Quotes from players, coaches in Hoover

The Ole Miss Rebels beat the Vanderbilt Commodores 9-3 in the championship game of the SEC Tournament Sunday afternoon at Hoover Metropolitan Stadium. The following are selected quotes from the postgame celebration.

Starting Rebel pitcher Texan Craig Rodriguez, who got the win on a hot late May day in Alabama: "It felt like playing in Dallas in the middle of June. That's the most I've thrown in three weeks. I just gave it everything I had. If five innings was it, five innings was it. We had an early lead in every game. That helps a pitcher so much."

Rebel rightfielder Logan Power, whose RBI double in the ninth gave Ole Miss a 6-3 lead: "This was special. This whole week was special. Thankfully I came up with the big hit to help us today. After that, Mark Wright's home run (two batters later) was just a back breaker."

Zack Cozart, 2-for-4 with an RBI Sunday: "You can't say enough about our offense right now from top to bottom. Mark Wright's our 8-hole hitter and he is the tournament MVP with 13 RBI. But you can't say enough about our defense and pitching either. It's easy to play out there when you get a lead and have the pitchers to hold it down."

Cozart's thoughts on hosting another NCAA Regional: "It's huge for us. You saw the crowd. That same crowd's going to be there with us next week. This was a home game for us today. That atmosphere keeps us going when we're tired and hot out there."

Cozart on winning the title - finally: "It feels good. It's Coach B's first SEC Championship. He deserves it. The University deserves it. We're looking forward to next weekend, seeing what the field is coming to Oxford, and getting ready to win some more."

Mike Bianco's opening comments in the press conference underneath the stadium: "Another well-played game by our baseball team. We played well all week. We left some runners on at times but we pitched well again and played good defense. We've come a long way this season. To be the champions of the toughest tournament in the country besides the College World Series, I'm really proud of the guys."

Third baseman Chris Coghlan's comments on the title: "This is just an unbelivable experience. I'm just so happy for our coaches and our team. We just played so well. Coach (Bianco) told us before the game to just play the way we're capable of and we can beat any team. I'm just so happy for our team getting the big hits and the big outs. I'm just happy for everybody."

Pitcher Will Kline who got the save against Vandy after getting the win against Arkansas in the opener: "These are the moments you dream about as a kid. Being a pitcher at the end and have every one of your teammates run at you for a dogpile is just incredible. Before the game Coach Bianco told us to take it all in but to look at it as just another baseball game and play the way we have the entire season - well, at least the second half of the season. That's what we tried to do again today."

Rebel rightfielder Mark Wright, named the tourney MVP after breaking the tournament's RBI record with a three-run home run in his last at-bat to give him 13 for four games: "We didn't want to be second again this year. It feels great to win it. We came out and played four good ballgames. That says a lot about this team, that we'll play strong for nine innings. I'll be glad to get back to Oxford and see who we play."

First baseman C.J. Ketchum, named to the all-tournament team: "I just feel fortunate to be a part of this team. I thank everyone of these guys for an incredible experience. I'll never forget something like this, and I'm looking forward to next weekend's regional."

Team captain Justin Henry on the improvement of the Rebel pitchers: "It's been amazing. We had pitchers throwing out there every day who hadn't thrown for Ole Miss before. You could just see the confidence on the faces of pitchers like Will Kline and Cody Satterwhite. You could see them growing and growing each time. A lot of people will credit the offense here, but the pitchers were outstanding."

UM Assistant Coach Dan McDonnell: "We did all three phases well this weekend. You have to score runs to win in tournament play. You have to jump on teams early. For the most part we got ahead and put some pressure on those teams. You need timely hits, you need to pitch, and you need to make routine plays. If you do that you can win. But this is the SEC, the best league in the country with the best players in the country. So I'm very excited about it."

UM Pitching Coach Kyle Bunn: "I knew the pitchers had the ability to get the job done, they just had to gain that confidence. Will Kline and Cody Satterwhite grew up a lot against Mississippi State in Jackson. Lance Lynn has been maybe the most consistent every week. He was as good this weekend as he was all year. Garrett White came out of the gate strong but he had his confidence shaken a bit. Now it looks like he's got it again. We've got good kids, and the older guys have been supportive. They understand it's nothing against them. It's just that some of the younger guys are ahead of them a little bit."

Vanderbilt head coach Tim Corbin: "We didn't want to finish second. We wanted to win the tournament. I like our team and what they bring to the table. They are battlers. They are tough kids who never, never give up. I have really enjoyed coaching them this year."

*** Ole Miss players on the All-Tournament team: first baseman C.J. Ketchum. Second baseman Justin Henry. Centerfielder Alex Presley. Tournament MVP rightfielder Mark Wright.

*** Ole Miss won its second SEC baseball tournament title but its first since 1977. That was also the first-ever SEC Tournament, and it was held at old Swayze Field in Oxford.

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