Vanderbilt-TCU Postgame Quotes

June 19, 2015

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THE MODERATOR: Representing Vanderbilt head coach Tim Corbin, right fielder Rhett Wiseman, center fielder Bryan Reynolds, and the starting pitcher Walker Buehler. Coach, an opening statement.

COACH CORBIN: I think first I’d be remiss if I didn’t say something about Jim and TCU, because he’s a very close friend and that’s always difficult, particularly after the game, win, lose, what have you. Just to get with a guy that you like a lot and knowing how difficult it is because he’s got some special players on his team, that is difficult. But he does it right. He makes it about the kids, and there’s some special relationships in there. As far as we’re concerned, Walker, he pitched very, very well. He doesn’t have as much poise as he did on the mound. But he pitched very well tonight, especially being that he hadn’t pitched in almost more than half a month. I thought he was right on point. You never know what’s going to happen when a guy has that much time off. I felt like he went early and often, and those were six of the most impressive innings I had seen him pitch, and John finished it off. Offensively we did a nice job. I thought Bryan’s hit was one of the most important hits because looked like the inning was going to break out and he had the two-out hit in the 6 hole and drove that run in. And it was a nice run. And Rhett started out and four continuous hits and obviously after he took the ball to the neck, hitting the home run and just staying in the game was such a big moment for him and our team. So we enjoyed it. We played well and certainly looking forward to moving on.

Q. Walker, just kind of talk about your stuff tonight. And also, seemed like early in the game you had a little bit more juice than usual on your fastball. Were you just pretty amped up after not pitching last weekend?

Walker Buehler: Yeah, I think it’s hard to be here and not be amped up. It’s a big stage. It’s fun to be in that environment. And I guess the rest was kind of a blessing in disguise. And as I’ve said previously, you win two games in the Super Regional, I got no problem not pitching. So just confident in our team and our defense and trying to throw strikes and that type of thing.

Q. Rhett, kind of take us through when you got hit. Was there any discussion of leaving the game or what was your condition at that point? Did you think you would go back out?

Rhett Wiseman: College World Series, baby. Would have to kill me to take me out of that game. I think that’s probably what I said to you (Coach Corbin), I’m not coming out of this game, especially that early in the game. But it’s easy going back out there following Walker’s lead on the mound. He’s just so effective and bringing everyone that plays behind him into the game and brings so much energy to the table that by the third inning I had forgotten about the neck and was back in the game.

Q. Rhett, on the home run there in the fourth inning, can you take us through that at-bat a little bit? You put a pretty good charge on that ball with the wind blowing in?

Rhett Wiseman: It was just a 1-0 slider that was a little bit up in the zone. Didn’t break the way he wanted it to. And runner on second base. That was in our game plan there, runner on second, looking for some off-speed pitches and fortunate enough to get one up in the zone. Just put a good swing on it.

Q. Tim, obviously Bryan hit well today. What factored in the decision to move him back to the five-hole?

COACH CORBIN: It was just getting another right-handed hitter up there against Alexander more than anything else. And right-handed he had been swinging it really well. The one ball that he hit against Fullerton in the opening game in that — I guess it was the ninth inning, it just — he had a series of good at-bats right-handed, and we just wanted to push him up there.

Q. Tim, TCU was kind of able to get back in the groove offensively against LSU yesterday. How would you kind of analyze Walker’s performance today, just overall and from his toughness standpoint?

COACH CORBIN: I think it was very good. Anytime you’re facing a group of guys that have put together two very good offensive games against a very good team in LSU — older, smarter, lot of at-bats in that lineup — you have to pitch well. Very worried — not worried but concerned coming into that game because we really had to do a good job to just stop them, just to contain them because once they get guys on base, it becomes a track meet. And we wanted to minimize those opportunities as best we could. And Walker did that. He just kept base runners off. And we played good ground-ball defense behind him as well. We really did. Tyler Campbell and Dansby and Toff and Jeren catching left field those were big defensive plays to settle the game.

Q. Bryan, what effect do you think playing in this game last year and making the run last year had on today? How do you think that affected you guys and confidence-wise?

Bryan Reynolds: Obviously it’s a new year and we have a bunch of new players out on the field. But I think having a guy like Walker on the mound and a guy like Jason behind the plate, you have two guys that have been there and they’re just kind of maybe a little more relaxed, just a good lead for the team.

Q. Just playing, for anybody, just playing a game that wasn’t a one- or two-run game, having that breathing room, does that change the mentality? Plus now you’ve got a couple of days off, does that help going forward?

Bryan Reynolds: I think it’s great because obviously last game our bats were held down a little bit and then to come into this game, kind of get them going it’s good momentum going into the next series. And the days off are obviously nice to just recharge. COACH CORBIN: I just don’t think a game ever — even we had the margin there, it doesn’t feel like it is that large a margin when you’re playing it, just because of the stakes and what you’re playing for and so on. But I just thought that the kids did a good job of continuing to win innings and win pitches, but it didn’t seem that way when you’re on our side. I can assure you that. We did it a different way last year. We had to beat Texas in the second game. So this is new and different for us. But we’ll make decent use of the two days that we have leading up to Monday.

Q. Walker and Rhett, just a follow-up, how are the feelings going into the finals this year compare to last year? Is it just as sweet?

Walker Buehler: Yeah, I think anytime you get back to the series that we’re about to go into it’s pretty exciting, and it’s your goal coming into the year first to come to Omaha and when you get here it’s to get to that series. No, I don’t think there’s any damper on it since we were here last year.

Rhett Wiseman: It’s so special. I mean, you walk around the locker room right now, everyone’s fired up. I think some guys, I mean, when you look at it, I guess I find so much excitement out of it because the guys that weren’t here last year, especially the guys that were on the team that were red shirted, that’s where I get even kind of choked up talking about it like just for them to be able to get back here after hearing about what it was like last year, and sometimes you’re around these guys and you don’t even want to really talk about it because you feel so like they’ve missed out on it and just to get back here for those guys is what’s so special.

Q. Tim, kind of piggybacking on that. When you see teams win the national championship, it’s hard to win it once, but it’s even harder, it seems like, to emulate that performance the next year. I guess kind of discuss the job this veteran class did and just staying on task at the goal at hand throughout the whole season to get to this point?

COACH CORBIN: Just so centered. I’ve told them that the training sessions in between the games are better than the games themselves. They have a unique way of just keeping their eye on target and never getting off balance. And I think when you have an older group, they understand what the coaching staff wants and they implement it themselves and I’ve said all along I do feel like a parent that’s in the back seat letting your kids drive the car because you trust them. And when you trust a group of kids, it’s the greatest feeling a parent can have. And that’s how I feel. I told them three weeks ago, complete peace with them. I am. They do things right. They take care of one another. They take care of people. They engage with other people. They do the small things well. And because of that they see success. But a lot of the success they see is deserved and has nothing to do with baseball. But it comes full circle around to help them in baseball.


THE MODERATOR: Representing TCU head coach Jim Schlossnagle, Preston Morrison, shortstop Keaton Jones. Coach, an opening statement.

COACH SCHLOSSNAGLE: Sure, congratulations to Vanderbilt on making the championship series, outstanding team. Really proud of our team. As I always say, there are no bad days in Omaha. Some are just better than others. So this one is certainly the worst one but it’s still not a bad day. Anytime you’re finishing your season in the final four, Felt good about our club, felt it’s a national championship team, caliber team, didn’t go our way and ran into a heck of a pitcher today who smothered us especially in the early innings and we never really recovered from it. Congratulations to Vandy, and I’m proud to be a TCU Horned Frog.

Q. Coach and Preston and Keaton, do you find yourselves wondering, if you had played anybody else besides Vanderbilt this week?

COACH SCHLOSSNAGLE: Yeah, of course. I mean, that’s the way tournament baseball goes and they — a lot of things have to go into winning a tournament. That’s what it is. It’s never about the best team. It’s the team that plays the best. And I think Vanderbilt has a heck of a team and they’re certainly playing as good as anybody in the country right now. But we felt like we were good enough to play with them. We just didn’t play as well as they did today.

Q. Keaton, I guess when a guy like Buehler is in that much of a zone, I guess what was he doing to keep you guys off balance and also are there any adjustments you guys tried to make to get out of his groove at all?

KEATON JONES: He was attacking with all his pitches and throwing them for strikes. He was tough. It wasn’t he was throwing it down the middle hitting his spots in and out and throwing his breaking ball on the corners as well. For us, I think we were just trying to attack his fastball. But it was tough. He was pitching well.

Q. Keaton, just to follow up on Walker Buehler a little bit. Did he look better or different the first time you guys faced him earlier in the season? And Coach, can you answer that too?

KEATON JONES: From my memory, he was pitching well the first time we faced him as well. I know we didn’t score too many runs off him either. So I mean he pitched — he was lights out tonight, and he had everything working for him the first time as well. So, I mean, he’s a good pitcher and just gotta tip your hat to that guy.

COACH SCHLOSSNAGLE: I thought that early on he had a lot more on the baseball than he did, certainly it was a day game in Dodger Stadium. He had just come off, what, a two inning little appearance in the mid-week game. And he may have started that game but that was his first real start after coming off whatever little issue that he had. And we eventually scored the runs off Pfeifer in that game, but I thought he was good. The velocity, if they’re correct on the scoreboard, were really impressive. But it was his command and just aggression and of course he did a heck of a job pitching with the lead. The key for us today like it was the other day with Alex we were going to have to pitch with him. That was our only chance. There aren’t too many teams in the country that can pitch with us, and that’s one of them. And so we knew that going in.

Q. Keaton, you have played very intense games and a lot of stress for a good month almost. Does it catch up to you almost maybe tonight like when the score gets away from you a little bit?

KEATON JONES: Not really. I mean, I don’t know, we just didn’t play our brand of baseball. He pitched a really good game. And we didn’t find ways to score. They found a way to score a lot off Tyler early in the game.

Q. Coach, I know the game just finished but you look back at guys like Preston and the senior class, you don’t see many programs this many seniors. I guess kind of reflect on what those guys did the last few years for this program?

COACH SCHLOSSNAGLE: Think about the guys that have been here for fours years, Trey Teakell’s case, five, they’ve been a part of two college World Series teams, three Super Regional teams. I mean, Teakell was a part of, what was his first year? What was your first year, 2012? So he was part of four regional teams, 2011. So, yes, and some of the very — I mean, this guy’s a first ballot TCU Hall of Famer. I think Keaton Jones should be and Riley Ferrell should be, some of the greatest players in the history of our school on this team. Again, it’s hard to reflect right now, but it’s a really special group, and a group that has really helped us establish us as a legitimate program, an Omaha program, one you’re not going to be here every year but you’re going to be fighting for that opportunity every year. That wasn’t the case just five years ago. So we’re very appreciative to those guys.

Q. Preston, to piggyback on that question, when you look at this ride and this group of players that you’ve been with for four years, how do you kind of describe the relationship that you guys have with each other and how this run has felt for you guys?

PRESTON MORRISON: It’s been amazing, four, five years ago I was some unrecruited guy from a small town in North Carolina. And then just to be a part of this program, a part of this school, is just about anything a guy could ask for. And then just the relationships I have with all my teammates, especially these seniors. It’s a true blessing, and I’ve never taken it for granted. It’s been the best decision of my life to come here. I’m just so happy that it all happened.

Q. Coach, what did you tell your players after the loss and what’s your message to them after this game?

COACH SCHLOSSNAGLE: I mean, I have a lot of things I want to say to them but it has to be in the right context. Nobody, ten minutes after your season ends, some of these guys college career, maybe their baseball career ends, nobody wants to hear the obituary of the season. But I’ll have a lot of things to say to them. Just told them that I’m proud of them and there’s no bad days in Omaha. Today’s still a heck of a lot better day than Micah had today. And as we’ve done all season we’re going to keep this in perspective for what it is. And it’s an honor to put on the same jersey as these guys. But I have a lot to say to them when we get home.

Q. Jim, last year when y’all left, there was a lot of peripheral talk about the ballpark, the bat, the wind, everything. This year, it’s safe to say that it was all about the baseball, isn’t it?

COACH SCHLOSSNAGLE: Yeah, that’s a really great point to make. I think at the end of the day this park is still going to, the wind is still going to play a factor. But there are plenty of parks in the country where that’s what makes baseball great, is it’s not a basketball gym where everything is the same. It’s unique. So I think the ball seems to have definitely helped. I still think we can take one more step and play with the minor baseball, but it’s a huge step in the right direction.