CWS Baseball Highlights/Postgame: Vanderbilt 3, Louisville 2

Tim Corbin, Pat DeMarco, Ethan Paul
Tim Corbin, Pat DeMarco, Ethan Paul

The Vanderbilt Commodores defeated the Louisville Cardinals 3-2 on Friday in Omaha at the College Baseball World Series. Look inside for highlights, press comments and a play-by-play.

Play by Play

Vanderbilt starters: 16/3b Martin; 51/rf Bleday; 10/ss Paul; 5/dh
Clarke; 18/cf DeMarco; 19/lf Scott; 2/2b Ray; 20/c Duvall; 22/1b
Infante; 44/p Hickman;
Louisville starters: 7/cf Dunn; 13/3b Binelas; 2/ss Fitzgerald; 43/1b
Wyatt; 20/lf Snider; 9/dh Oriente; 1/rf Campbell; 16/2b Lavey; 32/c
Davis; 45/p Smith;
Vanderbilt 1st – Martin grounded out to ss (2-0 BB). Bleday flied out
to rf down the rf line (0-1 K). Paul struck out swinging (2-2
BFFBS). 0 runs, 0 hits, 0 errors, 0 LOB.
Louisville 1st – Dunn popped up to cf to right center (0-0). Binelas
hit by pitch (2-2 FBBF). Binelas advanced to second on a wild
pitch. Fitzgerald struck out swinging (3-2 KBBBKS). Wyatt grounded
out to ss to second base (3-0 BBB). 0 runs, 0 hits, 0 errors, 1
L O B .
Vanderbilt 2nd – Clarke popped up to rf (0-0). DeMarco struck out
swinging (1-2 KFBS). Scott popped up to lf (0-0). 0 runs, 0 hits, 0
errors, 0 LOB.
Louisville 2nd – Snider grounded out to 1b unassisted (1-1 BS).
Oriente grounded out to ss (3-2 KKBBFB). Campbell singled to left
field (0-1 K). Campbell failed pickoff attempt. Lavey walked (3-2
BBBKFFB); Campbell advanced to second. Davis lined out to 1b (2-1
BBF). 0 runs, 1 hit, 0 errors, 2 LOB.
Vanderbilt 3rd – Ray walked (3-2 FBKBFBB). Duvall singled to center
field (0-0); Ray advanced to third. Infante grounded into double
play ss to 2b to 1b (1-0 B); Duvall out on the play; Ray scored.
Martin singled to pitcher (2-2 KSBFB). Martin failed pickoff
attempt. Martin failed pickoff attempt. Bleday struck out swinging
(1-2 KSBS). 1 run, 2 hits, 0 errors, 1 LOB.
Louisville 3rd – Dunn grounded out to 2b (2-2 KSFBB). Binelas struck
out swinging (2-2 BBFFS). Fitzgerald struck out swinging (2-2
KKBBS). 0 runs, 0 hits, 0 errors, 0 LOB.
Vanderbilt 4th – Paul popped up to lf (2-2 KBFB). Clarke struck out
swinging (1-2 BSFS). DeMarco popped up to lf (2-0 BB). 0 runs, 0
hits, 0 errors, 0 LOB.
Louisville 4th – Wyatt popped up to 3b (3-2 FFBFBFFBF). Snider
grounded out to 1b unassisted (1-2 KKB). Oriente popped up to rf
(0-0). 0 runs, 0 hits, 0 errors, 0 LOB.
Vanderbilt 5th – Scott struck out swinging (2-2 FSBBFS). Ray struck
out looking (2-2 BBFKK). Duvall popped up to cf (2-2 KSBB). 0 runs,
0 hits, 0 errors, 0 LOB.
Louisville 5th – Campbell grounded out to 1b unassisted (0-0). Lavey
walked (3-2 KBSBFFBFFFB). Lavey failed pickoff attempt. Lavey
failed pickoff attempt. Lavey failed pickoff attempt. Davis popped
up to 3b (1-2 FBS). Lavey failed pickoff attempt. Dunn popped up to
2b (1-0 B). 0 runs, 0 hits, 0 errors, 1 LOB.
Vanderbilt 6th – Infante flied out to cf (0-0). Martin reached on a
fielding error by 2b (1-0 B). Bleday struck out swinging (0-2 KSS).
Martin failed pickoff attempt. Martin failed pickoff attempt.
Martin failed pickoff attempt. Martin failed pickoff attempt. Paul
struck out swinging (3-2 BKFBBS). 0 runs, 0 hits, 1 error, 1 LOB.
Louisville 6th – Binelas popped up to ss (1-0 B). Fitzgerald grounded
out to 3b (0-1 K). Wyatt singled to left center (2-2 BKBS). Wyatt
failed pickoff attempt. Snider reached on a fielder’s choice to
shortstop (2-2 SBBK); Wyatt out at second ss unassisted. 0 runs, 1
hit, 0 errors, 1 LOB.
Vanderbilt 7th – Clarke singled up the middle (2-0 BB). DeMarco
popped up to cf to left center (2-1 BSB). Scott grounded into
double play 2b to ss to 1b (1-2 SBF); Clarke out on the play. 0
runs, 1 hit, 0 errors, 0 LOB.
Louisville 7th – Eder to p for Hickman. Oriente doubled to right
center (0-0). Leonard pinch ran for Oriente. Campbell grounded out
to p, SAC, bunt (0-1 F); Leonard advanced to third. Lavey reached
on a fielder’s choice to shortstop (1-1 SB); Leonard out at home ss
to c. Lavey failed pickoff attempt. Davis singled through the left
side (1-2 FFB); Lavey advanced to second. Davis advanced to second
on the throw; Lavey stole third, scored on a throwing error by c.
Dunn singled up the middle, RBI (2-0 BB); Davis scored, unearned.
Dunn stole second. Binelas grounded out to 1b unassisted (1-1 BS).
2 runs, 3 hits, 1 error, 1 LOB.
Vanderbilt 8th – Ray struck out swinging (3-2 BBBKKFFFS). Duvall
grounded out to 2b (2-2 KBBF). Infante struck out swinging (2-2
BSBSS). 0 runs, 0 hits, 0 errors, 0 LOB.
Louisville 8th – Fitzgerald popped up to rf (2-1 BBK). Wyatt popped
up to lf down the lf line (3-2 BKBSB). Snider popped up to lf (1-2
KBSFF). 0 runs, 0 hits, 0 errors, 0 LOB.
Vanderbilt 9th – Martin grounded out to ss (2-2 BKBSFF). Bleday
walked (3-1 BKBBB). Paul doubled down the rf line, RBI (2-0 BB);
Bleday scored. McAvene to p for Smith. Clarke singled to right
center (1-1 BF); Paul advanced to third. DeMarco doubled down the
lf line, RBI (0-2 KFF); Clarke advanced to third; Paul scored.
Fentress pinch ran for Clarke. Scott intentionally walked. Ray
struck out swinging (3-2 BBBKKS). Duvall grounded out to 2b (0-1
F). 2 runs, 3 hits, 0 errors, 3 LOB.
Louisville 9th – Brown to p for Eder. Britton pinch hit for Leonard.
Britton struck out swinging (0-2 FFS). Campbell doubled down the rf
line (1-1 BF). Lavey struck out swinging, out at first c to 1b (1-2
BSFFFS). Davis popped up to 2b (1-2 SKB). 0 runs, 1 hit, 0 errors,
1 LOB.

Vanderbilt Quotes

TIM CORBIN: Well, I thought it was a very well-played
college baseball game. Certainly emotional for both
sides. When you get to this point, you’re trying to
separate yourself from another championship team
because really all these teams right now are
championship level, and Dan’s team certainly is that.
But I thought we got a very good pitching performance.
We certainly had to stabilize their offense because runs
were very expensive tonight. Luke Smith certainly
pitched extremely well. He frustrated us. He was
landing a lot of pitches. He was landing his off-speed
pitches and secondary pitches, and we couldn’t get
anything going.
We had some good base running in that one inning
where we did score when Harry went from first to third.
But then just at the end, we got some very clutch hits,
JJ finding first base and Ethan putting a good swing
down in the corner and JJ just getting around the
bases on what was a very tough, close play, and then
Patrick just putting the ball in play with two strikes with
a guy at third base.
But it was well defended. Certainly ended emotionally.
And, yeah, just a tough, well-played game by both
sides.
Q. For Pat, from us watching from afar, it looked
like the shouting match between Smith and Julian
in the eighth stirred you guys up a little bit. How
much do you think that had to do with the rally in
the ninth?
PAT DeMARCO: You know, I think that’s just
competition. He was pitching a great game, and he
was keeping us off balance, and he was feeling
confident. You know, in the middle of competition, you
can’t really say that he’s being unsportsmanlike or
anything like that. We try not to give energy to the
other team. We know how that works. So we just tried
to recenter ourselves, come back and focus the energy
on us, and we came out on the right side.
Q. Ethan, can you walk us through that last at-bat
and what’s going through your head as he’s
pitching to you?
ETHAN PAUL: Yeah, I mean, hats off to him. He
pitched a really good game. His pitch count was I think
over 110, so he went deep into that game and walked
JJ on some close pitches. But I knew that he was
close to his end, so I just wanted to get a pitch that I
could handle. I wasn’t going to expand for him or
chase or anything like that. Just got in a hitter’s count
and got the pitch I was looking for and put a barrel on
it.
Q. Ethan, you’d already seen him three times. I
think he struck you out a couple times. That fourth
time through the lineup, do you feel like having
seen him already three times in the game that gives
you a little extra insight into how to attack him, and
what did he wind up giving you there?
ETHAN PAUL: Yeah, any time you can see a pitcher
four times, it helps. It doesn’t matter who it is. But at
the end of the day I was just going to go with my
approach and my plan, and I wasn’t going to give him
anything on the corners or anything like that, I was just
going to look for a good pitch to hit, and that’s just what
I got. I got a heater pretty center cut and just put a
good barrel on it.
Q. Pat, Ethan, last year in the super regional in
Game 3 you guys had the two big hits in the
bottom of the ninth, still just wasn’t enough to pull
it out. This year ninth inning you two guys do it
again. What does it mean to get it done and send
you guys to the finals?
ETHAN PAUL: Yeah, that’s a big moment. This team is
special because no one really cares who steps up and
gets that big hit or that big play. I mean, I can say
honestly I think that this team just wants to compete
and play all nine. We knew we had to play a complete
game to beat those guys tonight, and some guys
stepped up when we needed them.
Q. Ethan, a long time ago, it seemed like it was
forever ago, Mason pitched a phenomenal game to
keep you guys in it. What can you say about the
poise that he had to protect that 1-0 lead?
ETHAN PAUL: Yeah, he’s a mature kid. He’s pitched a
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lot in his career already here, and I knew that he was
going to give us a quality start. He’s always done that
for us. Whether he doesn’t start off like he wants to,
he’s going to bounce back, or if he comes out pitching
well, we’re always leaning on him and he comes up in
those big moments for us, so the guys trust him a lot,
and he came up for us today.
Q. Ethan, can you discuss the play where the
infield is in, ball comes to you, not your glove hand
side, and you throw a strike to home?
ETHAN PAUL: We train that so much back at Vandy. I
just didn’t want to rush the play, just trust myself and
make a good throw. In those moments you try not to
do too much and you just don’t panic and you just
make a good play.
Q. Just more broadly, what can you say about the
effort you’ve got on the mound from all your guys
this week? Seems like they’ve been able to set the
tone and keep the other team at bay and give your
offense time to get to work?
TIM CORBIN: Yes, they have. They’ve followed each
other very well, Drake certainly in the first game
against Louisville. He was coming off a couple starts
that weren’t Drake-like, but I thought he centered
himself very well and pitched extremely well.
And Kumar, I thought that outing was outstanding, just
to come into that environment for the first time. And
tonight Mason did everything that he could just to keep
us in the game, and he did. He left with a zero on the
scoreboard, so he gave us a chance to win. And he’s
been very consistent, too. That’s the word I would use
with all of them.
Q. Tim, along the lines of what I had asked Pat
about, the words back and forth in the eighth
inning, do you think he was basically saying that
they needed to control their emotions; that that’s
what’s important there, an emotional ending?
TIM CORBIN: Yeah, we talked about that before the
game started. I thought it would get to that point at
some time, and I thought the most important thing was
containing emotions and containing adrenaline at
certain points, and I felt it could happen.
I knew at some point they would land a punch, and it
was going to be a matter of how we responded, and I
thought the guys did a nice job. You can’t play this
game angry. You just can’t. You have to contain your
emotions. You have to breathe, and you have to center
yourself in order to deliver a pitch or get the barrel to
the ball. Ethan did that. That was a huge at-bat. But
Ethan has been a part of a lot of big at-bats at
Vanderbilt.
Q. Coach, there’s a lot of talk about how explosive
your offense is, but this is a game that you were
kind of held at bay for eight innings and then you
get that chance to kind of break through in the
ninth. What do you think it says about just how
difficult it is to hold this offense down all the way
through the game? And in some ways it is almost
more impressive these guys were able to rally late
at the end when they’ve been shut down all game?
TIM CORBIN: Yes, because of the frustration that
exists throughout a game when that typically doesn’t
happen, but you have to give all the credit to Luke
Smith. They put everything on that kid’s shoulders
tonight, and he pitched into the ninth inning and gave
them a chance to win that ballgame. He was landing
pitches, he was — when he was behind in the count, he
was landing changeups and breaking balls.
I mean, that kid did such a quality job of containing us,
and it’s not easy to do. I’ve seen this team for a long
period of time right now. You have to really concentrate
for nine hitters.
I give the credit to him, and they played good defense
behind him, as well.
Q. Now that you’ve locked your spot up in the
finals, what are some of your initial thoughts on
facing off against Michigan?
TIM CORBIN: I don’t have thoughts right now about
that. You know, after Erik completed that win today, I
was very happy for him. I mean, it goes without saying.
We spend a lot of time together, our families spend a
lot of time together.
But I think right now I just want to enjoy this win tonight
and focus on the kids and the ability just to
decompress and take a breath — them, us, everyone.
That was an emotional game in so many different
ways.
It’s tough to end a season that way. In Dan’s regard,
he’s going to coach a bunch of our kids this summer,
and he’s such a good guy, but from our vantage point,
just to kind of wind down a little bit, and thank
goodness we don’t have to play tomorrow.
Q. Tim, Tyler Brown shuts the door again. I think
he broke the school record for single season saves
tonight. Can you talk about what it’s like to have a
guy you can really lean on in big pressure
situations like tonight?
TIM CORBIN: He contains his emotions unlike anyone
I’ve ever seen before, in terms of what I’ve coached, at
least at Vanderbilt, in terms of getting the ball. Those
saves, I understand what the statistic save means, but
his saves are critical. If you go back and look at the
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nature of each one of those, his ability to focus and his
ability to execute and his ability to stay in his lane and
not get outside of himself is admirable. That’s a
wrestler, that’s a dad, that’s a — he’s still a sophomore
in college. He doesn’t look like one, but he still is. He’s
still 19 years old, 20 years old.
But his ability to contain his emotions is elite, extreme.
It’s extremely good.
Q. Can you just speak to the ninth inning? You
have the game on the line, you’ve got Tyler out
there, you get the tough break, Harrison makes the
great play to end it. How did that look from the
dugout?
TIM CORBIN: Geez, I don’t know. He got a good burst
on the ball. It was a hell of a play. I mean, you’ve got a
ball that just shot up about 12 feet in the air, and it’s in
between the pitcher and the second baseman. I mean,
yeah, when he caught the ball, I thought it was just
such an outstanding play right there. Ethan’s was
great early in the game.
But you make a good pitch, and there were some
bizarre happenings tonight. It’s just one of those
games. Ball hits the bag, come-backer that wasn’t
handled that rolls past Ethan, goes into left field. That
was just kind of a different game. But I’ve seen the
balls hit the bags here in Omaha before. That’s how
we lost in 2015. That’s not much fun. But my mind
didn’t go there. I felt like Tyler could contain that inning.
Q. Tim, we’ve asked you a lot of things about your
balance in your lineup and there’s no one best
player, there’s many best players. Does that come
in most useful in games like this that’s close, to
have that balance across the lineup where the
pressure is shared among the whole lineup?
TIM CORBIN: I believe so, because I never — as I tell
the kids, I never look at our lineup and go, this is the
leadoff guy. I just go, we have to line nine guys up, and
we have a lot of — just have a lot of confidence in each
kid and their skill set. What I have the most confidence
in is their ability to understand their skill set and not go
outside of that.
But Smith did a nice job of frustrating enough to where
we did leave that skill set. We couldn’t get to the
backside of the field consistently, and because of that,
balls were left in the air and balls were left on the
ground in places that they could field and defend.

Louisville Quotes

DAN McDONNELL: Congratulate Vanderbilt. It’s a
really good team. They play clean. They make you
earn it. It wasn’t easy to score off them the two times
we played them. So they get to move on.
But I really want to focus on our team, our effort, and
how much fun this was this entire season. Take a lead
into the ninth, man, Luke Smith, what a performance,
and super proud of him and all these guys that fought
hard. It’s not easy to get this far.
There’s a lot I want to brag on them in this meeting, so
let me wrap up and let you guys ask these student
athletes some questions.
Q. Justin, I’m curious, from your perspective, how
much fun is it to play behind a guy like Luke who
not only is efficient and effective but wears his
heart on his sleeve and goes out and attacks?
JUSTIN LAVEY: Yeah, Luke has done it all year for us.
It’s super fun playing behind him. You know he’s going
to go out and give it his all. His emotion plays on
everybody, and it rubs off on you. And he just did his
thing tonight, and it was amazing.
Q. Luke, to follow that up, you and Julian Infante
kind of had some words back and forth. I know
you play with a lot of emotion. Was that something
he said or the adrenaline in you?
LUKE SMITH: That was just the adrenaline. Vanderbilt
is a great team, and I respect — I love that part of
baseball. When they got their big hit in the ninth, they
celebrate; that’s how it goes. When I strike somebody
out, I celebrate, and that’s just the way it is.
Q. Luke, after you come back in the eighth, what
kind of discussion did you have about going back
there for the ninth? Did you kind of tell them, hey, I
want to finish this thing?
LUKE SMITH: I absolutely wanted to — that’s every —
to pitch a complete game in a College World Series is
something not very many people can say. I had
confidence in myself going back out there, and I’m
appreciative of the coaching staff believing in me. I left
a ball over the plate, and the guy put it in the right spot.
Q. Justin, you’ve seen what Luke has been able to
do in back-to-back elimination games for you guys.
What does that speak to the future of what you
guys have? You bring him back, Detmers and
Bobby in the starting rotation.
JUSTIN LAVEY: Yeah, it’s super exciting. Obviously
this one hurts, but looking ahead, it looks bright, and
we’ve got great players coming back, and it should be
another great year next year.
Q. Justin, talk about this season. You guys have
had the ups and downs, you’ve fought with your
backs against the wall many times. What does this
team mean to you guys as a group?
JUSTIN LAVEY: Yeah, this team is just a special group.
A lot of love we have for each other, we play for each
other every game. In that regional we had our backs
against the wall, and we all came together, and that
was something special. Not a lot of teams can do that.
We had it here, same thing. We came back and won a
couple games. Super special group, so it was a great
year.
Q. Guys, all season you guys have sought out to
be the so-called best team ever for Louisville
baseball. Given you were the first Louisville team
to win multiple games in the College World Series,
do you feel like you’ve accomplished that goal?
JUSTIN LAVEY: That was actually the first thing Coach
Mac said to our team. That’s what definitely brought
on more waterworks from me, so thank you for that.
But, yeah, I mean, that’s something, from day one, that
was our goal, to be the best team he’s ever coached.
To accomplish that is something super special, and it
takes a special group.
LUKE SMITH: Yeah, I’d say the same thing. It means
the world to do that, and both of us coming back next
year, we’ve got a chance to do that again. That
journey, while this one hurts, the new journey starts.
I love all these guys, and it hurts so bad because you
grow to love these guys and you spend every — seems
like every hour of every day with them sweating and
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just working hard and stuff.
It stings, but Coach Mac is one of the best, and he
prepares everybody for — whether you play pro ball
afterwards or whatever you’re doing in life. I’m very
appreciative of that.
Q. Justin, you mentioned the run you guys have
been on from the regional to now. When you guys
had your backs against the wall, especially going
into that ninth inning, the success you guys have
had in those situations, does that make you guys
confident you would pull this out?
JUSTIN LAVEY: Yeah, we had all the confidence in our
guys. We had a guy on second with one out. We had
a chance. We fight. We fight until the last out and
leave it all on the field, and that takes a special group.
We just couldn’t get it done today.
Q. Dan, this group has been on a pretty crazy
journey since the tournament started. Can you put
into words just what this journey has been like for
you to see them grow from where they were in the
regional to where they are now?
DAN McDONNELL: You know, I think your hope as a
coach is that the kids buy in, and you work so hard the
summer and the fall and the winter months, and a lot of
things that we do in our program is for the most
season. So you might not understand it in February or
March, but when the postseason starts, we want to be
tournament ready, and all that hard work comes
together and guys play well. It’s a good feeling.
I know coaches get a lot of credit, but the kids gotta
buy in. At the end of the day, talented or not, they have
to buy in and they have to be able to execute and go
out there and believe, and they did that.
For them, I’m super proud. As they said, I told them in
the outfield, it’s a goal. It’s not easy. You come to the
University of Louisville to be the best team ever. But
with that being said, they can’t be the best team ever if
it’s not for the ’07 team, if it’s not for all the players that
I’ve coached, and honestly probably those before them.
I get a lot of pride from the alumni, and it’s a program.
You can’t — it’s hard to accomplish great things like that
without being a great program, and that includes a lot
of people. Obviously our administration. Our support
staff is amazing — Coach Williams, Coach Snider,
Coach Vrable, Coach Mundorf. But it’s also the people
around our program, Emily and Zach and Pat and
Chris Morgan and Doc, and there’s so many people
that spend so much time and effort to help these kids
be the best that they can be.
When you can make a run like this, 50-win season,
plus win season, you win the ACC, you’re the No. 1
seed in one of the best leagues in the country, it’s a
great feeling. I’m really proud of this group.
Q. Dan, usually when you guys are talking in the
outfield, you usually end it with you haven’t
finished everything yet. When that yet comes to an
end, what’s the overall message to the guys when
you guys are huddled out there?
DAN McDONNELL: I challenge them to keep their
head high. I want to celebrate this group, celebrate it
with their teammates, celebrate it with their family, with
their friends.
When I say celebrate this group, I told the juniors and
seniors, those that are going on to pro ball how ready
they are, the academic success they had. We’re on
eight straight years, 16 straight semesters with a team
GPA of a 3.0 or higher. These guys get it done in the
classroom. The community, they understand it’s much
more than just them. They get involved in the
community, and they should give back to a great
community like Louisville, Kentucky.
So as the saying goes, how you do anything is how you
do everything. You know, I just wanted to celebrate this
group out there, and I tell them, just like I said, I guess,
yesterday, I don’t prepare — I try to prepare scouting
reports and pregame speeches and in the outfield, but
I just try to never go to that place when the season
ends, what am I going to say.
How Coach Martin did, what Coach Martin did, I guess
he had a lot of time to prepare for that. He knew
eventually it was going to happen, even if they won the
national championship. I was so impressed watching
his locker room speech. But as I’m watching it, I’m
going: I can’t go there. Like I can’t prepare something.
I can’t write something down. I’m just going to have to
wing it. It’s just going to have to come off the top of my
head because as I’m writing notes here, as I’m sitting
here, because I just didn’t want to prepare for that, just
trust God, He’ll give me the words, and I’ll speak from
the heart, and I’ll celebrate this group. That’s what I
told them in the outfield.
Q. You’ve given Vandy two of its toughest games of
the past two months. What makes them such a
tough out for this next round?
DAN McDONNELL: You know, they do everything well.
I think what’s probably most impressive about this team
— nothing against past teams, Tim has had a ton of
great teams, but the lineup, it’s such a really good
lineup. I mean, you have the middle of the lineup beat
us there, but they’ve always got great pitching. They’re
always good defensively. They always have team
speed.
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But I think this is one of the better lineups they’ve ever
had, and that’s not a knock on their past lineups. I
mean, come on, they’re pumping out great players
every year, but this to me seems to be one of the most
complete lineups, and they jam all those lefties in the
lineup, and they can — they’re pretty good with their
splits. It’s not like they’ve got lefties that can’t hit left
handed pitching.
You know, the exciting thing is Tim gets to go against
Erik, and that will be something I’ll hope for in the
future, that McDonnell can go against Lemonis coming
from different brackets.
Q. This is the second time in a row an elimination
game Luke has put up a performance like that.
One, does that excitement kind of make you — does
that performance make you excited for the future
with that program? And did you ever think about
pulling him in that ninth before the double?
DAN McDONNELL: Yeah, it’s a great question. We’re
definitely excited about the future. We’ve got a lot of
talent returning, a lot of talent coming in. But it’s
something Coach Williams and I, we always discuss
late in the game, and he’s very respectful of my
opinion, even though I’m going to — 99 percent of the
time I’m going to go with his thought.
I just felt really good. I just — I’d probably feel worse
now if I took him out, we blow the lead in the ninth, and
it’s always hindsight. You don’t know.
But the way he was pitching, how he kept their hitters
off balance, and even though it was emotional, that
was him. That’s how he pitches. I go back to Josh
Rogers. I told Sean Moth on the postgame radio show,
we took Josh out, he’s a Big League pitcher now, and
he was super emotional, against Cal State Fullerton,
like crossing the line, but it’s college baseball, we kind
of let that slide a little bit. And he gave us like six or
seven innings, and I just remember thinking: He’s just
too emotional and let’s take him out and trust our
bullpen. And we ended up losing that game in like 11
innings. And I always kind of kick myself.
You know, and that’s the challenge in coaching, is you
don’t want to take your pitcher out too early and you
don’t want to take him out too late.
But I think I can sleep tonight. I mean, you get the best
hitter in the country out to lead off the inning, you close
on Bleday. I thought those pitches were close. I’m not
saying they were strikes or not, but it wasn’t like he was
all over the place. And then your 3-hole hitter hooks
one down the corner, and that’s a tandem relay I wrote
in my game notes. He’s out at the plate if we make a
clean relay. I mean, there’s two outs with a runner on
second, and as a coach, man, that always hurts
because it’s something we work on every week,
tandem relays.
So you write that in your game notes, and it just
reminds you next year you’d better work on those
tandem relays.
Let me thank Randy and Chad and the NCAA. Let me
thank the baseball committee and those ADs. They
spend a lot of time, and I’ve gotten a chance to speak
to that group, and that’s a big commitment, man.
They’re giving up days, weeks of their life, leaving their
families to help run such a great event. And I’m
biased, but I’d say this has got to be one of the greatest
events in the country. I’m so blessed that we were a
part of it, and I just want to thank everybody.
Our media, man, they come out. Louisville is a great
sports city, and I’m just proud that we give them
something to follow, especially this last month. You
could follow us a little more in February, but I know
basketball is going on, and I understand. But I do
really appreciate their support and their attention. And
for the fans that came out here, spent a lot of money
and dropped their schedule for all those back in
Louisville, Kentucky, and following us on TV, I’m real
appreciative. We’ve got something special going here,
and I don’t ever want to take that for granted.
We’re 13 years into this. Vandy might pass us if they
keep winning games, but going into the season we
were the winningest program in all of college baseball,
12 years running. So I think we’re going to be up
there. I don’t know if we’ll hold on to the No. 1 spot.
And so for that, I give God the glory. He’s blessed this
program, and as I always end it, we’ll be back.
Thanks, everyone.

Upcoming Schedule

Monday, June 24

CWS Finals Game 1 – Michigan vs. Vanderbilt, 7 p.m. ET

Tuesday, June 25

CWS Finals Game 2 – Vanderbilt vs. Michigan, 7 p.m. ET

Wednesday, June 26

CWS Finals Game 3 (if necessary) – Michigan vs. Vanderbilt, 7 p.m. ET

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