NCAA Lincoln Regional
Saturday, May 31, 2008
UC Irvine Press Conference
Coach Mike Gillespie
On the game
"I think I can only state the obvious and say that it was an exceptionally well-played college baseball game, not the kind of game you often see in college baseball. I think everybody expects, with the aluminum bat, that you just don't see these kinds of games very often. It was a really clean, crisp, well-played game. Both pitchers pitched outstanding. We're of course extraordinarily proud of Danny (Bibona) and Eric Pettis. We felt like we got really good defense on three or four different occasions. We strung together three hits in the second inning with two outs. The guy that we've come to expect home runs from (Ollie Linton) jumped the yard and we made it hold up."
On the impact of Linton's home run on the rest of the game
"I certainly felt that it was big. We as a coaching staff felt that the game would figure to be a 3-2 game. Literally, the talk we had before the game was that Danny, who is capable of doing this and who has done it consistently would be able to do what he's always done, which is hold them down. It (the home run by Linton) was the fifth inning and it made it 3-2. I certainly did not feel like we wouldn't get any more or we couldn't get any more, but on the other hand, you realize that we just got a giant hit. We felt like we had the right guy on the mound and our best defense on the field, so we felt like we were in the best position possible to protect that kind of a lead."
Outfielder Ollie Linton
On his home run
"I felt like I got into it. I got it really high. It was a curveball that he threw down and in and I just dropped the head of the bat and luckily, I got enough on it to get it out of the ballpark."
On his approach
"I don't go up there thinking I'm going to hit a home run. I try to put the ball on the ground and make the defense make the play. If I run into a few balls, I'm happy about it. In that situation, I was trying to keep my same approach and luckily enough, I ran into a curveball that he left a bit higher than he had been during the game."
Pitcher Daniel Bibona
On his performance on the mound
"In the beginning, I felt like I had all my pitches working, but that I was just a little timid. Toward the end of the game, I really felt like my slider and fastball command were good and I fed off the crowd."
On feeding off the crowd
"In the beginning of the game, it was a little overwhelming because I've never pitched in an atmosphere like that before. When they were all clapping in the seventh or eighth inning, I felt like they were all clapping for me."
On bouncing back after NU's third-inning home run
"I regrouped a little bit. Those two hitters (Mitch Abeita and Jake Opitz) were very good. I felt like I had to be a little more careful with them. It (the home run) was a 3-1 pitch that I hung a little bit and he did what he's supposed to do with it."
Shortstop Ben Orloff
On the atmosphere
"It's really awesome being out here. Some of the guys were saying, 'this is college baseball'. With this atmosphere and playing a really quality team like Nebraska, that's just a well-played game."
On being confident in pressure situations
"I think a lot of it has to do (with the fact) that we've been here before. We're not nervous. We know that, if we play well, we have a good chance to win any day against anybody."
On Ollie Linton's power
"I joke with Ollie. I say he's the poor man's Ryan Howard. He does an unbelievable job at the top getting us going and once in a while, he runs into one. He's unbelievable."
On executing fundamentals on the basepaths
"It's stuff we work on all the time in that, as soon as you get on base, you know how many outs there are, you pick up the coach and know where the outfield is playing. With one out, they were playing (Jeff) Cusick a little deep. I saw that he had gotten jammed a little bit and I knew that ball was down as soon as he hit because I had checked to see where they were playing him before the pitch."