Vanderbilt-Cal State Fullerton Postgame Quotes

June 15, 2015

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THE MODERATOR: Representing Vanderbilt, head coach Tim Corbin, first baseman Zander Wiel and left fielder Jeren Kendall.

COACH CORBIN: I think it was a tale of two different games. I felt last night was frustrating for the Vanderbilt side, obviously, because of how Eshleman pitched and their ability to score some runs on some walks and some big hits from their vantage point. Certainly coming into today was a re-set situation for us and we kind of set it up that way. We knew that it was going to be a different scenario on the mound. We knew it was going to be a different attack and the kids responded very well. We responded well on the mound to keep the game at bay and just keep the margin where it was, but outside of what Jeren did at the end, I just thought the biggest play was Zander’s first hit. I just think the ability to come back the very next day, knowing it was a 3-2 count, knowing he was going to get one pitch and just be centered enough emotionally and mentally to put a good swing on the ball, to me, was a huge, huge moment. And then in between that hit and 7th and 8th inning looked like we were down a little bit offensively, and matched a lot of big hits at the end. Zander’s hit again, almost in the same exact spot. Bryan Reynolds with a big two-strike at-bat, I thought he contained himself well. And the young guy to my right, just centering the ball, that’s a huge moment. You know how difficult that is off of a very good pitcher. I thought it was a good pitch by him but it was a good swing, too. So just a big moment for him and our club.

Q. Jeren, Coach Vanderhook said this is kind of the matchup they wanted, left on left and maybe you’ve had some struggles this year against lefties, what was your approach there and were you expecting that kind of breaking ball down on you?

Jeren Kendall: No, I wasn’t, but I saw, I got some pretty good looks my first at-bat, even though my first at-bat didn’t end very well, but I saw some good looks on some balls and got my reads and came up next at-bat with a clear mind and just play the game.

Q. Tim, kind of a follow-up to that, Coach Vanderhook said all the numbers dictate that’s a really good matchup for them. What is it outside of numbers and probability that maybe has the guy that performs well in that when the odds are against him on Jeren’s home run?

COACH CORBIN: I just think built-in confidence and experiences. You’ve got to remember, we faced Duchene and Tyler Jay last week, so we saw some very good lefties. And that was the homework leading into this particular test at least for this guy. I mean, you’ve got a guy who throws the ball very well in Duchene, mixing up pitches, and then you’ve got Jay with a hard, hard breaking pitch and a 95-mile-an-hour fastball. So, yes, I understand the numbers, but at the same time this kid’s learning on the run. I mean, he’s a freshman. He’s seeing good pitchers. And if you looked at his numbers from the midway point to now, they’re a whole lot better. So he just reacted well. You have to give Jeren a lot of credit there.

Q. Zander, what’s your mindset going from last night into today knowing you only have one pitch really going into the first at-bat?

Zander Wiel: I just knew I had to be on go. I knew I had to be on go. I knew I was going to get one pitch. I was just trying to have a team at-bat because we had Red on third and there was two outs. And since we had the delay, I wanted to get the day started off right. And I knew he was probably going to come with something to hit. And he did. I was just trying to put a good swing on it.

Q. Zander and Jeren, getting a chance to see Peitzmeier, the Fullerton closer, for a couple of innings from the dugout, did it benefit your at-bats in the ninth?

Zander Wiel: I think seeing any pitcher, you’ve got to take those mental reps whenever you’re in the dugout, whether you’re up there hitting or not. You’ve got to be taking mental notes on what he’s attacking with, what kind of stuff he’s got, what his delivery is, get some timing. But, yeah, certainly I think that helped. And Jeren got an at-bat against him previously. So I’m sure that helped him.

Jeren Kendall: Yeah, obviously just seeing him from the dugout, just getting his windup looks or stretch looks, that’s always nice. And then obviously asking previous batters, other teammates what they’re looking at and seeing.

Q. Zander, how many different ways did you play that at-bat over in your head? Were you thinking fastball the entire way?

Zander Wiel: Well, with two strikes, we have the hitting approach of a fastball away, because working out to in, you don’t want to be out in front of something with two strikes. It can come with a breaker. You want to be ready for everything. So whenever there’s two strikes, I’m ready for a fastball and adjusting to anything else. And I wasn’t really — I tried not to run that at-bat over in my head a bunch prior to really — I just wanted to column in with a clear head and compete.

Q. Sleeping-wise, you didn’t think at all about it, you just let it go until you got to the ballpark?

Zander Wiel: Absolutely.

Q. Tim, did you anticipate what you got from John and Kyle today and maybe flash back to the role your bullpen played here last year in getting to where you guys did?

COACH CORBIN: I did. John has pitched very well his last four outings. He’s thrown a lot of strikes. I thought he attacked the zone well. It’s a little bit different when you’re out there for the first time. John, I think his experience last year against Virginia helped him going into today. Yet it’s a new year. For him to get out on the mound and throw strikes right away was impressive. You could say the same thing about Kyle Wright, runner on second base, he’s got to keep them there, did a heck of a job stranding him. But a young freshman getting in there, throwing strike one, is certainly a mature moment for him.

Q. Jeren, when you come in as a freshman, first College World Series, a lot of players envision what would be the most moment they could have. A walk-off home run would be obviously the top of the list. Did you envision or dream this that something like this could happen in your first game?

Jeren Kendall: Yeah, I dream a lot. So I dream a lot about big moments. But obviously just hearing the guys talk about their experiences last year kind of made me a little more comfortable, obviously coming in here as a freshman not knowing what it’s like. So, yeah, I felt pretty comfortable today.

Q. Coach, who do you plan to throw against TCU tomorrow? And also they’re a team you lost to earlier in March, the Dodger Classic. What has changed between these two teams and can you talk a little bit about what kind of team TCU is?

COACH CORBIN: To answer your first question I’m not sure yet. I’ll have to get back to the hotel and talk about it a little bit. Yeah, I realize we played them first game. But there’s a lot that’s happened between then and now and a lot of it is that game probably doesn’t have much significance anymore. What type of team do they have, very good team, obviously. They pitch very well. Older kids, older, experienced kids who have been here before a little bit like us, I think we’re a little bit younger. But they know how to handle themselves and obviously by what they did yesterday to a very good team is a little bit eye opening. So when we get back to the hotel and give these guys some rest we’ll start to think about them a little bit more. But like a lot of things in life we want to enjoy what’s going on right now.


THE MODERATOR: Representing Cal State Fullerton, head coach Rick Vanderhook, shortstop Timmy Richards, reliever Tyler Peitzmeier and starter Thomas Eshelman. Coach, an opening statement.

COACH VANDERHOOK: That was a good baseball game. I thought two teams went toe to toe. We’ve been doing this for a couple of weeks now. They’ve got a couple of pitches late in the game and they hit them. And that last one went over the fence, and give them credit, you gotta hit it to do it. And he hit it and he hit it good. And we lost.

Q. Rick, when was the decision made to go to Hockin after the delay, and when did you tell him?

COACH VANDERHOOK: We made it about 30 minutes before the game. He’s got a good fastball. We wanted to go with, you know — we knew he was going three hitters, that’s what he was doing. And Zander hit it. And then he walked a guy and he struck the guy out. I mean, we’re talking outs. And then to have Peitzy go out there for that long, he’s had good stints, but he hit the ball pretty good against left-handers, numbers wise. And we rolled with that. Hockin has been throwing the ball well for us.

Q. Tyler, can you take us through the at-bat of Kendall there at the end, what type of pitch was it? Did it seem like it was good off the bat?

TYLER PEITZMEIER: The first pitch was a fastball. Got around on it pretty good. And went to the slider. It was a good slider. And he just got a hold of it.

Q. Coach, how disappointing was it yesterday when Thomas was in a rhythm there, to have the delay? How much do you think that changed ultimately the outcome?

COACH VANDERHOOK: Hindsight is 20/20. I’m sorry, but he threw the ball pretty good to Wiel and all those guys. And so it probably made a difference. But probably made a difference for them on that, too. They had a little more time to go and we both had the same chance. So that’s the way it is.

Q. Thomas, can you talk about the momentum shift and your team emotionally, Sunday night on Vanderbilt and having to wait, how you felt this morning?

THOMAS ESHELMAN: I mean, I don’t think we’re going to use that to an excuse. I think we came out today and we were ready to play, and they put some good swings on the ball and were able to hit the ball in some key situations. But we’re not looking to blame the weather delay for any excuse on what happened today.

Q. Rick, what was said in the mound visit in the ninth inning to Tyler, and did you notice any kind of difference or drop-off or anything from the eighth to the ninth?

COACH VANDERHOOK: No, I just went down to calm him down. He made a bad pitch to Reynolds and just said, you know, make the pitch and they’ll hit it and we’ll catch it. But the pitch was down enough, and he just went down and got it pretty good. He got it really good.

Q. Rick, did it seem like it turned quickly there in the ninth? Obviously you guys looked like you were well in control. Did you see it turning that quick with a couple of doubles and a home run?

COACH VANDERHOOK: No. Because I think he got the next guy out pretty easily. We had the guy up we wanted up. I mean, that’s who we wanted. Numbers-wise, everything dictates that that guy doesn’t handle left-handers very well. He went up there and took a big at-bat in a big moment and did what he was supposed to do.

Q. For LSU on Tuesday, they have four players out of the top 10 in the batting average. Coach, what are you looking forward to against LSU with their offense?

COACH VANDERHOOK: To throw strikes. I mean, that’s the name of the game. Seabold is going to go out and pitch against them. LSU is great. But they’re human, and we’ll go out and compete against them tomorrow and see who wins.

Q. Tyler, can you describe the emotions of the day, even before the ninth inning, what it meant for you to pitch in this stadium with your personal background? And if any of those emotions, if you felt any different when you were just an out or two away from saving that win?

TYLER PEITZMEIER: It’s the College World Series. Personally didn’t really mean anything. Off the field it did, but once I got on the field none of that really made a difference. Yeah, it kind of spiraled out of hand fast at the end, but there was no personal feelings, emotions.

Q. Thomas, can you just describe the emotions of going to bed at night not knowing obviously you leave a guy on third, how you’re rolling at that point? What was that night like for you and when you’re sitting there waiting for the game to start, was that one of the harder situations to be in as a player?

THOMAS ESHELMAN: As a player you want to go out there and compete. And leaving that situation it was frustrating, but when you play in the Midwest with all this weather, that happens. And obviously in my mind I wanted to finish that inning, but I wasn’t given the opportunity to.