ACC Baseball Championship
Wednesday, May 25, 2005
Game 5: #2 Clemson Tigers vs. #7 Virginia Cavaliers
Opening Statement by Virginia Head Coach Brian O'Connor
Well I tell you that was a tremendous win for our team and our baseball program. Clemson I believed coming into this tournament was one of the hottest teams in this tournament without a doubt. Our kids played with a little bit of an edge today with something to prove and Jeff (Kamrath) pitched outstanding. He got it out, it wasn't his best performance of the year, but he did gut it out at times and made some key pitches and fortunately pitched us deep into the game.
On what he meant by "something to prove:
Our kids have a lot of confidence in themselves. Coming into this tournament we were 14-14 in the league and the top six teams were ranked in the top 25 and we feel like we can play with all those teams. Our kids have played very well the last month and a half of the season and we came in here to win this thing and it started with today.
On Clemson turning the tables to shoot themselves in the foot:
We have been a team that prides ourselves on our pitching and defense, we've got one of the top five ERA's in the country and one of the top ten fielding percentages in the country, and we're going to continue to play that way. That's our style of baseball. They're (Clemson) an outstanding team, they've got great pitchers. And a couple of mishaps by them fortunately led to opportunities for our ball club.
On whether this win puts Virginia in the NCAA Tournament:
You'd like to think so. I talked to our team yesterday at our workout and told them that you read different websites and things like that projecting the NCAA Tournament, but that we can't worry about it. All we can worry about is what is in front of us. I know these kids have a desire to win the championship here and I told our young men that if we take it game by game and play the style of baseball that is winning baseball for us, then those things will take care of themselves. I feel good about where we're at. We're batting .500 in this league with a 9-4 record down the stretch in the ACC from our last 13 games. I think that proves the kind of ball club that we have.
Pitcher Jeff Kamrath on the pressure put upon Virginia in the 1st and 3rd innings:
They (Clemson) put a couple guys in scoring position - that's just a credit to them. They're a great team. Scott Headd, our catcher, came out and talked to me and calmed me down, and Kyle Werman, one of our seniors, came out and calmed me down. You give the ball to your defense and let them make plays. (Ryan) Zimmerman made a great double play. The other times I just felt like I was hitting my spots, they got a few good hits. Once you get past that and realize that they make great contact, you just try to hit your spots and that's the best you can do. Our defense did a great job.
Kamrath on being 'on target' with many of his pitches:
That's just a credit to our pitching coach (Karl Kuhn) and our catcher (Scott Headd); they do such a great job. Coach K prepares for the game for so long. People ask me why I don't shake off ... I have NO desire to shake off knowing that they have done so much preparation. Those two do such a great job I don't even have to think out there, I just throw.
Clemson Head Coach Jack Leggett on the play of Virginia:
Virginia is a good, solid team. They pitch well and play good defense. They made two very good defensive plays that really helped them out. We didn't play very good defense today, I didn't think we played very well in making decisions in the outfield, throwing to some wrong bases. I thought we didn't play very well in the infield at times too. We just didn't put together our best game today and they played well.
On the pitching performance by Stephen Faris and the overall play of his team:
Up until those last two innings, I thought Stephen pitched great. He and Kamrath did what I expected was going to happen, a low scoring game. They both pitched very well. There were four critical areas in the game especially in the first inning when we had runners on first and second and bunted them over and couldn't score. It would have been nice to have broken the ice there and gained some momentum, but we didn't score in the first inning. (Ryan) Zimmerman made a real nice play on (Adrian) Casanova's ball and turned that into a double play, that was a great play for them. They made two huge defensive plays and we just didn't relief pitch at all in the eighth and ninth innings. It's a shame because we had a great performance by Stephen (Faris). We string together ten hits and one run, it's a funny game. The other day, we had nine hits and eight runs. Ii just didn't piece together for us and we didn't look very sharp in the latter stages of the game. Up until that time, we were fine, but we just couldn't get the big hit when we needed it.
On the disappointment of losing in the ACC Tournament after winning nine straight games:
It is frustrating to me because we had been playing so well. But, it is like Stephen (Faris) said, there are two teams that have to play at ten o'clock tomorrow morning and we're one of them. We've got Miami again. We know them and they know us. We can't whine about it and complain about it. We just have to go out and play. If we want to play bad enough and stay in the Tournament, then we'll come out ready to play first thing in the morning. I'm hoping the team reacts that way.
Pitcher Stephen Faris on getting the first two runners on and not being able to execute in the first inning:
It was tough, we didn't catch very many breaks but that is just the way it is. That is baseball, we just weren't on our game today. Stuff like this happens; you can't take anything away from Virginia, they are a good team. They played small ball early and we tried to take the game away from them by playing the same. We battled hard too, but just couldn't get the runs late in the game.
On the break (between end of regular season and ACC Tournament) hurting the momentum of the team:
It does in a way, but there are two sides to it. It's also a kick in the butt to show us that we just can't show up and play. At the same time, I feel we can bounce back. It wasn't the route we wanted to take, but it is what it is now, so we just have to go out and work hard to win tomorrow.
Centerfielder Brad Chalk on having chances early:
We missed our chances today, we had quite a few early to change the ballgame. Some things didn't go our way, while other times we just couldn't execute.