Coach Mark Marquess
Just an unbelievable effort today. It was a great game, great atmosphere. We had a great crowd for a Monday. When we set this time, we weren't sure if we played a game on Monday we'd get a crowd, but it was a great crowd today.
First of all, I was very impressed with Erik Davis wanting the ball. Obviously he wasn't as sharp as he could be, with only two days rest. But the guys we went to, Storen had pitched yesterday and Yount pitched on Saturday. They didn't have much rest, so I was very impressed with that.
We were down 6-2 and it didn't look good. They had four in the first inning. But we kept battling and got the big inning. We had a couple of walks and obviously that big hit by Sean. Two big hits actually, two homeruns, that were huge for us obviously. Then we hung on. Austin [Yount] came in, and I didn't know how much gas was left in the tank, but he had enough to get it done.
I was very impressed with Pepperdine. They were a very good team obviously. We were very fortunate we could come back on them. They were swinging the bats very well and obviously they're really dangerous.
The field today was very conducive to hitting. The wind was blowing out. Earlier games, the wind was blowing in and knocking balls down, but the ball was jumping today.
I'm very proud of this group. Anytime you lose the first game of a Regional and come back to win four in a row, that's very hard to do with this competition. It's very difficult, almost impossible. I didn't tell the guys that. [Smiles.] But we were able to do that because of a complete game last night from Sandbrink. Yount gave us a great effort, Inman, and Bleich, four innings out of Bleich, who hadn't thrown in eight weeks so. It's been a different guy each game that has come up. Today it was Sean, but it's been Milleville, Castro, different guys that came up.
As I mentioned before, I'm just as proud of this team as any I've had. They've really battled through a lot of adversity and low expectations and they did a great, great job.
You never know how a team is going to come together. A lot of times, you have a talented team, but the chemistry isn't right. But their work ethic, practice and lifting weights from October to now, they've spent a long time together and the chemistry was always good. I think we've played 15 weekends and won 13 of them. Fullerton is one of only we swept, but that we only lost two is really amazing. I've had great teams that weren't able to do that.
This team found a way to maximize what talent they have and that's what you hope to do. It's a great group with great chemistry and a great work ethic, and it paid off. They found a way to win.
I don't think we've ever been out of a game. That's amazing. We're very resilient and want to come back. We have a lot of frosh pitchers. Yount hadn't pitched before and we lost our No. 1 pitcher, Bleich, for eight weeks. We had to mix and match a little and hung in there.
On whether it's his best left-handed lineup ever:
It's the only lineup I've had where I can throw seven left-handed hitters at you and they're all in a row. That presents problems for a right-handed staff. Molina, I left him in because he hits lefties so well. So do Sean and Jason Castro. I flip-flop and try to get Whitlow and Toby in there. It's good to platoon a little. It gets everyone involved. A lot of teams save their lefties for us, but it's amazing: our record against lefties is better than against righties. I know it's better. If they come in with a righty, we can flip and get Domer [Brendan Domaracki] and August in.
On close games:
The second game last night was huge for us, because we got to relax. It was the easiest game we had in a long time. Because if we had to use a lot of pitching last night, it would have really hurt us. We got a big lead and saved our pitching, but we didn't have many of those.
The parity in college baseball makes it really exciting. We've had great teams and great games here, great games and great crowds. I was very pleased to see our fans react. 12:45, not very many people were in the stands, but at 1:15, it was just about full. It was nice to see they support us a lot. Last year was a rough year for us, but their support of us and for us to win the way we did was real special.
On playing a known opponent in the Super Regionals:
It's a plus and a negative. I don't like playing either of those teams. When you match West vs. West, it's tough. The only problem is Finals start Friday, so it'd be easier if we were here from that perspective. They'll have to hustle and check with their Professors.
On his pitchers:
Yount and Drew have no fear. If guy hits a homer, they're not timid. I think they act surprised the guy hit it. Especially Drew coming in from the bullpen, you have to have that attitude.
On comparing this Regional to earlier Regionals:
They're all tough. I think the Regionals now, there's more parity. I think previously you felt there was one team that may not be as strong, but the so-called weak team in this one was Arkansas, and I don't think the SEC would consider any SEC team weak, and justifiably so. I don't think teams are as dominant as eight, 10 years ago when you would have guys who'd come in and never lost.
We've had great Regionals but this matches it. The Davis game Sunday was a great, great atmosphere. It matched any of the great ones we've played.
Coach Steve Rodriguez
I am proud of how our guys came out and competed today. We got the start that we really needed out of Robert Dickmann. He came out and really did a great job for us.
The number of walks we gave up obviously hurt us. Four walks in an inning really hurts. A ball that should have been a sac fly that gets up in the wind stream and goes out really ends up being the difference in the game. I am very proud of our guys. They did exactly what we needed them to do. We just came up a little bit short.
This team just overachieved pretty much the whole year. The one thing that's been our Achilles heel the whole year has been walks and it came back to bite us today.
On Chase d'Arnaud's Tournament:
He did a great job. That is why he is one of the best players on the West Coast. I don't know a lot about all of the guys in the East, the Midwest, or the South, but he is one of the best third baseman that I have ever seen. He is going to have a hell of a professional career. He did exactly what we needed from him today.
On playing without Eric Thames:
We have a .400 hitter not playing. He almost had a quadruple-double. He had double-digit home runs, doubles, two triples away from ten, and those stolen bases. Then he has a .400 average, he is one of the best hitters that I have ever seen. I don't know how the whole draft is going to work with his injury, but to get that guy back next year, I will do whatever I have to do.
On if he felt comfortable when it was 4-0:
No, we knew it was going to be one of these games because of the way that the wind was blowing today. Anything that you got up in the air was scary. Even offensively, we get a guy on base and a guy hits a pop fly and we've got a chance for it to rattle off the wall or even get out. We knew that six runs were not going to be enough.
On if he thought the at-bats late were quality:
Yeah, we hit a line drive off the pitcher's stomach, hitting balls at guys, the deep ball to left-center that gets caught. That is just part of what makes baseball a great sport.