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NCAA MEN'S COLLEGE WORLD SERIES

June 17, 2014
INDIANA SPORTS PAGE



Parker French

Augie Garrido

C.J. Hinojosa

Ben Johnson


OMAHA, NEBRASKA

Texas – 4
Louisville - 1


THE MODERATOR:  Joined by head coach Augie Garrido, starting pitcher Parker French, short stop C.J. Hinajosa and left?fielder Ben Johnson.
Coach, an opening statement.
COACH GARRIDO:  The game was controlled from our point of view by the pitching of Parker French and Travis Duke.  Then you can't have a well?pitched game without really good catching and Tres Barrera did a good job of that.
And he calls the majority of pitches, too, which isn't always what goes on in college baseball.  But he's a very mature baseball player and very much a student of the game.  And he really has a calming effect with his personality on the pitching staff.
So he's more like a professional catcher even as a freshman.  Go around the infield plays made defensively by C.J. and teammates were getting the outs on time and parker is a ground ball pitcher, with a sinker that you saw working very well today.  And he is dependent on trusting the infielders to get the outs on time and make the plays for him.  He's not a strikeout pitcher for the most part.
The outfield, Ben had to make probably the toughest play and he made it with runners on base to keep it at 0 at that point in time with a nice catch over his head.  Had three runs.  They gave us some extra outs.  They gave us some extra bases within the framework of the innings that we scored.
But we also broke through and had a miracle take place hit a sacrifice fly with a runner on third base that scored a run.
So that was the most revolutionary thing that happened today.  And I think the rest belongs to the players.

Q.  Augie, playing off that, did you feel like today this was the Texas team you've seen all season, this was the team you expected the whole time up there?
COACH GARRIDO:  Yes.  But I think, too, playing the first game that was the fourth time we've been in that game.  And it's always a game of nerves.  The celebration has gone on now from the time they got their invitation, punched their ticket to Omaha.  Once you get there the celebration continues.  It's a celebration about what you accomplished, and it's easy to buy into that and it's hard to refocus and get competitive.
And I've always just liked playing that game.  I didn't tell them until now.  But I didn't tell them I liked it either.  Hard to flip that switch.  I think we played much better today.  Yesterday we had a practice and at the practice we really weren't practicing baseball skills.
We weren't trying to fix anything because it wasn't broken.  Everything was in the right place.  And it was a fun practice and they had a good time and they knew they could trust each other and what we said was play our game and they did.

Q.  Parker, was this some of the best command you think you've had all year.  Was there a point in your outing when you had to adjust start throwing more off?speed stuff early in the count?
PARKER FRENCH:  I think the command was there.  It was in the middle of the innings, third or fourth inning, they are an aggressive ball team from that standpoint.  They started swinging at a lot of early fastballs.
And me and Tres talked about it, might want to start mixing it up with a slider a little bit more to give them something to think about, make them uncomfortable.  Because their whole game was making the pitcher and defense uncomfortable.  That's how they score runs.  You have to attack them first before they attack you.  That was our plan, stay ahead of them all day.

Q.  Augie, you've got a great pitching staff.  As this tournament goes deeper, do you feel like you guys get stronger since you have so much pitching?
COACH GARRIDO:  I think it certainly gives us a chance.  The other thing is all of us in the room know that it's been won several times.  This format is not nearly as difficult to come out and win.  The whole tournament after losing the first game as it used to be.
It still is challenging and you're one game down but before you could be two or three games down, the double elimination tournament.  And so the short answer is yes, I think we have a pitching staff that can stand up to the number of games that we have to win to win the national championship.

Q.  C.J. and Ben, offensively don't know if you know but their pitcher came in with a 14?0 record.  Was there talk let's get after this guy and look for balls in the zone and get going?
C.J. HINOJOSA:  He did a great job.  We were able to get to him for three innings straight I believe and but he did a great job mixing pitches and there's a reason why he was 14?0.  He mixed pitches, threw fastballs, through his off?speed and he had us chasing a couple of times but in the dugout we were just trying to see if there was a pattern and if there was they were trying to pick up on it, attacking pitches and digging with our game mainly trying to get the lead guy on, move him over, have him have a chance to score with a base hit or two base hits and it worked out our way for those three innings.
BEN JOHNSON:  C.J. said it best.  We wanted to get him on early get the lead man off early.  Get him over.  Did a pretty good job those three innings scored runs.  We knew they had a pretty good bullpen with Nick Burdi coming in.  We definitely knew we wanted to get a lead going into those last innings and obviously we did that going in 3 to 1 in the ninth.  We did a really good job.

Q.  Parker, Coach talked about how important it is for you to pitch to contact, let your defense work behind you.  And it seemed like those guys were pretty locked in today.  I'm curious, when you see C.J. making some of these plays look easy at shortstop that aren't easy.  How much confidence does that give you?
PARKER FRENCH:  I think when I step out there every day, every game, this is probably the best defense in the country.  I can say that with confidence.  Up the middle everywhere.  So I mean I come in confident every game.  When they start making those plays makes me more of I guess a strike?throwing machine because they were going to be aggressive.  Why not keep the pitch count down, safe the bullpen and let them work and just worry about my job throwing strikes and let them do their job which is pick it up and throw it.  They're really good at that.  So I'm going to lean on them because we're a team here.  We have a really good team, not one guy.  And so I'm going to use them every way I can.

Q.  C.J. and Ben, to piggyback on that defense question you made a great play in left and C.J. is going to pick up everything that comes near you.  Does Parker French appreciate that?  Does he take you out to dinner?  What does he do to appreciate that.  Talk about some of your great plays?
BEN JOHNSON:  Well, we have to turn in laundry, he'll take my laundry for me.  So he'll do that.  (Laughter) but I don't know, what are we going to do tonight?
PARKER FRENCH:  That's your choice.  That's your choice, man.
BEN JOHNSON:  He does a good job.
C.J. HINOJOSA:  From the infield perspective with him throwing a lot of sinkers and also with Nate pitching, we've got to be ready.  There's going to be a lot of ground balls hit and as long as you're ready, you're seeing the ball off the bat and Coach Tommy Nicholson helped us a lot with our fresh step making that a key focus for us because these guys pitching there's going to be a lot of ground balls, but the thing I appreciate most whenever there's a good play or something that's made that inning, he waits for us.
He doesn't just go into the dugout after that inning, he's picking us up saying good job and we tell him good job.  That's just part of us being a team and a brotherhood, something that we developed over the year, and I mean it's awesome seeing your pitcher go out there, throw strikes like that to allow you to make plays.


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