June 11, 2011
SOUTH CAROLINA HEAD COACH Ray Tanner
We’re very happy to be sitting up here after a win tonight. It certainly didn’t start out that way for us with (Matt) Barnes out there. I know he is a first-round choice, but early on, it looked like he was ready for the big leagues already. He’s very, very special, and he has tremendous ability. I knew that (Michael) Roth was going to battle for us. It just didn’t start out so well for us. Barnes looked really great. Like we’ve done for a long time, we battled, and we had a big three-run fifth. We ran the bases pretty well and had a couple of clutch hits. We just continued to compete, and Roth got some big outs for us. It was a great win for us tonight.
On the first three innings…
Well it’s part of baseball. Sometimes it doesn’t start out like you want it to, but you have nine frames to play, and as long as you don’t give up too many, you have a chance to battle back. You know it happens; you know it has happened to us throughout the season. We have played some really good defense at times, but we have had some games like a lot of college teams have that didn’t start out that well for us. (Evan) Marzilli wasn’t able to pick the ball up and a great hustle play and they ended up getting a hit there to score the run. After that (Matt) Barnes comes out, and he was special. No doubt about it, his stuff is good. We have seen some good stuff in the SEC, but he was a first-round draft choice. Boston has got a good one. We told the guys, “Hey, we have to keep battling. We are going to have to scrap; we are not going to get a lot off this guy, but we have got to be competitive and try and get some balls to fall and try to keep it close. Let’s get deep in the game and win it late if we need to. But we have got to continue to fight and scrap.” After our first two got struck out tonight, that’s not very encouraging, but we [had] a lot of outs left, and we ended up having some good at bats after that, especially in the fourth and fifth we had some really tough at bats, and that really made the difference in the game for us. Not to discount what Michael Roth did, he really is amazing and he continues to battle and he doesn’t pitch against the other guy. He is just like he said he was, he goes out there and tries to stay out there as long as he can. Two or three times in the seventh and eighth, I was thinking about going to the pen. We have got a pretty good pen, and he’s doing good, my pitch counts good. You sort of have to defer to guys like that, especially based on what he has done for us. Just an outstanding win for us, and Michael was able to throw some goose eggs for us after that first.
On Roth’s performance….
Well for those in the room who have followed us really closely, he has been in a tough situation for us throughout last year. Although it was in the bullpen, sometimes it was one batter; sometimes it was two. He was out there in some game-saving situations so we could get to Matt Price. And he started the year as a starter, and we knew what we were going to get from an effort standpoint and what we were going to get from a competitive standpoint. I can’t tell you that I knew he was going to go like he has for us and go deep into games and get wins against great teams like he has all the time. I thought he would be special but not like this. He continues to just do it. He is a guy that doesn’t let a lot of things enter into it. He just goes out and plays. He just tries to go out and help his team win. He doesn’t over-think it. He tries to make some pitches and get them off balance. He tries to get them off balance and play defense. It has worked in a big way; he has had a special year.
PITCHER Michael Roth
On his comfort level…
It’s just one inning, you can’t let one inning get to you. It was just one run, so it is not a big deal. I know these guys behind me are going to make the plays, and one mess up isn’t going to bother me at all. We are a team, and that’s the way we play.
SECOND BASEMAN Scott Wingo
On playing in the post season…
We were there last year, and I think the experience helps us a little bit. I think we came to play tonight. I think we came to play tonight, and the experience helps us a little bit but we played hard.
FIRST BASEMAN Christian Walker
On their at bats against Barnes…
The first inning, they came out strong. After that, we kind of settled down and swung at the pitches we wanted to swing at and started doing stuff we wanted to do. At the same time, after we settled down, we had some better at bats.
UCONN HEAD COACH JIM PENDERS
I thought the team that played better won the ballgame. South Carolina played better than we did and deserved to win the ballgame. You’ve got to give a ton of credit to Michael Roth. He settled in. I think we allowed him to settle down a little bit and he did a good job, a really good job. That’s why he’s one of the best pitchers in the country. He mixed really well. He didn’t strike a lot out, but he got us to swing at some pitches that he wanted us to swing at and we shouldn’t have swung at. He kept us off balance all night. (Adrian) Morales made a [heck] of a play on George (Springer)’s ball that would have gone down the line. It could have been a different ballgame if that gets by him. They made the plays when they had to. They made pitches and had their best at bats when they had to and we didn’t. I loved our energy coming out. I felt like we did a very good job in the first inning. I felt like we needed to put a crooked number up there early. We just didn’t get it done.
On pitcher Michael Roth…
He was excellent. We found out why Michael Roth is one of the best pitchers in the country. He did a great job of keeping us off balance. I thought we had a couple chances to get him early. We tried a safety squeeze. In retrospect we probably should have let Billy (Ferriter) hit there, especially with the 0-2 count. He did a really good job and they made plays when they had to behind him. They made a couple mistakes early that we didn’t take advantage of, and I thought that let them settle in. He’s very good. I didn’t think we did a terrible job. I thought we got some decent swings off of him. We certainly left a lot of runners on; I think we left eight on. We had a couple of opportunities to put up a crooked number and we just didn’t do it.
On pitcher Matt Barnes…
In the first inning I thought it was going to be our night. He looked lights out. He was pitching well. I thought they were extremely disciplined and not chasing after the first inning. They made him work and they made him get his pitch out up. They fought a lot of tough pitches off. They did a super job offensively. It felt like he was a little inconsistent. He was still good enough to get outs. They did a really good job with some pretty good pitches. You’ve got to give South Carolina a lot of credit.
PITCHER MATT BARNES
On his performance tonight…
In the later innings I just wasn’t making pitches when I had to. That pretty much sums it up. Didn’t make the pitches when I had to. They scored in the third and the fourth with two outs. They had nobody on with two outs and then they scored. It wasn’t my best outing. Hopefully I’ll get another chance to go back out there and give my team another quality start.
CENTERFIELDER GEORGE SPRINGER
On the 5-4-3 double play in the third inning…
He (Michael Roth) made a good pitch, I got a good swing on it. The third baseman made an unbelievable play. I think that was a big factor in what switched the momentum around. He blocks that ball and throws out John (Andreoli) and the second baseman makes a quick turn and gets me at first. If that hadn’t happened we have guys at second and third and who knows.
FIRST BASEMAN MIKE NEMETH
On their chances…
I feel good. We’ve been in this situation so many times. We’re trying to get everything going in early innings. It definitely worked out today we just couldn’t keep it going. I think tomorrow we just have to jump on them again and put more pressure on them. There were a couple situations that we didn’t get the big out and they did. If we can do that I think we’ll be pretty successful.