CWS Baseball Highlights/Postgame: Louisville 4, Mississippi State 3

Chris Lemonis, JT Ginn and Jake Mangum
Chris Lemonis, JT Ginn and Jake Mangum

The Mississippi State Bulldogs fell to the Louisville Cardinals 4-3 on Thursday at the College World Series in Omaha. Mississippi State’s season is now complete. Look inside for highlights, play-by-play, quotes and more.

Play by Play

Mississippi State starters: 15/cf Mangum; 11/ss Westburg; 5/1b Allen;
40/rf MacNamee; 17/2b Foscue; 8/c Skelton; 4/lf R. Jordan; 2/dh
Halter; 34/3b Gilbert; 3/p Ginn;
Louisville starters: 7/cf Dunn; 43/1b Wyatt; 2/ss Fitzgerald; 13/3b
Binelas; 20/lf Snider; 9/dh Oriente; 1/rf Campbell; 16/2b Lavey;
11/c Pinkham; 8/p Bennett;
Mississippi State 1st – No play. Mangum grounded out to 3b, bunt
(0-0). Westburg grounded out to 2b (1-1 KB). Allen flied out to lf
(1-1 BS). 0 runs, 0 hits, 0 errors, 0 LOB.
Louisville 1st – Dunn grounded out to p (1-0 B). Wyatt grounded out
to 1b unassisted (0-0). Fitzgerald walked (3-2 BFKBBB). Fitzgerald
failed pickoff attempt. Fitzgerald failed pickoff attempt. Binelas
grounded out to 2b (2-2 SBSB). 0 runs, 0 hits, 0 errors, 1 LOB.
Mississippi State 2nd – MacNamee struck out swinging (2-2 FFBBS).
Foscue grounded out to ss (2-0 BB). Skelton singled to left field
(1-2 KBKFFF). R. Jordan flied out to cf (1-2 BSF). 0 runs, 1 hit, 0
errors, 1 LOB.
Louisville 2nd – Snider grounded out to 1b unassisted (3-2 BBSBF).
Oriente grounded out to 2b (2-0 BB). Campbell singled to first base
(1-0 B). Lavey flied out to rf (2-2 BFFB). 0 runs, 1 hit, 0 errors,
1 LOB.
Mississippi State 3rd – Halter grounded out to p (1-0 B). Gilbert
walked (3-1 BKBBB). Mangum hit by pitch (1-0 B); Gilbert advanced
to second. Westburg struck out looking (3-2 BBSFBK). Allen flied
out to cf (3-1 KBBB). 0 runs, 0 hits, 0 errors, 2 LOB.
Louisville 3rd – Pinkham grounded out to 2b (3-1 BFBB). Dunn singled
to right field (0-0). Wyatt struck out swinging (1-2 KKBS). Dunn
out at second c to 2b. 0 runs, 1 hit, 0 errors, 0 LOB.
Mississippi State 4th – MacNamee grounded out to 1b unassisted (1-2
KBF). Foscue singled to left field (0-1 S). Skelton struck out
swinging (1-2 SBFS). R. Jordan doubled to right field, RBI (0-1 F);
Foscue scored. Halter singled up the middle, RBI (2-0 BB); R.
Jordan scored. Gilbert walked (3-0 BBBB); Halter advanced to
second. Mangum flied out to cf (1-2 FBK). 2 runs, 3 hits, 0 errors,
2 LOB.
Louisville 4th – Fitzgerald grounded out to 3b (0-0). Binelas struck
out looking (1-2 KBFK). Snider flied out to cf (3-2 SSBBFB). 0
runs, 0 hits, 0 errors, 0 LOB.
Mississippi State 5th – Hoeing to p for Bennett. Westburg struck out
swinging (3-2 SFBBBS). Allen singled to center field (1-0 B).
MacNamee struck out swinging (2-2 FBFBFS). Foscue struck out
swinging (1-2 FBFS). 0 runs, 1 hit, 0 errors, 1 LOB.
Louisville 5th – Oriente grounded out to 3b (1-2 KBF). Campbell out
at first 1b to p (0-2 FF). Lavey flied out to rf (2-2 BBSF). 0
runs, 0 hits, 0 errors, 0 LOB.
Mississippi State 6th – Skelton grounded out to 3b (2-2 FKBB). R.
Jordan grounded out to 1b unassisted (0-0). L. Jordan pinch hit for
Halter. L. Jordan struck out swinging, grounded out to c unassisted
(1-2 KKBS). 0 runs, 0 hits, 0 errors, 0 LOB.
Louisville 6th – Pinkham singled to first base (3-2 KFBBBF). Leonard
pinch ran for Pinkham. Dunn grounded out to p, SAC, bunt (0-0);
Leonard advanced to second. Leonard out at third c to 3b. Wyatt
grounded out to 1b unassisted (3-2 BBKBF). 0 runs, 1 hit, 0 errors,
0 LOB.
Mississippi State 7th – Davis to c for Leonard. Gilbert struck out
looking (1-2 FBFFK). Mangum singled through the right side (0-0).
Westburg singled through the right side (1-2 KKB); Mangum advanced
to second. Schmeltz to p for Hoeing. Allen singled to center field,
RBI (2-1 KBB); Westburg advanced to second; Mangum scored. MacNamee
grounded into double play ss to 2b to 1b (0-0); Allen out on the
play. 1 run, 3 hits, 0 errors, 1 LOB.
Louisville 7th – Liebelt to p for Ginn. Fitzgerald walked (3-2
BFSBFFBB). Fitzgerald failed pickoff attempt. Binelas walked (3-2
FBBBSFFB); Fitzgerald advanced to second. Snider singled to
shortstop (0-1 S); Binelas advanced to second; Fitzgerald advanced
to third. Oriente struck out looking (2-2 FSBBK). Campbell singled
through the left side, RBI (1-0 B); Snider advanced to second;
Binelas advanced to third; Fitzgerald scored. Lavey reached on a
fielder’s choice to second base, RBI (1-2 SKB); Campbell out at
second 2b to ss; Snider advanced to third; Binelas scored. Davis
lined out to lf (0-1 K). 2 runs, 2 hits, 0 errors, 2 LOB.
Mississippi State 8th – Poland to p for Schmeltz. Foscue flied out to
cf (1-1 SB). Skelton walked (3-1 BKBBB). R. Jordan struck out
swinging (3-2 BKBBSFS). L. Jordan to dh. L. Jordan struck out
swinging (1-2 SFBS). 0 runs, 0 hits, 0 errors, 1 LOB.
Louisville 8th – Gordon to p for Liebelt. Dunn singled to right field
(0-0). Wyatt singled to center field (1-2 KBSF); Dunn advanced to
second, out at second cf to 2b. Fitzgerald flied out to cf (1-2
SBF). Wyatt advanced to second on a wild pitch. Binelas struck out
looking (3-2 KBKBBK). 0 runs, 2 hits, 0 errors, 1 LOB.
Mississippi State 9th – Gilbert struck out swinging (0-2 SKS). Mangum
hit by pitch (0-0). Mangum failed pickoff attempt. Westburg struck
out swinging (1-2 BKSS). Detmers to p for Poland. Mangum failed
pickoff attempt. Mangum out at second p to 1b to ss, picked off,
caught stealing. 0 runs, 0 hits, 0 errors, 0 LOB.
Louisville 9th – Snider walked (3-2 FBKBFBB). Snider advanced to
second on a throwing error by p, failed pickoff attempt. Oriente
singled to left center, advanced to second on the throw, RBI (1-2
FFB); Snider scored. Mississippi State Bench issued an official
warning. Campbell singled to right center, RBI (2-2 FFFBBF);
Oriente scored, unearned. 2 runs, 2 hits, 1 error, 1 LOB.

Mississippi State Quotes

CHRIS LEMONIS: Great college baseball game. Tip
your hat to Louisville. They got a couple big hits there
late. But really proud of our guys, the way they played,
the way they have fought all year long. It’s just a
tremendous group of kids that we just would never quit.
That’s kind of how you had to beat us on the last swing,
because our guys just have that never-die attitude.
That’s all I’ve got.
Q. Jake, I know the game just finished, but how do
you put your career there into perspective, and
also just how fun was this run for you guys?
JAKE MANGUM: Look, first off, I’ve been very
fortunate for the last four years. God has been very,
very good to me for those four years, and they were the
best four years of my life. Mississippi State baseball,
it’s literally a part of me, you know. I hate it ended this
way, but it is what it is. I absolutely hate it for the guys.
I really do.
Q. JT, to build a little bit off of that, as a younger
guy in this program, what has the guy sitting next
to you meant to this program and to the younger
guys on the team, and the same goes for some of
the other departing players on this team who have
won three or four regionals now in a row and
accomplished so much here?
JT GINN: I mean, I think Jake’s legacy speaks for itself,
but what he’s been able to do for the program at
Mississippi State is truly unbelievable, and he’s one of
the best to ever put on the maroon and white. Like he
said, Mississippi State, when you play there, it
becomes a part of you, and the way that it ended, it
definitely does suck. But that’s the thing about
Mississippi State, we’ll be back. We win, and that’s
part of the tradition, and we’ll be back.
Q. Jake, you’ve seen this team grow over the last
few years. This is a team you’re not going to be a
part of next year, but what’s your thoughts on what
you’re leaving behind and the guys that are coming
up behind you?
JAKE MANGUM: In any adversity, you just want to
leave the jersey better than when you picked it up. My
freshman year, I came in with 16 guys. Five of them
are left – four pitchers and I’m the only position player.
We told each other we were going to bring the first —
help bring the first National Championship to
Mississippi State. It didn’t work out, but man, we
fought like hell for four years.
Man, those four years were crazy. You know, it’s just —
baseball is like life. I’ve said that forever. Baseball is
like life, it’s not going to go the way you want it to, but
how you respond to it is going to be good, and we’ve
got a lot of guys that are going to respond to this very
well. The guys coming back next year, they’re going to
get after it in the fall, and they’re going to be ready to
go in February in front of the best fan base in the
country. It’s not a debate. Come to a super regional in
Dudy Noble. I was very fortunate to be a part of it for
four years.
I want to thank Coach Lemonis. Thank you for
everything. You’re going to bring the first National
Championship to this baseball program. You are. And
it’s going to be awesome. I can’t wait to see it. You
will.
Q. JT, it’s the first time you’ve pitched in a while.
81 pitches, six shutout innings. How were you
feeling tonight? The velocity looked a little down,
how did your outing go?
JT GINN: I felt fine, I guess. I just tried to go out there
and compete and make pitches when I needed to, and
the defense played great behind me, and Dustin
Skelton he called a hell of a game tonight, and he
made a bunch of big plays for me. I felt fine, though.
JAKE MANGUM: College baseball is evolving. It is.
You know, for four years, I just want to let everyone
know, it’s time for a third paid assistant head coach —
assistant coach in college baseball. There’s a million
people averaging watching this game. There’s 30,000
people in that stadium. This is my second time to
Omaha. It’s time. This game is evolving. It’s growing.
Every year it keeps getting bigger.
In this dugout, on that field, there was 27 players on
each team. You start off with 35, you come with 27. Of
those 35, there’s 11.7 on each team on scholarship.
Like man, this game is getting way too big for that.
Rev #1 by #222 at 2019-06-21 04:12:00 GMT page 1 of 2
These were the best four years of my life, and it’s time
to adapt with that. Every year we’ve had assistant
coaches that have not been paid who spend hours
upon hours upon hours doing all they can for our
program, sleeping in the offices, scouting for us,
dealing with camps. Come on, man. Go out there and
watch that game. There’s 30,000 people in that
stadium. A million people watching it. Come on. It’s
time to change. It really is. Thanks, y’all.
CHRIS LEMONIS: That’s a little bit extra that makes
him special. He cares about it, though, that’s why he
says it.
Q. Chris, you could probably do like a 30-minute
speech on what Jake has meant to Mississippi
State, but just in your short time of getting to know
him, what has he meant to you and what has he
meant to this program?
CHRIS LEMONIS: You know, about a year ago I got
the job, probably to a day or two, and he’s been my
lean-on guy the whole time. When you’re coaching a
group that’s had four head coaches in four years,
you’ve got to be careful because they’ve had so much
transition and so much everything. He’s been a great
help to me in running the program. Not just getting hits
during games or making great plays, whatever it is, but
it’s his day-to-day. He cares so much for our program.
I’ve never seen — he is very loved by our fans, but he
gives to our fans. He never turns away an autograph.
He never — there’s days he’s stayed two hours, three
hours. There was a night when he set the SEC record:
He stayed for four hours signing autographs.
The giveback of this kid is huge. Not only is he a great player. I
mean, you see that every day. But who he is is special.
Q. To have Jake, a guy that you’ve called
repeatedly Mississippi State through and through
tell you after just one year with him that you’re
going to bring the first baseball National
Championship to this program, how much does
that mean to you?
CHRIS LEMONIS: Well, it’s — I told the guys after the
game, because our goal has been a National
Championship, and I told them we didn’t win it this
year, but when we do, it’ll be because of the Jake
Mangums and the Elijah MacNamees and the Cole
Gordons. For him to say that I know he has a trust in
our coaching staff, but I also think he has a trust in our
program. We’re scratching and fighting and we feel like
we’ll get back here and take care of it.
But very nice words. I feel lucky to be able to coach
Jake Mangum or Ethan Small or Dustin Skelton, just
some really special kids.
Q. JT comes out after the sixth inning, I think 80
pitches or so. Was that just kind of a caution after
him not pitching for three weeks? What was the
decision there, and was there any thought of
sending him back out for the seventh?
CHRIS LEMONIS: We came into the game thinking
five innings or 75 pitches, and he was a little more
efficient so we went to 80. He’s pitched at about 80 all
year long if you look at his numbers. Maybe twice or
three times he’s gone over 80. Because of the last
couple weeks, we had set that predetermined before
the game.
As big as this is, it’s not bigger than JT’s career, so the
player always comes first.
Q. Chris, how much confidence did you have in the
bullpen turning things over to him after JT’s
outing?
CHRIS LEMONIS: Man, our bullpen has been
awesome. Jared Liebelt, Cole Gordon, they have been
awesome on this run that we’ve been on. Things just
didn’t go our way, so it just — just part of the game.
And tip your hat to Louisville. They got big hits. They
got really big hits when they had to get big hits, and
they just kept fighting, too. I’ve been a part of that
program. I know how hard they work. I know their
leadership. I know the type of players and they weren’t
gonna stop either. It was just two really competitive
teams getting after it tonight.
Thanks to everybody, all our media. All our national
media but really our local media. You guys are
awesome, and to our fans. I know they’re crushed, but
we’ll be back.

Louisville Quotes

DAN McDONNELL: Obviously want to congratulate
Mississippi State. What an awesome year. Great
program. We’re obviously really close to their
leadership, and they fought their tail off. It was a battle.
But I’m real happy for our kids. We showed a lot of
fight. We didn’t play great, but we hung in there and
we fortunately got into their bullpen, and tip your hat to
JT, he really — just didn’t get a lot of good swings
against him. But our hitters fought, and we managed
to score some runs late.
So I’m super proud of these guys to my left as well as
the rest of the guys. There was a lot of belief in that
dugout. You could hear it in the tone and the
comments and the words. They definitely felt like we
had a chance. We just had to make it happen, and we
were able to there late.
Q. Drew, going into the seventh inning when you
knew you were up against it, what was the energy
like in the dugout? Where were you guys at at that
point?
DREW CAMPBELL: Like Coach said, it was just good
energy. Everybody had positive things to say in the
dugout, and just going around the dugout everybody
was just picking each other up, and we weren’t done,
they were just pushing.
Q. Drew, can you just walk us through what that
walk-off was like and as you kind of veered off into
left field and everybody was chasing you, but also
people coming from the bullpen to chase you.
What was that moment like?
DREW CAMPBELL: After the hit I rounded first. I
needed to get a triple still, and once I got around
second, just seeing the guys come at me, a lot of these
guys are bigger than me. I had to get out of the way
and run towards the left field wall.
Q. Danny, your hit there at the plate, kind of your
emotions there after scoring the run?
DANNY ORIENTE: Yeah, I mean, I was just trying to
move the ball with two strikes, honestly. I wasn’t
seeing the slider really well all night. The one pretty
much right at me was kind of buckling me. So just
trying to stay alive in the zone, hit anything that came in
the zone, and it worked out.
Q. Nick, how would you grade your performance
tonight?
NICK BENNETT: You know, I haven’t thrown in a
couple weeks in a live game, and I thought there was a
lot of positives that I could take away from today. I
think Coach Williams called a great game, and I was
really just proud of how the guys fought and how we
made big plays when we needed to and big hits when
we needed to.
I wouldn’t say it was my best performance, but I battled,
and that’s what the whole team seemed to do, so I’m
just really happy for the guys.
I wouldn’t say it was my best performance, but I battled,
and that’s what the whole team seems to do. So I’m
just really happy for the guys.
Q. Danny, what is it about this offense that allows
you guys to continue to fight like that? Through
the first six innings you really hadn’t done that
offensively?
DANNY ORIENTE: Yeah, I mean, any offense really,
but especially ours, it’s contagious. As soon as
someone gets that first hit, you almost know that the
next person is going to get to the next person in the
lineup. It may take a few rounds of the lineup to go
through to get that to click, but it usually works out.
Q. Drew, Coach has talked about the depth all year
and once again, the bottom of the order does it
here in this game. Can you just speak to the depth
of this team and how you guys at the bottom of the
order continued to get big hits?
DREW CAMPBELL: I mean, it’s been a fight all year,
even in the fall, just to be on this team. To have that
type of competition just makes us better. You could tell
in the scrimmages at the beginning of the year that we
were going to be a good team. Every game was
competitive, lifts were competitive, and that’s just the
Rev #1 by #222 at 2019-06-21 04:45:00 GMT page 1 of 3
type of team we are. We play fast.
Q. I think it was after the Vanderbilt game, Coach
said that having played in some of those close
games in the regional in particular and having to
grind out some wins and come through the loser’s
bracket maybe gave you an edge going forward.
Do you feel that’s the case? Do you feel like that
experience is now benefitting you here in Omaha?
NICK BENNETT: Absolutely. I think our team is battle
tested, and I think just the tough games that we’ve
played during the season, some really good ACC
competition on the weekends. The regional and super
regional has helped us a ton. You know, baseball is a
lot of mental side of the game, too, so I just think the
tough games and battling with one another helps us
mentally, as well, and gives us confidence in late-inning
games, close games, as well.
Q. Nick, you guys have talked a lot this year about
being the best team ever. First team to win two
games here in Omaha, does that mean anything to
you guys? What’s that like?
NICK BENNETT: You know, we’re really happy to be
the first team to do that, and that’s really cool and all,
but we’re not done with the business yet. There’s a lot
more baseball to be played, and I think the guys next to
me could say the same thing.
But yeah, we’re really happy about that, but we’re going
to forget about this and move on to tomorrow.
Q. The offense came through there late, but after
Nick went four innings your bullpen really had to
hold things together. Talk about the job the
bullpen did, especially pulling a young guy in that
situation.
DAN McDONNELL: Yeah, we’ve been talking about
depth with our position players, as well, and the bullpen
came through yesterday. We had a five-inning game
after Bobby Miller was able to throw four before it
started raining. But again, the bullpen was huge today.
That Hoeing gives us two in the third, freshman in
Garrett Schmeltz, just threw a slider, and Allen is a
really good hitter. But then he got the double play
ground ball right after that.
You said it, for Poland, it was really good the first half of
the year. He’s a position player and hurt his hand
sliding into second base, so we lost him as a hitter. But
he threw a huge inning in the championship game in
the regionals on that Monday. That was the eighth, I
think, or the ninth, and then Reid.
I give Nick Bennett a lot of credit because Nick pitched
Game 1 of the regional, and when we lost Game 2, you
realize, okay, we’ve got to play at least three more
games to win this, and Bobby steps up and Luke Smith
steps up, and Nick Bennett demands the ball on
Monday in a respectful way, but having pitched on
Friday, he wanted that start on Monday. And I think it
just kind of sent a message being that he’s a captain
and he’s a leader. Bobby Miller had his cleats on, Reid
Detmers had his cleats on, and that Monday to win a
regional, and everybody was wanting to help the team.
So I think a lot of the younger pitchers learned from
Nick. He’s the junior captain draft pick, and he’s willing
to put it on the line, and that’s been fun to watch
because these bullpen guys — we’re in a similar
situation now that they’re all champing at the bit, just
like Reid. That’s why Reid was really wanting to get
back out there and help this team.
Q. I guess since you lost the one game in the
regional, there’s been a card in the dugout every
game that said “Not today.” Can you talk about the
tone you were hoping to set with that message?
And did we just see a good example of that?
DAN McDONNELL: Yeah, it’s from a real popular show
that all the kids watch. I don’t watch it, but it’s just a
famous line in that show, and we just kind of took that
mantra. Actually my good buddy Rock Bellantoni, I
read his devotion after we won the super regionals.
He’s the one who actually sent me a text that morning.
He must be a fan of the show. And so I had Mike
Allman, our video guy, pull up some video, and I didn’t
realize how much — I heard the kids liked it but I didn’t
realize how much they liked it, and so we just keep
using that line, that “Not today.” Today is not going to
be the last day.
The kids like it, and we’ve got a hockey jersey in the
dugout, we’ve got a hockey puck. We say we’re
playing playoff hockey because when you get to Game
7, if you win, you advance to the next round. If you
lose, the season is over. This team has kind of acted
like this is playoff hockey.
Now, you’ve got to understand I’ve got a lot of
Midwest/Northern kids that like hockey. So there’s
probably not a ton of Southern college baseball players
that are into hockey, but my team is. So it’s just
whatever connects with them.
But yeah, it’s good to see the belief and the trust and
the fight all the way to the end.
Q. Dan, it looked like Drew got a tough read on that
ball that got their first run across the board. What
was it maybe about his makeup that allowed him to
atone for that at the plate, driving in two, including
the game winner?
DAN McDONNELL: Yeah, we talk about our toughness
Rev #1 by #222 at 2019-06-21 04:45:00 GMT page 2 of 3
all the time. The kids know I love them immensely, but
I’m tough on them, and I challenge them.
I think having played here a few times and all the balls
that were falling in front of him, he dove for one and
just missed it, he dove for another one, didn’t catch it,
he dove for one, he caught it. And I’m looking back at
the situation, there’s a runner on first, I believe, with
two outs, and no doubles. And I think he just got
caught up with the wind blowing in and he probably
creeped up a little more than he should have because I
just kind of challenged him when he was in the dugout
because he is such a good outfielder. He was our
center fielder for a period of time. And it’s the same
thing when he doesn’t get the bunt down. We talk a lot
about win the at-bat.
I think you can see a lot from our team in those two at
bats, with Oriente and Campbell. Now, I coach the
bunting, so I made a comment in the outfield, let’s fire
the guy who coaches the bunting, but then again, that’s
me, and it’s frustrating because we’re pretty good at it, I
thought, and we have two at-bats there where we don’t
get the bunt down, but we talk about it all the time. If
you don’t get the hit-and-run, you don’t get the bunt —
you don’t execute and you’re still alive, win the at-bat.
Show your toughness and win the at-bat. And I think
Oriente, that’s why I flipped him the shirt, because
Oriente won that at-bat, and then he flipped it to
Campbell, which is kind of our ritual, help the helper,
you’ve got to give the shirt to somebody else after the
prayer.
Those two at-bats by those two guys really showed our
toughness tonight.
Q. Dan, a walk-off win in an elimination game is
one thing, but having your best friend in the other
dugout, what was that like and what was the
embrace like after the game for you guys?
DAN McDONNELL: Yeah, it’s hard. It’ll be hard to talk
about it so I’m going to try not to. I don’t ever prepare
for the season to end. You don’t ever mentally go
there. It’s hard to. So when the season ends, I have
nothing prepared for what I’m going to say in the
outfield, and I have nothing prepared for this press
conference. But it dawned upon me that if we lost
today, I would have lost to one of my best friends.
I’ve been saying all season, people have been asking
about Mike Martin, and I’ve done some radio bits and a
lot of questions about him, and I’ve honestly told
everybody if you had to lose a game, and I’ve lost my
share, you’d want to lose to Mike Martin because of
how gracious he is, how complimentary he is, how
genuine he is. And you have so much respect for him.
And don’t get me wrong, everybody knows me, I hate
losing. I mean, I’m serious, like to a fault. I’m super
competitive.
But it dawned on me this morning, well, Mike Martin is
retired since he left last night, and I thought, okay, I’m
not going to coach against him anymore, so who would
I accept losing to more than any other coach in the
country, and I thought, well, isn’t this ironic, I’m playing
against Chris Lemonis tonight. So it just kind of gave
me a soft spot to go, if it happens tonight, be thankful
it’s to your best friend and he still gets to play.
Obviously if it doesn’t, I’m super excited for our kids,
our fans. We’ve worked hard for this.
You asked the question about — and I thought Nick
Bennett answered it great. They talk all the time about
being the best team that’s ever played here. That’s a
challenge these kids have, and they know, they know
what the records have been in the past, and they know
no team has never won two. We don’t talk about it. It’s
not a goal. We never say let’s get to Omaha and win
two games. But they answered the question. I think
they know they just accomplished something no other
Louisville team has ever accomplished.
But they still want more. And so I’m super excited and
happy for our kids. But you’ve got to hug your best
friend, and you realize his season is over. We’ve all
been there, and it’s happening — it’s already happened
to four teams in the past 48 hours or so, and it’s just —
it is what it is this time of the year.
But I did tell him again, this is the place — if we have to
do it, we have to do it in Omaha. We sure hope we
don’t ever have to do it in an earlier round.
Q. I’m guessing Luke will be the guy tomorrow on
the mound. Do you see it as an advantage that
he’s pitched against Vandy, or do you see it kind of
even out since Vandy has seen him?
DAN McDONNELL: Not so much an advantage. I just
thought Luke pitched a big game in the regionals. That
was huge. Once we’ve gotten into the loser’s bracket,
you’ve going to need more than three starters.
Everything happens for a reason, and Luke pitching
that great game in the regionals gives him and gives
our team the confidence to let’s go out there and
compete, and we get to play another great team
tomorrow night. You know, as a coach you always
think you could play a little bit better. We can run the
bases a little better, we can execute a little better, and
let’s see what happens.
So I’m super glad that I don’t have to give the end-of
the-season talk and really fired up for our kids, our fan
base, and for those Louisville folks that believed in us
and made the trip out and hopefully many more will be
making the trip out tomorrow.

Upcoming Schedule

Friday, June 21

Game 11 – Texas Tech (V) vs. Michigan (H), 2 p.m. ET

Game 12 – Vanderbilt vs. Louisville, 7 p.m. ET

Saturday, June 22

Bracket 1 (if necessary) – Texas Tech (V) vs. Michigan (H), 2 p.m. ET or 7 p.m. ET

Bracket 2 (if necessary) – Louisville vs. Vanderbilt, 7 p.m. ET

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