May 26, 2005
ACC Baseball Championship
Thursday, May 26, 2005
Game 8: #2 Clemson Tigers vs. #3 Miami Hurricanes
Opening Statement from Clemson Head Coach Jack Leggett:
I thought we played really well today. I was real pleased with how we responded after yesterday's loss. We didn't get the rhythm going yesterday that we've had for the last half of the season, but today as a team, that's how we've been playing. I thought Josh (Cribb) was outstanding. Maybe the best game I've seen him pitch. I really thought he was throwing fast ball for strikes and he had good velocity and he was spotting it. He was able to throw a side arm breaking ball for strikes deep in the count - I thought he pitched excellent. He had a great rhythm and we were able to play good defense behind him as well. I thought we played well offensively. We got a big hit from Stan (Widmann) and big hit from Herman (Demmink) and some other big hits along the way that allowed base runners to reach base and put pressure on them. We got ahead early and we played real well last time we saw them so I think that helped our confidence and put us in a much better position.
On Miami's six game losing streak (the most consecutive losses for the Hurricanes since 1966):
As well as they've played for those 30 years, you have to respect that if that's the worst thing that has ever happened to them. They've had a good program for those 30 years. To me, they're a good baseball team and well coached and they're going to give somebody some trouble in a regional. They just caught us at the wrong time. We put together a pitching, defensive and hitting series against them that I feel pretty good about. But they have a good baseball team and they'll come back. They will recover and give somebody a problem as soon as they get their rhythm back.
On Clemson's position in the Tournament:
Our goal right now, after talking last night and after yesterday's ball game, is just to work our way back into the tournament. We don't want to pack up the hotel and jump on the bus and go home. We want to work our way back in by playing our game. We had a break for two days and we just couldn't quite get something going yesterday. That second day, we played much better and today we played much better, so I'm hoping we can just work our way into the tournament and start getting some momentum and confidence. The one thing you have to do in a tournament is just go one game at a time. You have to take care of today, which we did. Now we have to take care of tomorrow if we can, then tell me when we play and where we've got to go, when to take batting practice, what color uniforms we've got to play in and let's go. That's all there is to it. You can't out-think yourself right now; it's just about trying to get our team to play well. We had a good talk last night and I think they understand that all we have to do is relax and play our game and play enthusiastic baseball and good things will come to us.
On whether he thinks Clemson will host an NCAA Regional:
I think so. I think we were in a good position after last weekend. But that's up to the (NCAA) Committee. We finished second in the (ACC) regular season and we beat some good teams along the way. I've said all along that our strength of schedule and our RPI is outstanding. We're about 23-7 in the last 30 ball games and that's pretty good against the schedule we play. But I'll let somebody else worry about that, we just have to go out and play tomorrow and try to keep winning and work our way through this tournament. We've done what we had to take care of, so I'm proud of the kids for that.
Pitcher Josh Cribb on his performance against Miami:
Coming out you have to look at the game we lost last night. That took a toll on us last night. Coach (Leggett) talked to us a lot. We came out and played a decent game. One of the main goals was to come out today and play good, have an all around game. They (Miami) have a great lineup. I just had to come out, be competitive and make the pitches that I had to make. Me and Cass (Adrian Cassanova) had a real good game. He caught every pitch to get today. We worked real well today and the defense came up and made plenty of plays and came through today.
Shortstop Stan Widmann on if there is anything special about Miami's pitching:
Hitting is very simple ... you see the ball, hit the ball.
Third Baseman Herman Demmink on Josh Cribb's pitching:
Josh (Cribb) works very quickly and being that he works as fast as he does and as many strikes as he throws, it always keeps us on our toes as a defense. It seems like every time we get in our ready position there's a ground ball coming at one of us. He stays in the rhythm, I know some of their hitters have called time (out) in the middle of an at bat just to try to mess up his rhythm, but he doesn't let it get in his head. He just keeps on going and allows us to make some plays behind him.
On Cribb's performance compared to previous games:
He's one of our most consistent pitchers; you know what to expect. Today is up there, close to some of the performances that I've seen, like last year when we played South Carolina. He came in and did his job. Even last year in the ACC Tournament, I think he threw very well against North Carolina and I guess it seems he always throws well during the end of the season and I guess that's kind of what you need.
Josh on more motivation for bigger games
I think you kind of get more motivated, especially for games like today. You come out and you know if you lose you go home. You have to come out with your "A game," and if you don't, you're going to lose and go home. Coming into the ACC Tournament, we had a nine game winning streak; we were on a roll and playing real well. Yesterday, we had a little set back. We've got to get back on track so I think me coming out and pitching the way I did and having the offense play behind me gives us a little more momentum coming into our next game.
University of Miami Head Coach Jim Morris
Well, first of all I would like to congratulate Clemson. They have an outstanding club. They beat us soundly at Clemson and did it again today with outstanding pitching. They did a great job on us today. Both days of this tournament we were dominated by pitching by both clubs. We didn't swing the bats as well as I hoped to. It was not a good showing in our first appearance in the ACC Tournament as I would have liked and hopefully from this point on, we will get a chance to play in the NCAA Tournament. But, I have to congratulate Clemson; they played an outstanding game against us today.
On Clemson having the Hurricanes number this season:
They beat us four times. We have beaten them before, in the College World Series and Super Regionals, I don't want to say it a long term thing, it's more of a one week thing. Clemson has an outstanding club. When we played them at their place, I felt like they could have beaten the New York Yankees. Coming into this week, I looked at the Tigers as the favorite to win this tournament. Their pitching is good, their defense is solid. They swung the bats real well against us today. They certainly did not look like the same club that played last night against Virginia. This is a crazy game. Anything can happen and hopefully something will change for us next weekend.
On the concerns of the Hurricanes pitching/hitting at this point in the season:
I don't know. I am really concerned about our team. We need to get everything going in the right direction. I haven't seen us put it altogether in regards to hitting, defense and pitching and that's what you have got to do to be successful against good teams and we just haven't done that as of late.
On Miami hosting for the NCAA Tournament:
I am still hoping that we will get into the tournament first of all and secondly get to host. I am sure that the University of Miami put a good enough bid in to host. I just don't know whether we have done our part because as of late we haven't played well and the closing stretch of the season is a very important part of the process when you are looking at determining sites for the tournament. I really don't know what to expect at this time.
On the current six game losing streak:
We have never lost five in a row since I have been here, so now we have never lost six in a row since I have been here. It's disappointing because I feel we have great players. Right now, we are in a funk and not doing the job as a team. I feel certain that the coaches and players would agree with me that we are not getting it done as I know we are capable of doing.
On the possibility of making changes to the lineup:
There are a lot of changes that we can make right now. We have to go back and think about it for a couple days. We need to look in the mirror, me as a coach and them as players; everybody needs to look in that mirror and get it going again in the right direction both individually and as a team if we are going to have a chance in the NCAA Tournament.
Miami Starting Pitcher, Dan Touchet
On his pitching performance and getting into trouble in the second inning:
When you get to the eight and nine batters you can't walk those guys in that situation. I feel now if I would have gone right at both those guys, it would have changed the game as a whole.
Miami Outfielder, Danny Figueroa
On mental state of the team right now:
We have just been coming out flat these days. Bottom line is we need to score some runs. The offense has not been producing. Our pitching has been fine, they have been holding up. It's been hard for us as a team during these last six game, but we have to forget about it. I am confident about our chances in the NCAA tournament and hoping we can host. We have to look ahead and work on the little things we have to do as a team.
On Clemson's Josh Cribb keeping the Hurricanes off balanced:
Cribb pitched well. His tempo was great. We needed to find a way to slow him down. He came after us and was real aggressive. We just didn't get the pitches to hit. We have been hitting the ball hard, but it's been right at people. You have to give it to Clemson, they are a real good ball club and they pitched well today.
Miami Third baseman, Ryan Braun
On Miami going 0-2 in any tournament:
It's always disappointing; this wasn't the performance we wanted to have, it wasn't the showing we anticipated. But at the same time, its over with, these six games don't mean anything in the postseason. The only thing we can do right now is turn it around from this point forward.
On the importance of trying to get a lead in today's game:
I felt like it was important for us to get ahead today, to get some momentum because it feels like we have been falling behind recently in every game. Unfortunately, we weren't able to do that today. They got the momentum early and were able to carry it through the entire game.