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March 14, 2012

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South Carolina vs. Appalachian State Postgame Quotes

Head Coach Ray Tanner Quotes
Opening Statement
It was a really good win for us tonight. We certainly had the upmost respect for Appalachian State and what they have done to this point and the run that they have been on. Coach Pollard and I chatted a couple of times the past few days about them coming in here and their team. We visited before the game. He’s got some veteran guys that have played really well. We knew we had our hands full and they did it right away. They threw that four spot up quickly, and we fought and we battled. It was a great game for us to win after getting in that position. I really was impressed with Jordan Montgomery, a true freshman to go out there. He gave up a couple of seeing eye dogs, and then he gave up a couple of long ones right after that. So, it was tough and I talked to him between innings after the first and I said “You’re going back out there. This is the growing up time, and hopefully you can settle in and give us a chance to make a run.” He was really good from that point on. He put up some zeros, and our bullpen was really good. We came up with some really big hits. We failed to execute a few times. We didn’t get some bunts down which is disappointing, but we played hard and we battled. It worked out for us in the end. They made a couple of mistakes and we capitalized and then low and behold the last play of the game it looked like we were tied up and (Evan) Marzilli runs that ball down. I really didn’t think he had a play. Incredible catch and we were able to escape. I told the players I would have signed up for 14-2 coming into conference play. I didn’t want to lose the game going into conference play, but I would have taken the record. But, I am really pleased that we battled back and fought. We didn’t do some things well but we found a way to win. That was good. I feel good about our effort tonight and I know we have our hands full going forward, but there were some good things that came out of that game.

On his decision to send Jordan Montgomery back out in the 2nd inning…
There could be some circumstances that may lend itself to making that decision, but because we are going on the road and we pitched some guys last night, this was a time that he needed to pitch. He is not going to travel. We wanted him to stay out there for a while and I’m glad it worked out that way because it was a big night for him as far as growing up. I am pleased with his effort. He gave us some good innings after the first one.

On what it means to have veteran players…
(Christian) Walker swung the bat a little bit better today. You know when you get yourself in a situation where you are trying to play catch up and you are trying to get some runs and some things to happen, as a coach I am looking around and hoping that our guys are in the position — the veteran guys. Grayson Greiner had a couple of tough at bats tonight where he could have helped us out offensively. He had a big “k” and a pop up one time and they are going through all of this for the first time. So, you want to see your veteran guys up there and giving it their best shot. That was a big bases clearing double that (Marzilli) had and the catch was – I was really surprised. He works really hard at practice and he runs really good routes. I thought best-case scenario that ball was going to be off the fence. It was going to be a double or a triple. I really didn’t think about him catching it.

On his satisfaction with where the team is at this point…
We’re probably not exactly where I want to be. That being said, our pitching has been pretty good. Our guys in that bullpen down there understand how we try to matchup and pitch, and they accept different circumstances. It’s maybe a little bit unconventional across the board in college baseball, but that is kind of where we have gone in the past few years. We are not going to push any starter too far. We are going to try to use the bullpen to win a game. We are going to try to be good in the bullpen and good up front. That has been a big key for us, and it’s why we have won most of our games. Not to minimize our defense – our numbers are pretty good defensively – we haven’t been a great offensive team, but we haven’t been a poor offensive team. We have hit for a pretty good average and we have improved tremendously in the last three weeks with our walks to strikeouts. We have made a lot of progress there. But, our pitching staff has put us in a position to win, so I will take that, and our work is cut out for us certainly going forward. But, we ended up with six runs tonight and we needed eight. We left some runners out there and we need to get a couple more. We’ve played hard and we’ve competed. We have to get better. Our league is not easy to go through. We are going to be challenged tremendously going forward, and we have got to probably do a lot better job scoring runs and hope our pitching continues to give us a chance.

South Carolina Player Quotes

First Baseman, Christian Walker
On answering after Appalachian’s four-run first inning…
That is the good thing about this team. You never have to hit the panic button. No matter how much we are down our how much we are up we still play the same. Maybe a little bit more energy in the dugout, but if anything, we are always comfortable. It is a great quality to have as a team and it is going to win us a lot of games.

On the success of the pitching staff this season…
It takes a lot of pressure off, knowing that you don’t have to put two or three up every inning to win the game. Even though we like scoring runs and giving our pitchers a pad to work with, at the same time it is good to know that are there and they have our backs. We can win a game 2-0 or 2-1 and not have to worry about it.

Center Fielder, Evan Marzilli
On his catch to win the game…
Off of the bat, I thought it was a home run. I thought it was going to be something that I had to jump for. But, it stayed in the ballpark, and I got a good enough read to where I could get to it. I was lucky to come up with it.

On his recent approach at the plate…
I have just gone up there and tried to stay short. I’ve tried to get more extended on some balls and not let it in so deep sometimes. I have just taken an approach where I have been looking for certain pitches in certain counts instead of just free swinging like I was in the past. That was really what I worked on in the summer.

Pitcher, Jordan Montgomery
On bouncing back after the first inning…
The first inning I wasn’t really hitting my spots very well. I left a few balls up and paid for it with those two home runs. I finally realized that I needed to hit my spots and saw what happened.

On what the coaches told him after the first inning…
They just told me that they were going to leave me in there and see what I had. I have always let things bounce off my chest and take things easily. So, I know how to go out there and eat some innings up so I can hand it off to the bullpen.

Pitcher, Tyler Webb
On the 23 consecutive retired batter streak…
I had no idea. I just tried to come in and throw strikes and hand it over to the next guy.