Q&A: Coach Aoki

Hours before BC's huge match up with #1 Texas in Austin, head coach Mik Aoki spoke with Eagle Insider to preview the game and take a look back at yesterday's astonishing comeback over Texas State.

EI:I'm sure the mood is great in the clubhouse, but do you feel like everyone's mentally ready for the task at hand?

MA: Definitely. We were certainly feeling great about that game yesterday, but then as soon as Texas won the night game, as expected, the focus becomes on getting ready to play the #1 team in the country. Obviously, that's a big challenge, but we feel like we're ready for it.

EI: Obviously, Texas is an impressive team from top to bottom. Speak a little bit about what they bring to the table.

MA: Well, the thing with Texas is that no matter who's pitching against you, he's going to be tough to hit. They have the nation's best staff. They can really, really pitch. Every one of their guys is capable of winning them a game.

Offensively, they're pretty good, but not great – but they do enough to win the game, with their pitching.

I do like our matchup today because we have Pat Dean pitching, and he's been great for us down the stretch. So I like that we have him going against Texas.

EI: Will everyone be available tonight in the bullpen, with the exception of J.B. MacDonald?

MA: Yes, we can use anyone out there and will if we have to, with the exception of J.B., obviously.

EI: And the lineup will remain the same from last night?

MA: I think so, it will probably be basically the same from last night.

EI: And win or lose, the plan is to go with Leonard in game three tomorrow? [If BC wins, they will play tomorrow night at 7; if they lose, they will play in the afternoon.]

MA: It'll be Leonard tomorrow no matter what. Had we lost game one and been looking at an elimination game today, we would have had all hands on deck today, and brought him out of the bullpen if we needed him – then we would have pieced things together for Sunday if we got that far. But with the win, we'll get to go with our regular guy starting tomorrow, now that we have the luxury of being in the winner's bracket.

EI: It must have been nice to see a bit of an unheralded guy in John Spatola pick up the game winner yesterday – talk about what he's brought to the team this season.

MA: It was great for [Spatola]. He's a kid who has played a lot of roles for us, in the infield and in the outfield, and with the injuries we've suffered, he's been flexible to fill in when we've needed him. We are fortunate to have a kid to come off the bench like that who can really hit and field the way he does.

EI: Additionally, a key moment was Tony Sanchez driving in an add-on run after the homer in the ninth. He had struggled earlier in the game – did he change his approach at all in the ninth?

MA: I don't think so, I think he just found a pitch that he could hit and really did a good job of driving it opposite field. It hopped the fence, which is pretty impressive with the size of the field here in Austin.

EI: How do you feel like your team is handling NCAA tournament pressure so far?

MA: I feel like they've done OK so far. I think for the first few innings, we might have been a little tight. You could see it a little bit, they had those butterflies. But they played well.

I thought J.B. MacDonald pitched well despite giving up the five runs – if we hadn't lost that fly ball you're probably looking at him giving up three runs, and I thought he gave us a good chance to win. Texas State is a really good offensive team, so I was pretty happy with our effort on the mound.


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