June 4, 2012
Final Stats |
NCAA College Station Regional
Game 7: TCU 7, Ole Miss 4
June 4, 2012
TCU POSTGAME QUOTES
Head Coach Jim Schlossnagle
"Other than winning the Super Regional and some games in Omaha, this is obviously a big day in the history of our program just by the way we went about it - coming out of the losers' bracket, and being down 9-6 in the second game and competing against Texas A&M in their park, and then Ole Miss, one of the classiest programs in college baseball. I can't give enough credit to Ole Miss and the way they competed throughout the course of the last two days. Coach [Mike] Bianco is a very, very dear friend of mine. I don't like playing friends, although we do open the season with them next year. I'm just really proud of our team. I'm obviously proud of Justin [Scharf] and his durability and competitiveness throughout the course of the weekend, the way we played defense in the infield - when [Preston] Morrison and Scharf are pitching you have to play defense behind them - and the way we continued to grind out at bats all the way through the lineup. Guys like Brance [Rivera], who hadn't had a great senior year, getting hot here at the end. I told the team when we lost [Jason] Coats for the year, when we didn't play well in the Mountain West Tournament and then lost the first game and when we were down 9-6 we had every opportunity to give in and they didn't. I'm very, very, very proud to wear a TCU jersey today."
On whether he thought he'd make it this far after losing several starters early in the year
"It's hard to say `Yes' because everything has to go right for it to happen. But we said all-year long when we had guys hurt at the beginning of the year, especially Jantzen [Witte] and Brance was banged up, I just felt like the last 20 games of our season were going to be so much better than the first 30. I knew we had a good offensive club and I felt like we would be a better team on the road in a Regional because I think we could hit the ball out of the ballpark. We faced elite pitching in regionals, we're going to face some elite pitching next weekend, but I did feel like we had a good club and I felt like our pitching was going to keep us in it if we could just get healthy."
On whether he thought about taking Justin Scharf out of the game
"If he wouldn't have gotten the last out on number 24, if he wouldn't have gotten that ground ball to end the eighth, we were bringing in [Kaleb] Merck for the next guy. The thing about Justin is he was throwing strikes, and he was throwing strikes to the lefties, which is something that earlier in the year he wasn't doing as great a job of as he's doing now. All of the balls that were hit tonight were ground balls, except for the bleeder over short, so he's going to keep the ball in the park. With [Ole Miss players Alex] Yarborough and [Matt] Snyder coming up, as long as he was throwing strikes it was just a matter of those ground balls getting hit at us. I want to make sure I commend Josh [Elander], not just for his offense, but the guy has been catching every single inning of every single game, with the exception of a spot here and there, for the last two months. He's a warrior. He's an absolute warrior and I think he's the best catcher in the country, bar-none, and he's definitely the most competitive. I couldn't be more proud of the way he's led our team and the way he's just hung in there, catching 27 innings in the last 36 hours."
On TCU's pitching this weekend
"Obviously the starting pitching was outstanding. It goes a little bit unnoticed the job Preston did today. He kept them down. When they were getting some good swings on him, they did hit some balls hard at us, we made some really good plays behind him. I thought the play that really gave us some momentum was the pickoff at third base. If I was on the other side it would take the wind out of my sails. That was a big play. Randy Mazey is to be commended for that, he was the one that put it on and I didn't even know it was happening. Obviously Morrison and Witte executed it. I thought that obviously [Stefan] Crichton, [Brandon] Finnegan, Preston twice, [Andrew] Mitchell wasn't great but we won the game he started. Justin there in the middle of the game, Nick Frey gave us some big innings so if we can get [Mitchell] to give us a good start next weekend, we'll see. We're fired up."
On young players leading this years' team
"It's really impressive and if you look at our numbers we're better [than last season]. We do it a different way, but again Coach Mazey has done a good job of developing those guys. They all have something they can do. We have a pretty good history of elite pitching at TCU. I think when a pitcher comes to TCU he knows he's held to a pretty high standard so we continue to get that. It's just a little bit different this year. I told the team in left field that 2010 was a good year but it was done in a different way. It was a very good team and that team had good chemistry, but we also rode the back of some superstar pitching and some good position players that had big years but this year, it's much more of a team concept. We don't really hang our hat on any one player except maybe Josh."
On whether relying on the whole team makes winning more gratifying
"No. It's definitely fun to see it evolve. We met as a team Friday night late before bed check and told the guys that there's going to be at least one team in this thing that loses the first game and comes back through. I had a pro scout come up to me after we lost the other night and he said `You guys are sitting pretty.' And I said `What are you talking about?' He said `Because you're going to skip [A&M pitchers Michael] Wacha and [Ross] Stripling. You're not going to have to face those guys.' Not that Pineda and [Daniel] Mengden and any of those guys aren't good pitchers, but they're certainly not the caliber of the other two. He was right. Who knows, maybe it was just supposed to be that way."
On whether playing tough one-run games helped them coming into the Regional
"When you hit .240 or .255 most of the year and you have an ERA right around 3.00 or just under, you play a lot of close games. You get used to handling those tough situations and I thought that everybody that pitched and all of the position players and on defense we never panicked, and that's because we've been there so many times. More-than-likely we'll be there again."
Junior Catcher Josh Elander
On the momentum the team has going into the Super Regional
"All year our pitching has been great and we knew if we could ever get the bats rolling consistently - throughout the year there have been times where I've been hot or Coats was hot or [Kevin] Cron was hot but never really a time we were all clicking. This weekend with the way [Derek] Odell swung the bat and Cron and even Brance, it was just a great team effort and now we're playing great team baseball and that's not what we did at the beginning of the year. Going into next week we're going to try to do what we did this week. We attack one game and grind out innings. We're going to have a lot of energy in the dugout and be ready to go."
Junior Pitcher Justin Scharf
On how he felt coming back out in the ninth
"I felt good. I was a little gassed but I kept the momentum and just threw strikes and ground balls because the defense behind me was making plays. I knew that if I just threw strikes and let them make plays behind me, I had it."
Senior Right Fielder Brance Rivera
On his performance in the Regional
"It feels really good anytime you can help your team out. Like I said earlier, it feels good, whether it be getting an RBI, getting on base, it feels good helping this team out. With how things are going I would do anything for these guys. I would do anything for these guys all year and I want to be around these guys for a lot longer. Not just one more weekend, but a lot longer than that."
On going to three Super Regionals in his career
"We've been very blessed as a senior class to play in some big games, some great baseball. This weekend right now is one of the most fun I've ever been a part of. It's been awesome. Me, Jason Coats, Zac Jordan, Jantzen Witte, Davy Wright, all of those guys that were in my freshman class coming in, you can't ask for much better than this. It's been so fun, it's been awesome. Like I said, I want to keep playing, I want to keep going, I want to keep being around these guys and playing baseball with them."