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March 4, 2015

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South Carolina Head Coach Chad Holbrook

Opening statement

We started the game with a really, really good first three innings offensively. We swung the bats and our table-setters got on base. Gene (Cone) had three walks and got on base. Elliott (Caldwell) had another nice day. (Kyle Martin) swung the bat the way he’s capable of swinging it. Alex (Destino) had three hits, Max (Schrock) had a big home run there in the first, as did (Martin). It was a good day for us offensively. We did some nice things and obviously got some different people in the game as well. I was really tickled with the way Preston Johnson threw. It’s amazing how the game changes when you have guys in there that can throw two pitches in their for strikes and consistently do it and he did. It’s a great line, three and two thirds (innings), five strikeouts and no hits. It was impressive and it was good to see in his first time out. It’s a good win for us and we certainly have a lot of improving to do. We have to shore some things up. I don’t like the fact that we made two more errors in the infield when I think that’s the strength of our team. Part of that might be my fault for moving a lot of guys around and not really having a consistent lineup, but we’ll get to that point at some point when I feel comfortable. I thought it was a good day for us. We’ll take it and get ready for the weekend.

On the team’s improvement over the course of the last two games

I do feel better. We had two wins and we played better. We swung the bats better and we looked formidable offensively. We didn’t get the bat knocked out of our hands. But, we’re not where we need to be yet and I don’t think you can say you’ve arrived because you won two mid-week games. No disrespect at all to High Point, they’ve got a nice team, but when they threw their good guys, we had trouble getting hits and the (High Point pitcher Conor Lourey) was 9-0 last year, he was their ace. (Today he went) two innings with no hits. Goodman is one of their guys, (he had) one inning and no hits. I know I was getting some other guys in there but, that being said, I’m not at all satisfied with where we are offensively. I am encouraged by what transpired the last two days.

On Alex Destino’s performance at the plate and on the mound

Well he had three hits and drove in some runs for us. He’s getting more and more comfortable in the batter’s box. Obviously he didn’t throw very well. I can’t judge him, that’s his first time out. We’ve got to try to get him comfortable. His bullpen sessions have been a lot cleaner. Luckily, Preston Johnson was clean and I like the way Tyler Johnson threw. As you guys can see, he’s (Destino) got some potential as he continues to grow and develop and get stronger. We brought Alex in here to do both and we don’t want him to be one-dimensional just to DH. He’s left-handed and he’s got a good arm, he’s just got to clean some things up and throw some strikes and be a little more consistent on the mound.

South Carolina Senior First Baseman Kyle Martin

On what has improved in their offensive performance over the last two days

We’ve come out a little more aggressive, swinging at first-pitch fastballs, being ready and being prepared for the fastballs. With two strikes, we’ve done a better job of going to opposite field and getting on in any way possible.

On more aggressive approach at the plate

You get the first pitch and, as (Brian Buscher) always tells us, come unglued, unbutton our shirts and its worked very well so far. That’s the approach we carried on with last year and that’s the approach we need to carry on so far.

On team’s response to Monday’s loss to Clemson

I think we bounced back well. Coming out hot and coming out with more aggression was key and I think if we keep continuing that then we’ll get on a roll.

South Carolina Junior Infielder Max Schrock

On what has improved in their offensive performance over the last two days

I guess this past weekend, I don’t think a lot of guys thought they were being aggressive enough so as a team, as a whole, we’ve tried to be really aggressive. I don’t know if you guys have noticed but we’ve been swinging it at a lot of pitches early, trying to find a pitch to hit and that’s what we did today.

On advantage of playing with a lead

Getting out to an early lead is great because it makes everybody more comfortable; pitchers, fielders, hitters. It’s a lot easier to hit with a lead as well. It just makes guys, overall more comfortable.

On more aggressive approach at the plate

It’s just a different mindset. I think it helps guys. Some guys are being too timid. Myself personally, I was being too timid and being aggressive and being ready to hit that first pitch of the at-bat is big. It’s just a different mindset.

South Carolina Junior Pitcher Preston Johnson

On approach to his first appearance

It being my first outing, (I was) just thinking about being aggressive, working fast, all the things that Coach Meyers really pounds into our heads.

On his journey to where he is now

It has been a long journey but I’m just happy to get the opportunity that I did today. On technical approach to his pitches today

I just tried to mix (pitches), keep it down and work fast. (Logan) Koch did a great job too; he made a lot of those pitches look a lot better than they actually were.

On his role

It was a lot of fun but I’ll play whatever role I need to play. If Coach (Holbrook) wants me in there, I’ll go out there, whatever it takes to win.