Here are the postgame quotes from Indiana’s 7-1 victory Friday over Radford in first round NCAA Tournament play in Nashville.
Indiana Head Coach Chris Lemonis
“Great game, I thought we got a great start from Kyle Hart, which we’ve gotten the last couple of weeks which makes it easier to play. We’ve been practicing that triple play for the last couple of weeks, so it was nice to see it worked out in the first, but it really helped diffuse the moment. I think when you get that momentum it takes some pressure off. We came right back in and relaxed and played ball, which was huge for us. I’m looking forward to tomorrow.”
(On the performance of Starting Pitcher Kyle Hart)
“Kyle is the epitome of our team a little bit. We don’t really have a ton of superstars he’s just, he pitches very gritty and never gives in. So, I think he helped a little bit when he came back and got in the mix for us is when we kind of took off as a team. A lot of his personality has rubbed off on our whole ball club.”
(On Hart’s slow start to this game)
“He has been a slow starter for sure. I think maybe just getting the feel, when you are a feel pitcher with a changeup and a two-seam fastball; pitching in and out he probably just needs to get his rhythm going a little bit. I wish he would start a little bit quicker but it makes it kind of exciting, but he has always fought through it and gives us a chance. As you said after usually the 3rd, 4th, 5th inning that’s the sign of a great pitcher when he really settles in and it is tough to get to him.’’
(On the approach for the hitters against Radford Starter Michael Boyle)
“I just think we got some clutch hits. I think that’s when we had him out there we got some clutch hits, and that’s postseason baseball. I thought the double by Wilhite the triple by Ramos, and then it was a close game. The big swing by Craig Dedelow really opened it up, later in the game, but you tip your hat to their starter. That’s a quality left hander, and we talked about it this morning everybody is facing someone like that right now. That guy, Michael Boyle, he really competed.”
(On how important it is for this team to have postseason experience coming into this Regional)
“It’s just huge for any postseason program. I mean, we talk about it a lot and we take a lot of pride in being a postseason program. Casey Rodrigue hit the pop up and gets to third, and even in the dugout I’m joking that we are going to be talking to our future teams about Casey Rodrigue and how hard he hustled in the postseason. It’s the experiences you get, and the more we do it the more comfortable we are, and it rubs off to our younger kids like Logan Sowers or Isaiah Pasteure. I think that is what has happened with this ball club. They just expect it and we practice and play for it all year, and they were able to come out and play for it today.”
Indiana Pitcher Kyle Hart
(On triple play and whether it helped ease his start)
"That was probably the luckiest play I've been a part of, ever seen. That totally revamped my start and I don't think I would have had the type of success I had without that play."
"I was reading the runner at first. So when he didn't go, I threw the pitch and struck the kid out. I heard runner and I knew he was absolutely canned because he didn't get a good jump. So I knew we were getting two outs. I looked over and that guy's halfway down the line and seemed like a miscue for him. Fortunate that Ramos made that great pick and was able to fire home."
Indiana Catcher Brad Hartong
(On how the triple play unfolded from his point of view:)
"At first, I tried to get the strike and then I saw strike three. I knew I just had to put a good throw on to get the lead runner. And good thing Ramos helped me out there with that pick. I look down the line and I see the runner coming home and we got that guy. And it was like we're out of the first, let's go play some ball."
(On the performance from Hart:)
"Since he's been back starting the weekend, he's just throwing his change-up for strikes at any point in the count. He's locating both sides of the plate and throwing his curveball and slider for strikes. When he's ahead of a guy, he can throw a little more off the plate. But command and poise, you just see that. He doesn't really get rattled. We know he's not going to give up the big inning."
Indiana infielder Brian Wilhite
(On seizing opportunity to play and recent at bat performance:)
"Coming off my injury, I've been kind of getting my feet underneath me. I'm kind of feel like I was earlier in the season. But honestly, I don't know. I've never hit like this and it's nothing exceptional. I've always been more of a defensive guy. So for me, it's just a huge boost especially on the defensive end when I can get quality at bats. It's definitely been a big lift for me."
Radford Coach Joe Raccuia
”I thought that Kyle Hart for Indiana was really good today. Three pitch mix, pitched backwards in certain counts, was getting ahead with off-speed pitches with runners in scoring position, kept us off balance. We hadn’t been off balance in a long time, offensively, and today we were. Obviously, the game was affected in the first inning by just a bad at-bat and poor baserunning. I thought Michael Boyle competed. I thought they hit a couple of mistakes and that’s what it came down to. We didn’t give him any breathing room, which obviously could’ve been established in the first inning. That was about it, and after the fourth inning we just couldn’t mount anything offensively.’’
(On the triple play)
“The first 3-2 pitch we didn’t run, and I thought Patrick [Marshall] took a good approach to it. I was trusting Patrick to put the ball in play, stay out of a double play, which is normally what we do. Most full counts we run, just because I trust our hitters. I just told Shane to see it out of hand so, if they go to second base, you’re gonna be safe at the plate. The last thing I thought was that a fastball on the outer half of the plate was gonna lock Patrick up and it did. That was one of those at-bats that changed the game. Shane just locked up, he just mentally locked up at third base. I can’t tell you what he saw. As it was developing I’m sitting here going that’s one—I got blocked at second—I didn’t know whether he was safe or out. Once I saw he was out I thought “oh my God, this is going to be a triple play.” I’d never seen a triple play like that before in my life. As soon as the ball went to second base I wanted him to break.’’