June 21, 2011

Recap |  Final Stats |  Notes

THE MODERATOR: Give us an overview, Coach?

COACH CHILDRESS: I'd like to congratulate Cal. They've got the opportunity to move on. Dave Esquer's done an amazing job this year. He's talking about his team and the things he's gone through. He definitely deserves "Coach of the Year" nomination for being the rock in the storm. The guy's playing better today. Michael gave us a great, great start. We took the lead. Adam had a big home run for us and gave us a lift.

Cal's hitters I thought did an amazing job today, and advantage counts. I'm talking about taking advantage of our pitching staff. 0--1, 1--2, and we just didn't make pitches. If we did, Cal didn't miss them. I think 7 of their 9 hits were with one or two strikes or advantage for our pitching staff. Those guys grinded out at--bats, got big hits. After we'd hit the home run, they'd come right back and hit the home run, two of them by way of errors and never looked back.

We did get back into it, but didn't have another inning where we could have had a run, but credit Cal. They did a great job. They're moving on and so are we. We're obviously proud to be here in Omaha. Appreciate the City of Omaha, State of Nebraska. It was a great experience here. Sure wish we could stay longer, but I'm very proud of the seniors that led us. They did an amazing job from start to finish. Some of others are going to move on and play. Others will move on and be successful young men, husbands, fathers and friends, but those guys did a great job for us.

Q. Michael, you're rolling along real good in the inning, a couple errors, two or three missed plays there, it seemed like it kind of shook you a little bit. Could you take us through that?
Michael Wacha: Yeah, I guess it kind of got me off my groove a little bit, but credit to Cal hitters. They just hit everything I threw up there. I mean, I just didn't make pitches whenever I needed to. I mean, whenever I was ahead in the count, and they made me pay for it.

That happened in the inning with the errors. I mean, we could have gotten out of it if I had made better pitches and then I guess innings after that.

Q. Coach, can you talk about the offense not able to put pressure on them only because you were only able to get men on base the first guy up a couple times?
COACH CHILDRESS: Yeah, the left--hander did an amazing job for them. He got them off to a really good start. The guy hadn't had a lot of starts. He matched Michael pitch for pitch. Made one mistake against Adam, and wasn't fazed by it. He had struggled at times. You look at his numbers with command, not just walking people, but hitting people. This stage didn't faze him.

He did a really good job. We did grab the lead, but we weren't able to extend it. They came right back and scored three by way of two errors and extended it to six is innings and made it 6--1.

Q. Adam, I know you had the home run, but what was Porter doing to keep you guys off balance out there?

Adam Smith: Our approach lately has really been to aim for the opposite field gap. I feel like he just kept us off balance with his off speed and his fastball. He wasn't overpowering, but he was a good pitcher. He knew what he was doing. He got us out of our approach, and we weren't able to string enough of the bats together to get a run across.

Q. Coach, what did you say to the team after the game as you gathered? Obviously emotions were probably high.

COACH CHILDRESS: Well, certainly so. I told the seniors thank you for the ride. Those guys earned everything they got, every opportunity they got as part of this program they earned. They weren't given anything. They all handled adversity. It's a great tribute to those guys. It's a great opportunity for our young guys. I told them take a look around here. We're expected to be back. I'm sorry that you didn't play better. Not for me, not for other coaches, but for you guys that you don't get to stay longer and experience this.

We've got a great team. Many of these guys have overcome a lot, certainly every other team here. They won everything they could. They won a Big 12 Championship, Big 12 Tournament, a Regional, Super Regional. We didn't play like we're capable of playing the two games that we were here. It's nobody's fault.

Those guys gave us everything all year long. These guys got it. It's a very selfless group. Not everybody gets to hit in the three hole. Not everybody gets to pitch on Friday night. That is our job as coaches. The toughest job we have as coaches is teaching selflessness. We can teach the swing, the delivery, the groundball.

But the hardest thing as a coach nowadays is to teach that. Not everybody, like I said, gets to pitch on Friday night or hit in the three hole. What we're trying to help these guys do is move on and become better players and better men, put rings on their fingers, not just championship rings, but turn out to be good husbands, good fathers and good friends.

Q. Coach, can you talk about today? It must be a little disappointing.

COACH CHILDRESS: I'm not disappointing in anybody. I'm disappointed for our guys that they didn't play hard. There's not a guy in our dugout that doesn't wish we had played better collectively. But, again, credit goes to South Carolina and California.

Q. You sort of touched on it, but with a lot of talent coming back, UC teams and Oregon State got here two and out, and won two straight National Championships. You should get back here with your talent if you make a run late. But talk about getting here and what it could mean to you next year?

COACH CHILDRESS: It's hard to get here. Talent alone doesn't just get you here. You have to have a lot of things go your way. You have to have guys sold out to one another and believe in what can I do today to help us win a championship? That's what is on our door going out to the field. Talent will only take you so far. Believing in yourself and being selfless is what it takes and getting some breaks along the way.
Every team that's here can tell you at some point the adversity they've overcome, number one, and number two, what break went their way down the stretch, whether there was a turning point in their conference season or turning point in the Regional or super Regional that got them here. Nobody's gotten them easy roads.

Our whole focus will be on getting better next fall before we start talking about getting back here.

Q. Do you feel growing pains, like you have to take one step at a time getting to the Super Regional and to get here the first time since '99 and so on?

COACH CHILDRESS: Well, I do. But there are teams that got here for the first time and made a great run. Talk about Oregon State, they didn't have to go through a lot of growing pains. The process we went through at Nebraska was very progressionary. We got to a Regional, Super Regional following year, broke through, got to Omaha.

For us it was a couple years removed before we got back to the Super Regional. We finally made that step and got here to Omaha.

But we've got a very good nucleus of young kids both on the mound and positionally that had great leadership all year long by these seniors. I would expect them to do a great job next fall.

Q. The sac fly when Naquin threw in high, was that a momentum play for you guys? It looked like you could get some momentum when he throws the guy out there and hold the game 2--1. How important a play was that in the game?

COACH CHILDRESS: It's one of the few times I haven't seen him be right on the money with the throw. He is that accurate. We've had some great outfielders at Texas A&M and Nebraska, guys that play in the big leagues, Adam Shabala, Adam Stern, those guys had big arms at Nebraska, but none of them were as accurate as Tyler is. You give him the ball seven more times in that same spot, and I guarantee you he's going to throw him out.

But it didn't happen. He made a better play in other spots and that throw's not that big a deal. But it was at that time. It would have been a big momentum shift for us getting off the field that way.

Q. A lot of this team talked about what happened last season in Miami and the hunger it gave you. What kind of hunger as one of the returning guys do you take into next year to try to get back here to Omaha?

Michael Wacha: Yeah, exactly what you said. I mean, we're all going to be hungry I guess that first day of fall next season. We'll just be ready and be fighting to be in the same position next year, hopefully with a different outcome.

Q. Adam, both you and Texas went 0--2 here. Does it say anything about the Big 12? Are these other leagues just stronger this year?

Adam Smith: No, I don't think this shows ---- this doesn't determine the strength of any conference, I don't believe. We didn't play our best baseball here in Omaha, unfortunately. We know what we're capable of. We know how we play. We've seen us do it before. We've come back from a lot more runs than four before, and today we just couldn't get it to click.

Q. Rob, could you talk about these games where you really didn't get your pressure offense going? I mean, you got behind in this game in the middle and other games you really with the left--handers on the mound didn't get to play your kind of offensive ballgame and how that had some setbacks for y'all this week?

COACH CHILDRESS: Well, I felt like we did in the first game against South Carolina. Away we go. I don't know how many innings it is until we score again, 12, 13 innings before we score again. But I guess credit goes to (Michael) Roth yesterday. He did a good job of slowing us down, didn't allow us to get our leadoff hitter on. And today I think we had our leadoff hitter on two or three times, and by the time we did, we were down 3--1, 6--1, and weren't able to do what we normally like to do offensively.