2015 Men's College World Series

Friday, June 19

Florida 10 - Virginia 5

Virginia


An Interview With:
COACH BRIAN O'CONNOR
KENNY TOWNS
NATHAN KIRBY

THE MODERATOR: Representing Virginia, head coach Brian O'Connor, third baseman Kenny Towns and starting pitcher Nathan Kirby. Coach, an opening statement.

COACH O'CONNOR: Certainly, Florida's got a really good ballclub, good offensive club, good pitching depth. I thought their starter, Logan Shore, was pretty darned good today. Certainly we had opportunities there in the second through the sixth inning with runners on and just couldn't capitalize, and that's to his credit. Certainly he buckled down. He does as good a job as you'll see in changing speeds and locating and pitched a very, very good ballgame. I was proud of our guys that we didn't go away. We hung in there and mounted a fight there towards the back part of the game. But it just wasn't enough. You know, they got nine of their ten runs in two innings and that's to their credit. We just couldn't put them away in a couple of those innings. We were able to do that the other night against them, and so but we have another opportunity tomorrow, and looking forward to that chance.

THE MODERATOR: Questions.

Q. Brian, was it unrealistic to think that you were going to totally shut down that offense for a second straight game?
COACH O'CONNOR: I knew it was going to be difficult. Certainly, they've had a nice offensive ballclub all year long. They have the ability to score from different spots in the lineup. They've got power. They've got speed. They've got a really, really nice club. I don't ever try to forecast of what's going to happen during the game, but I knew it would take a good effort, starting with Kirby. And I think the first couple of innings he got us off to a nice start. And I think they made a nice adjustment against him in the third inning, and credit them. And I knew that we were going to have to chop the game up out of our bullpen, and everybody was going to have to do the job. And to their credit they capitalized on two big innings.

Q. Nathan, first time you've pitched in two months, how do you feel you've done today?
NATHAN KIRBY: I just wanted to throw strikes, especially at this stage. You see what happens when you give the other team momentum and a couple extra bases a lot of times they're going to capitalize. The game plan was really just to go out and throw strikes and make them beat me.

Q. Nathan, maybe they made adjustment, as Brian said. What do you think that was it in the third inning, what did you see in that third inning that was maybe different than the first two?
NATHAN KIRBY: They stayed back on the ball and took advantage of a couple of pitches that I left down the middle of the plate.

Q. Brian, given how today went, how do you feel about how your pitching stacks up for tomorrow?
COACH O'CONNOR: I feel good about tomorrow. I haven't decided who will start. But we certainly have a couple of different options. And I feel good about it. We've got some pretty darned good guys left, and so we'll see what the right decision is. We'll make a decision at some point this evening on what we're going to do.

Q. Coach, you came out very aggressive offensively today. You were first- and second-pitch swings, especially against Shore early in the game. Was that the plan or was that just how it played out today?
COACH O'CONNOR: I think it's just how it played out. To his credit, he does a great job. He doesn't really get into a pattern from a pitching standpoint. And so you just gotta hope that you see the ball up in the zone and you can get a good pass at it. And you can see that he buckled down in those middle innings and made some big pitches when we did have runners in scoring position. And Matt Thaiss put a good swing on that ball in the first inning, and then we just couldn't muster another hit with a runner in scoring position until we got to the seventh inning.

Q. Coach, looking at Nathan, how would you kind of assess his stuff the first couple of innings and overall just being able to see him finally pitch?
COACH O'CONNOR: It was great to see him out there. I knew it was going to be limited. It was going to be somewhere, it wasn't going to be over 60 pitches. Somewhere between 45 and 60 pitches. We were obviously hopeful that he could maybe give us three clean innings and I thought he looked really good in the first couple, and he was fine in the third. Just Florida is going to -- they're talented and they're going to make you pay. They're on the barrel a lot and they're going to make you pay when you leave pitches over the middle of the plate. So it was great to see. You know, he's certainly healthy and certainly he can build off that, that's for sure.

Q. Kenny, you guys had only five hits the first game against Florida, had ten today. Does that give you something to build off offensively the way you swung the bats today?
KENNY TOWNS: Absolutely, I think we went out there and swung the bats pretty well today. But as Coach mentioned we really didn't get those big hits in those big situations. But I think everyone is swinging the bats with confidence, so I think everyone will feel good going into tomorrow.

Q. Coach, obviously as good as Nathan is, a little bit of the roll of the dice for a guy who hasn't pitched in game action in two months. How much did you consider going with Connor? And did the fact that you were in the winner's bracket, get another one tomorrow, give you a little bit of luxury there to go with him, roll the dice?
COACH O'CONNOR: I had made the decision in the middle of this week that, one -- we're 2-0 and we're here to try to win a national championship. Certain guys are going to have to rise up for that to happen. I also made the decision that Connor Jones would not throw a third time here. And when I made that decision, I had decided to -- if we were able to win tonight's ballgame then you could have him to potentially go Game 1 of the championship series. So in no way was I going to pitch him today and then bring him back potentially on a Wednesday. So once that decision was made, just felt like this was the right move, and I was really confident that Nathan would get us off to the right start and a handful of guys would have to do the job out of the pen.

Q. Coach, could Waddell be one of the options for Saturday, and is there enough rest time and is there a temptation given his success that he had Monday night against Florida's lineup?
COACH O'CONNOR: I wouldn't be concerned about it being a temptation. He was pretty efficient on Monday. I think he threw just shy of 100 pitches. If he did pitch tomorrow, it would be on four days' rest. Certainly we'll analyze that and determine what the best thing is. But he absolutely could be an option.

THE MODERATOR: Thank you.
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