2015 Men's College World Series

Tuesday, June 23

Virginia 3 - Vanderbilt 0

Virginia


An Interview With:
COACH BRIAN O'CONNOR
THOMAS WOODRUFF
ADAM HASELEY
JOSH SBORZ

THE MODERATOR: Representing Virginia, head coach Brian O'Connor, right fielder Thomas Woodruff, relief pitcher Josh Sborz and starting pitcher Adam Haseley. Coach, an opening statement.

COACH O'CONNOR: Just we're excited that we have a chance to play again tomorrow night. And certainly Adam Haseley rose to the occasion on the mound and gave us just a high-quality start. And Josh Sborz did what he's been doing this entire tournament in grinding out the back half of the game and showed what he's made of. And then this guy here, I don't know when the last time he started a game was, but certainly he put some great swings on the baseball and played some great right field, and just a total team effort and just really proud that we have another chance to play and looking forward to tomorrow night.

THE MODERATOR: Questions?

Q. Brian, you went with a lineup that you have not used before, I think, or don't use often. What went into the decision to start Thomas?
COACH O'CONNOR: Once I had made the decision to start Adam Haseley on the mound, it was clear that that was the right thing to do. And this guy has been as unselfish and as a team player as you could possibly be for four years. And I really believe that at the most important time you get rewarded for that, and certainly it showed true today. And it worked. We just did enough.

Q. Brian, your 8 and 9 hole hitters, including Thomas, went 6 for 8 today with three RBIs. You had Adam come on the hill, first time starting in a month. You win this game. Can this sum up this ride you've been on in the last month?
COACH O'CONNOR: I think so. It certainly does. I'm also a big believer that to be in this position, to compete for a national championship you need guys to rise to the occasion that maybe hadn't yet or what people didn't expect. I think if you go back and look at the history of this event, there's been players that have emerged and got big hits or pitched quality innings for their team. And tonight was certainly a case of that.

Q. Brian, you look throughout the history of the World Series and guys, you see their pictures on posters and things like that. You almost feel like Josh has become that guy in this World Series. When you sit back as a coach and watch what he's done through this World Series, what's kind of going through your head?
COACH O'CONNOR: Just Josh Sborz, since he has been here, and really specifically the last two years, has every time we've asked this guy to pitch a big ballgame for us, whether it be Game 3 of the Super Regional last year against Maryland, whenever it's been this year, numerous times last year he has taken his game to a different level. And you can see how talented he is and he's just a model of consistency. And in order to have a chance to win this thing, you need somebody like that to really step up, and he's done the job all year. But certainly during these two weeks he's been really exceptional.

Q. Brian, you had said coming into this you guys were going to piece it together pitching. Did you get more than maybe even you expected out of Adam in that start?
COACH O'CONNOR: I'm not sure. You know, I just know this, the last time he started a ballgame was against NC State in the conference tournament four weeks ago, the last time he pitched for us. You just don't know how it's going to go. But I know this: He's got a lot of pride. He's got a lot of pride in his teammates. This guy has been, in high school, he's been on the world stage, playing for U.S.A. Baseball and performed at a very, very high level. And so I knew that he wouldn't be in awe of the situation. You know, 25,000 people, everything on the line. I knew he would go out there and throw strikes and give us a chance. I had no idea how deep he'd pitch. And I'm glad he gave us five strong innings.

Q. Adam, what were your nerves like? Did you have any coming into this? And did it help that you didn't come into this -- yeah, you haven't been on the mound in Omaha yet, but you've been in center field? And for Josh, just want to follow up with what you saw from Adam in those first five innings.
ADAM HASELEY: I think it was a different kind of nerves than just like your regular game from playing in the field. But I do think playing some games before this in the field and being out there and having some playing time did help. You're already familiar of how the field kind of plays, how the game goes. So it did help a little bit playing before.

JOSH SBORZ: He just came out really confident and excited to pitch for his team. It was pretty clear that he was relaxed. And just throughout the game he was extremely efficient, was able to get four or five innings, I think. And was able to keep us in it.

Q. Thomas, you've scored the winning run at the College World Series a couple of times. But never had a game like this. What was the experience like for you?
THOMAS WOODRUFF: It was definitely new. I honestly -- I didn't feel as nervous as I expected to. I was kind of relaxed, just trying to enjoy it. This or, I guess, now tomorrow could have been my last college game, just try to go out there and enjoy it. Definitely a new experience and very exciting.

Q. Coach, tomorrow is it. What do you guys -- how are you going to go into tomorrow differently than today? Are you going to try to hold the same game plan? What's going through your head?
COACH O'CONNOR: Tomorrow will be no different than any game that we've played here in Omaha this year. I'm going to say it again. This team's earned the right to play another ballgame, and that's how they will treat it. I don't think they'll put any more into it than they have at this point. Certainly we're going to have to play great baseball to beat a great Vanderbilt club. And they'll just continue to go out there and play the best they can and hopefully in the end have a chance to win the ballgame.

Q. Thomas, you've been such a great team guy kind of waiting for your chance to contribute at any time you can. To get a chance like this to start and get three hits in the College World Series, is it kind of surreal? And, Coach, if you could comment on this guy being a good soldier for so long and then having his chance today?
THOMAS WOODRUFF: It's definitely a little surreal. But I think the approach that I try to take in practice and treat it like a game and treat it like every repetition matters. You get out there and everything is just like practice, and it kind of slows down and you don't expect it, but you know and you're confident in your abilities and you can trust your preparation much better.

COACH O'CONNOR: I don't know what to say. This guy on Friday night at the opening ceremonies got the award for the top student-athlete. Graduated with, I don't know, a 3.8, 3.7 or 3.8 in engineering from the University of Virginia. And I know his teammates will say the same thing that, you know, every practice this guy has given it everything he's had. Has always been a team player and just been there for his teammates. He's a player that the coaches feel like they can go to to give valuable input. And this is what the experience is supposed to be. And here you just wish in college baseball that you would be able to give more guys opportunities like this guy got when he was a freshman. And he stuck around, and I'm a big believer that he's being rewarded for it.

Q. Brian, I know this one still probably sinking in a little bit, but have you thought about the pitching plan for tomorrow? How much can we see Brandon Waddell or Nathan Kirby, and is it realistic to expect that, close game late, you'll see Josh for an inning?
COACH O'CONNOR: You will not see Josh Sborz tomorrow night. Sorry, Josh. Brandon Waddell will start tomorrow night. Past that, I'm not sure what we'll do. But this was kind of how we had mapped it out when we had looked at this about a week ago on what was going to give us the best chance to put our team in a chance to win a championship. And here we are, and Waddell is going to get the ball. But we'll see where we go from there.

Q. Josh, I guess that's your current call then. It's the hell of a way to end it in the ninth inning, you were throwing 77 pitches tonight after going 50-plus the other day. What was that ninth like, and you got two guys on, you've been getting out of these jams here pretty regularly over the last month or so. What was it like for you to get out of it?
JOSH SBORZ: The whole game they battled. They were able to get my pitch count up quickly. I was just trying to get out of it, just trying to win with a lead. I wasn't really thinking about giving up runs. I mean, if they scored one or two, I wasn't going to get upset. I was just thinking about get this game over with, win, try to kind of save the bullpen as much as possible.

Q. Brian, if somebody was to ask you before the game that Adam would have the game he had and Thomas would have the game he had, would you have said less than your normal lineup or how would you have reacted?
COACH O'CONNOR: What chance would that have happened is basically what you're saying? I don't know. I would have told you that I know what these two guys are made of. I know the kind of people they are. I know how much they care about their teammates. I know that they'll go out there and give us everything that they have. I don't like to put percentages on things could this possibly happen. Anything can happen. And it doesn't surprise me because I know how hard these two individuals work and I know how much their teammates mean to them.

THE MODERATOR: Thank you.
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