NCAA Lincoln Regional
Sunday, June 1, 2008
Oral Roberts Press Conference
Head Coach Rob Walton
"Meeting with the team afterwards was difficult. Brendan Duffy has been special for me for three years and has been one of the best leadoff guys around in a while. We’re going to miss him. I think, first of all, it’s very difficult to come back in game two in the heat. It’s hard to recover out of the loser’s bracket. We didn’t come out real sharp and made a few miscues but were able to stay in the game. Then their guy was special. He was special. He had really good velocity and a good breaking ball, and that’s the only guy all year who has really shut us down. There’s nobody in the country who shut us down this year, and we’ve seen a bunch of good arms. That was the best performance that somebody’s put against our lineup. You have to give him a huge amount of credit. I thought Carlos (Luna) was a little shaky early, and then was able to regain his composure and throw well to keep us in the ballgame. Then we had a few more miscues and the game got out of hand. But really, the tone was set by their guy on the mound. It was difficult to see the ball. This guy has great stuff, and it was in the twilight. I believe it helped our guy too. That’s probably the most prepared baseball team I’ve played against in my 10 years of coaching. It’s as good a prepared baseball team as there is. They take care of the ball and do the little things right. They have good pitching. Offensively, they’re pitchable, but they try to create offense, and they do a good job of it. They’re as well-coached a team as any I’ve been around in a long, long time."
On UC Irvine’s pitching
"These guys have found ways to get it done, especially with two outs. We’re waiting to get something going and chase him, but he continued to pitch down in the zone and locate his pitches well. He threw some quality fastballs down and away on the knees. This guy was on. He was flat on. I don’t think there was any point in my mind that we wouldn’t score at some point."
On UC Irvine
"People are surprised, and we might be in that same category in that we’re a smaller school without football. They’re a smaller school without football. I think the general public doesn’t really know who they are, but they’ve actually been good for a while now. The year we went to the super regional, we went down there and played and got swept. It forced us to make some changes to our personnel and our pitching staff, and it got us better. It definitely prepared us for regional play. They’ve been good for a while, and if people follow college baseball, Irvine is for real. It’s in a really good location, and it’s a hotbed for baseball. There are a lot of players in that area to recruit, and they have a nice facility. They obviously have a very experienced in Coach (Mike) Gillespie. In my mind, he has to be one of the top five or six coaches in the country. He does it right, and they’re for real. They’re not a sleeper by any means."
Outfielder Brendan Duffy
On offensive frustrations
"The first game, we hit the ball well. The second game, that starter just pitched well. He had command of most of his pitches, and he kept the ball down. He threw his fastball in the corners. If you do that, you’re going to be successful. I don’t necessarily think we were frustrated. He just had it today. We hit the ball a couple times and had a chance to get things going, but it just didn’t happen."
On UC Irvine’s starter
"I thought the more we saw him, the more we knew what he was trying to do on the mound. Once we got out of the sun to the shade, we started picking up the ball a little better. They took him out and brought in the lefty, and we had a chance. But then we made a baserunning error. I was just trying to be a little too aggressive on that."