gary) on Friday, and if that's the case, we know what we can get out of him.
I think the biggest factor is being able to do something with their pitching. That's been the nemesis. I feel good about our offense, and I feel good about the mindset of where we'll be when we get to that particular game.
Q. Coach, I don't know if you're a big hockey fan, but the Boston Bruins lost some close games in the Stanley Cup and came back to dominate each time. Your team seems to be doing the same thing, lose to go Florida in the SEC Tournament and dominating the Regionals, losing the other day and dominating here. Do you feel you're equating the two?
COACH CORBIN: You know, I'm a big hockey fan, because you said before the game you're glad the Bruins won. But, yeah, the game that's we've played with them have been in the past. It's going to be different moving forward. Every game's different moving forward. Really, that's not going to control our thinking. We'll have a good workout tomorrow, and we'll find a way to put some pressure on Florida going into Friday.
Q. When you show up at the park and you see the wind is blowing out the way it is, do you talk about getting the ball in the air? Does it affect your swing at all?
Curt Casali: I think every BP we try to take advantage of low line drives, we don't really look at it until game time. But if you put those good swings on the ball, the ball's going to fly regardless if the win wind's blowing or not. Fortunately today Connor and I got some good pitches to hit. We put flat swings on the ball and he just let the wind do the rest.
Connor Harrell: Yeah, I don't necessarily think he needs to change his swing. I think the most important part is that low end drive approach and let the wind take care of the rest.
Q. Six home runs hit in this College World Series, your team has three of them, did you think it would be that way coming in?
COACH CORBIN: Not really. As the boys said, we don't concentrate on home runs. We concentrate on flight more than anything else. But Connor and Curt are both strong, as well as (Aaron Westlake). And the home runs that Westy hit last weekend, I guess it was last weekend, seems like a month ago against Oregon State that Welsh dropped line drives that carried out of the ballpark. And Connor's been fortunate to split a couple of balls that got out there, and he's strong, and Curt did the same thing.
We don't really focus on that. I don't think you can. Because once you start lifting your barrel, more times than not you're not going to have that type of success.
Q. How challenging is it after five games in such a compact time to come up with something different that may work?
COACH CORBIN: I don't know if it's different so much. In order to beat Florida you just can't give them anything. I think what happened the other day is Tucker got off a good swing to hit that home run. Prior to that we gave them a freebie with a walk, and we didn't handle a ball that was in the right triangle and it kind of led to the three runs.
You do have to, because they put some pressure on you from a pitching standpoint. You do have to change your approach hitting wise just a little bit. You can't do too much. They match up well against you. When they match up, you have to focus on hitting the ball the other way. That's just something that we're going to have to do a better job of going into Friday.
But we can do that. We've matched up against them before and done very well. Hit some very tight games in Nashville. But we're looking forward to this challenge.
Curt Casali: I think it's the same story in the SEC Championship game we misplayed a 'tweener ball between first and the pitcher's mound. And unfortunately it led to a couple of runs. But with a complete team like Florida, you can't really give them anything. With the depth of their bullpen and the quality starts that they get, it's a tough challenge for us.
But we feel like we matched up against them really well. It hasn't really fallen our way yet. But we're looking to change that. We're not thinking how the heck can we beat Florida. It's not really in the back of our minds at all.
We feel we can compete with them. We feel we match up with them well, but we'll see what happens on Friday. We're going to come in confident, I guarantee that.
North Carolina quotes
THE MODERATOR: Give us an overview, Coach.
COACH FOX: Oh, overview? The Tar Heels had one heck of a season. That's my overview to start. As far as the game is concerned, we've just gotten beaten by a better club, and tonight it's as simple as that. Vanderbilt's got a terrific team. They pitched well, and obviously getting down early put us in a tough spot, put us in a hole and climbing out of it.
We had a couple of opportunities, but I thought (Greg) Holt pitched really well for us. Really good night. Had a sinker ball out there with the wind blowing out like it was. We had a lot of groundballs especially early. You know, couple of long balls that certainly got us behind.
I give a lot of credit to Vanderbilt. They've had a terrific season. It will be interesting to see how they do in the World Series from here on out.
Obviously, end of the year, you know, you hear the same stuff from coaches about their team and their players. I don't think anybody expected us to be here, to end our season here or to even be here at the start of the season.
So such a great credit to our players and how committed they were just to make it this far. It's obviously very difficult to win the national championship. We gave it all we had, but I'm proud that we were able to end our season in Omaha in the College World Series, and these guys got to experience it. I had a great group. I had a great group. They were fun to be around, and they taught me a great deal, especially our seniors. They taught me a lot. I just told them in the locker room, and we had fun together.
So I'm sorry our season is coming to an end for that because they've been a fun bunch to be around.
Q. When you left practice yesterday you weren't ready to say who your starting pitcher would be. What went into that, and how tough of a role is it for Greg when he's been closing for a lot of his career or at least been in relief?
COACH FOX: Yeah, he's been a reliever, but he started some games for us. It's not unknown territory for him. He just obviously with Kemp giving up the triple and right out of the gate giving up 1 0 and we didn't make a good pitch to (Connor) Harrell there, and he got a ball up. It was just one of those things.
But, I mean, Greg hasn't closed for us for a while. He's been a reliever; he's been a long reliever for us. So I don't know that had anything to do with it in terms of starting the game. He just didn't make some good pitches and left the ball up over the middle of the plate against some good hitters, and they took advantage of it.
Q. Mike, that fifth inning you guys had a big opportunity after Jacob had a couple of hits to kind of break it through there. Was that deflating when Hill was able to get out of that jam?
COACH FOX: Well, a little bit. You're down four and you have the bases loaded and you're thinking to yourself one swing of the bat, ball in the gap, and we're right back in the game and we get the momentum in our dugout. They were in that situation several times while we were out here, and it just didn't happen for us.
You've got to tip your hat to their pitchers. Our kids were up there and that's what they're trying to do. But it's a one-on-one battle. Sometimes the pitcher wins; sometimes the hitter wins. That's probably what will be written about.
We left a lot of people on base out here for three games, but a lot of that has to do with the other team, and we were facing some pretty good arms as well. So it is what it is. It didn't happen for us, and after that we didn't muster up a whole lot.
Q. Jacob, you had those two obviously doubles before that at bat. Were you a little surprised first of all that they walked a pitch to you even though it was right on right because you'd had success, and if you could take us through the at bat?
JACOB STALLINGS: No, I wasn't surprised they walked Colin (Moran). He's been great for us all year. He had 70 some RBIs, so I knew it was a right on right match up, so it probably just ended up being the smart thing to do. I got a first pitch slider, and it was the best pitch of the at bat to hit, and I just missed it. You know, Taylor (Hill) really kind of bumped up during that at bat. His stuff was a lot better just that whole at bat than it has been in my previous times.
Q. Jacob, just talk about your feelings now that the season's over and just how this team is feeling right now.
JACOB STALLINGS: Obviously very disappointed. Any time your season ends, you're going to be disappointed. But I just feel for the seniors in there. You know, we weren't a very good team last year, and then to turn around like this and have such a great year with 50 wins. I mean, it's a testament to our leadership.
Obviously, we were happy to get here, but once we were here I think we wish we would have played a little better.
Q. R.C., would you talk about what you think this outing today will do for you moving forward?
R.C. ORLAN: I think ultimately I'll just keep building off this. I wasn't locating my offspeed very well at the beginning of the year, and as the year progressed, I started doing better as I was locating. Today I kept him off balance with a couple of good changeups and a couple of good curveballs here and there to mix up with the fastball. So I'll just keep trying to locate that offspeed stuff, and trying to do the best I can this summer and come back to see what I can do in the fall.
Q. Jacob, you and your team as a whole, you had trouble against Hill. What made him so effective?
JACOB STALLINGS: He was just able to make the big pitches in the big situations. Taylor is a guy I played with in Chatham, and he's a sinker-slider guy. Like I said in those big situations he kind of elevated his game a little bit. Probably hit some balls hard and just couldn't come through with the big hit.
Q. Could you talk about R.C.'s extended stint today? I guess he had been pitching fewer innings per outing than he showed to today.
COACH FOX: Yeah, R.C.'s a great story. He's kind of the epitome of our team. Didn't pitch much last year and can really, really commit himself. If you had seen him work in the fall, he's typical of every player on our team, just improved from last year to this year. That's what you have to have in order for your team to be better from one year to the next.
Watching him out there, that thought crossed my mind. I just remember seeing R.C. in the outfield just doing his throwing and increasing his arm strength, and that's why he's throwing harder this year than he did last year. That didn't surprise me. He's been kind of a situational lefty for us, but the way he was throwing, we were able to keep him out there.
He's in terrific shape, he works hard, and that was really good for us to see. That's the best he's thrown over an extended period of time. To do it out here is pretty special. It will be a great memory for him.
Q. Couple balls flew out of the park early today, different from previous games in this series. Did you anticipate that coming in because of the conditions being different with the wind blowing out, and did you feel like maybe those conditions might have made it more conducive for you guys to be able to come back from that deficit?
COACH FOX: Well, sure. I mean, you're looking at the flags when you're taking batting practice, and you're seeing some balls that go out that previously weren't. So you have that in the back of your mind just to get a couple guys on and maybe somebody will get one up in the air for us and get you back in the game. It gives you a little bit better feeling of the wind. The flags are blowing in and you realize you have to get five or six singles or a walk in there.
But the park played differently, and unfortunately it played into their hands. They got a couple of balls that they hit out, and that was the difference.
Q. Congratulations on a good season. You've had teams go further, obviously, the two runners up. I was curious, you touched on it in your opening, but was this going into this season and what happened, would you say this was maybe even a more enjoyable team to coach or a more satisfying season than those teams that went to the finals in the previous years?
COACH FOX: I've enjoyed almost every one of the teams I've had in North Carolina. I really have. I've been really lucky to be around some really, really good young people. I don't think you build a program or you get out here five out of six years if you don't have really good kids and character on your team. I just don't think it works despite the talent that you have.
So this was a unique year in the regard that we had probably more adversity this year than we've had in some years past. Our players used that adversity as kind of fuel. I thought that was pretty I thought that was pretty neat on their part. I really like this team 1 through 35. Some really good leaders, and two of them sitting right here. A couple of seniors in the locker room.
Coaching -- as you get older you hear a lot of coaches say it's all about relationships, and that is so true. As a young coach you don't think of that. You know, you wallow in self-pity that you didn't win, you know, and everybody talks about you didn't win it again. The heck with that. I take these memories of these kids. Then my phone's going off like crazy, and I bet a lot of them are former players, and that's what makes it special.
I want these kids to have good memories when they leave. I want them to graduate. I want them to do the right thing when they leave here because the baseball will fade away. I feel comfortable and confident that that's going to happen with probably every one of them. They're going to go on and be good citizens and make a good life for themselves. Ultimately that's what we're supposed to be doing. But we're going to keep trying to come back and win this thing, all that aside.