Indiana pre-game press conference

The transcript of today’s press conference, as transcribed by the IU sports info folks.

2013  NCAA  Championship  
Bloomington  Regional  
Host:  Indiana  University  
May  30,  2013  
Pre-­‐Regional  Press  Conference  
 
Indiana  University  Attendees  
Head  Coach  Tracy  Smith
Assistant  Coach  Ty  Neal
Michael  Basil  (senior)
Joey  DeNato  (junior)
Opening  Statement
SMITH:  First  of  all,  thanks  everyone  for
coming  out.  We  are  excited  to  be  selected  to
host  one  of  the  16  regionals.  It  is  something
that  we  talked  about  when  we  were  talking
about  the  opening  of  Bart  Kaufman  Field.  I
think  it’s  just  a  special  time  not  only  for  our
program,  but  for  Indiana  University  and
Bloomington  at  large  because  if  you
remember,  when  we  talked  about  that,  this  is
something  that  would  be  very  special  for  the
community.  First  and  foremost,  we  are  very
thrilled  to  showcase  what  we  think  is  one  of
the  finest  venues  in  the  country.
Competitively,  we  read  the  reviews  of  the
regionals  and  I  think  Big  Ten  baseball  and
such  doesn’t  get  some  of  the  respect  it
deserves  nationally,  but  I  think  this  is  going  to
shape  up  to  be  a  tremendous  regional.  I  look
at  it  and  one  thing  that  jumped  out  to  me
right  away  is  that  the  three  other  teams
participating  in  this  regional  participated  in
regionals  last  year.  The  only  team  that  was
not  in  a  regional  was  Indiana  University,  so  I
think  certainly  from  that  standpoint  it’s  an
advantage  for  them.  They  have  the
experience.  The  good  thing  about  that  is  that
this  is  a  veteran  ball  club.  If  you’ve  followed
our  season  to  this  point  with  the  way  we
concluded  on  the  road  with  Ohio  State  and
certainly  a  very  competitive  Big  Ten
Tournament,  we’ve  been  in  tournament  mode
for  the  last  two  weeks.  I  think  that  certainly  is
going  to  bode  well  for  us,  but  we’re
tremendously  excited  to  be  in  this  position.
We’re  thrilled.  I’ve  had  several  people  and
other  kids  too  who  not  only  want  to  enjoy  the
moment,  but  we  want  to  win  as  well.
NEAL:  Thank  you  again  for  having  me  up
here.  Obviously,  we  are  very  excited  to  be
here.  This  is  why  you  get  into  college
athletics,  to  play  in  the  postseason.  To  be  able
to  do  that  in  front  of  our  home  crowd  and  in
front  of  our  families  is  exciting.  These  guys
have  worked  extremely  hard  and  have  taken
care  of  each  other.  We  are  tickled  to  death  to
potentially  play  in  a  Super  Regional  after  this.
On  changing  mentality  to  prepare  for  the  
postseason  
BASIL:    Like  (Coach  Smith)  said,  we’ve  been  in
postseason  mode  for  the  past  two  weeks,  and
our  goal  is  to  play  the  best  baseball  that  we
can.  Just  like  the  past  two  weeks  at  Ohio  State
and  the  Big  Ten  Tournament,  it  was  do  or  die
time,  and  we  played  a  lot  of  our  best  baseball
in  those  moments.  Each  time  we  accomplish
one  of  our  goals  on  that  goal  board  this
season,  it’s  just  another  check  mark  along  the
way.  Our  main  focus  is  just  controlling  how
we  play  baseball,  so  that’s  our  goal  in  this
regional  and  we  want  to  get  to  the  super
regional  and  beyond.  We  know  that  if  we  play
our  best  baseball,  we  have  the  opportunity  to
reach  the  rest  of  the  goals  on  that  board.
Thoughts  on  hosting  a  regional  in  front  of  
a  home  crowd:  
DeNATO:  It’s  very  exciting.  It’s  the  very  first
time  any  of  us  have  been  in  this  type  of
situation  before.  It’s  also  perfect  timing  since
we  have  this  new  field  and  a  successful  year
so  far.  It’s  perfect  timing  and  very  exciting.
BASIL:  For  me,  it’s  a  pretty  humbling
experience  coming  in  as  a  freshman  and  going
through  some  of  the  teams  that  we  have  had.
Sophomore  year  was  a  bit  of  a
disappointment  with  such  a  talented  team
and  not  making  the  Big  Ten  Tournament.  To
get  to  this  point  in  my  final  season  and  host  a
regional,  it’s  really  everything  I  wanted  in  a
career  here.  To  be  able  to  do  this  in  the  new
stadium  is  great  for  the  program  and  we  all

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know  that.  We  are  definitely  very  proud  of
that.
After  playing  in  the  2009  regional,  how  
will  it  your  approach  be  different  to  play  
at  home  this  postseason?  
SMITH:  I’ve  said  this  before,  and  I  mean  no
disrespect  to  what  we  were  trying  to
accomplish  in  2009,  but  I  almost  thought
after  the  2009  tournament,  which  we  were
playing  fantastic  baseball  and  the  media
reports  were  saying  Indiana  was  the  sleeper
team  to  get  to  the  World  Series  and  so  on  and
so  forth.  I  think  the  sense  or  feeling  that  I  had,
but  there  was  a  collective  sigh  of  relief
amongst  the  players  to  just  get  to  the
regional.  There  was  so  much  focus  on  getting
to  the  regional,  there  was  not  an  emphasis  on
winning  the  regional.  I  think  that  is  the
difference  with  this  team.  If  you  watched  even
the  celebration  and  response  of  this  team,  it
wasn’t  this  jubilance  or  these  guys  jumping
around  and  going  crazy  in  2009,  it  was  like
Mike  (Basil)  said,  “check”  now  we  are  in  the
tournament  and  on  to  our  next  goal.  It’s  not
fake,  these  guys  are  very  even  keeled.  I  think
it’s  an  overall  attitude.  Talent-­‐wise,  that  2009
team  was  very  talented  with  several  draft
picks,  three  first  round  draft  picks,  but  I  just
think  the  mindset  with  this  team  is  that  we
are  not  satisfied.  I  can  tell  you  for  a  fact  this
mindset  is  different  than  in  2009.  These  guys
expect  to  win  and  they  want  to  win.  And  they
feel  like  they  have  a  lot  of  season  left  to  play.
You  are  probably  wondering  why  is  Ty  next
to  me,  and  everybody  gives  the  attention  to
our  hitters,  but  we  have  one  of  the  top
pitching  teams  in  the  country.  So  rather  than
me  answering  questions  about  pitching,  I  let
him  speak  to  that  stuff.
NEAL:  We  obviously  had  a  very  talented
pitching  staff  in  2009,  but  I  think  they  had  a
bit  of  focus  turned  toward  their  professional
careers.  But  the  big  difference  now  is  this
staff’s  work  ethic  is  off  the  charts.  I  respect
every  guy  on  this  staff  more  than  any  of  the
guys  I  have  coached  in  college  baseball.  They
do  a  great  job  of  holding  each  other
accountable.  Starters  know  if  the  relief  guys
are  not  taking  care  of  business  on  their  off
days.  They  take  care  of  each  other  and  make
sure  things  are  taken  care  of.  They  are  so
competitive,  and  every  guy  wants  the
baseball.  They  want  to  throw  strikes,  they
want  to  pound  the  zone,  they  want  to
compete  for  their  team.  It’s  been  a  blessing
and  obviously  it’s  been  a  great  year  and  I
think  we’re  good  enough  to  have  a  great  year.
On  the  decision  to  start  Aaron  Slegers  in  
regional  opener:  
NEAL:  Coach  Smith  and  I  have  discussed  it.  It
was  really  for  an  opportunity  to  match  up
game  one  of  the  regional.  Joey  matches  up
with  some  of  the  left  handed  hitting  teams
and  better  base  running  teams.  Slegers  is  a
strike  thrower  and  Valparaiso  has  more  right
handed  hitters,  not  as  much  speed  as  the
other  two  clubs.  For  us,  it  was  a  no-­‐brainer.
Another  thing,  he’s  earned  it.  He’s  a  strike
thrower  and  we  know  we  are  going  to  be  in
the  baseball  game  every  time  he  is  on  the
mound.  I  don’t  think  we  can  go  wrong  with
either  guy,  but  obviously  we  feel  Aaron  is  just
a  better  matchup  for  this  first  game.
On  representing  Big  Ten  baseball  and  
northern  schools  in  the  NCAA  postseason:  
SMITH:  I  have  had  several  coaches  from  the
Big  Ten  reach  out,  and  this  is  a  very  close-­‐knit
group  of  coaches  and  we  pull  for  each  other.  I
know  how  I  felt  last  year  when  I  saw  Kent
State  and  Stony  Brook  advancing  through  the
NCAA  Tournament.  Again,  no  disrespect  for
the  southern  programs  and  the  ones  that
traditionally  do  it.  You  root  for  the  underdog
and  like  it  or  not,  it  seems  like  northern
baseball  is  always  the  underdog.  The  one
thing  walking  back  from  the  plane  at  the  Big
Ten  Championship  is  that  (Nebraska  head
coach)  Darrin  Erstad  said  to  me  ‘take  this
thing  all  the  way  home.’  He  wasn’t  saying  that
to  make  me  feel  good  or  make  himself  feel
good  after  a  tough  loss,  he  genuinely  said  that.
We  talked  about  this  with  the  team.  I  told
them  that  if  they  think  for  one  minute  that  if
you  want  to  make  less  effort  on  a  ground  ball
or  something  like  that…we  are  playing  for

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more  than  us.  A  lot  of  people  are  going  to  be
watching.
I  read  a  review  last  night  of  the  tournament,
and  saw  that  Florida  is  taking  some  heat  in
the  media  for  making  the  tournament.  Their
strength  of  schedule  is  off  the  charts  and  if
you  ask  me  personally,  I  think  they  should  be
in.  But  I  have  seen  where  people  are  paying
close  attention  to  how  they  do  and  saying  if
the  northern  teams  knock  them  out,  should
they  have  taken  another  northern  team
instead  of  taking  another  team  from  a
traditional  power  conference.  I  think  we  are
going  to  be  evaluated  at  the  end  of  the  day  on
a  much  larger  scale.  And  we  are  happy  to
carry  the  torch.  We  have  been  doing  it  all
season  and  we  will  gladly  continue  it.
On  what  the  team  learned  about  itself  in  
tournament  play  at  the  Big  Ten  
Tournament:  
BASIL:  This  has  been  the  mentality  of  the
team  throughout  the  year  but  we  know  that
we  are  never  out  of  the  game.  Our  pitching
has  kept  us  in  every  single  baseball  game  we
have  played  this  season.  We  know  that  we
have  the  strong  bats  in  our  lineup  that  if  we
are  down  by  two  runs  in  the  bottom  of  the
ninth  with  no  runners  on  base  that  the  game
is  not  over.  We  have  done  it  before  and
comeback  in  situations  like  that  and  we  have
all  the  confidence  in  the  world  that  we  can  do
it  again.  I  think  that  is  the  mentality  that  we
carry  into  this,  that  if  things  are  going  the  way
that  we  want  through  the  first  eight  innings
that  doesn’t  mean  that  they  can’t  go  right  in
the  last  inning  and  we  can  get  the  job  done.
We  have  a  lot  of  confidence  in  our  team  and
know  that  we  have  the  ability  to  control  what
goes  on  in  the  game.”
DeNATO:  This  is  probably  the  most
competitive  team  that  we  have  had  in  three
years.  I  think  coming  from  the  perspective
that  because  of  the  bats  we  have  in  our
lineup,  its  puts  a  lot  less  stress  on  the  pitching
staff  and  starters.  We  can  give  up  three  or
four  runs  and  know  that  we  are  still  giving
our  team  a  chance  to  win  the  game.  This  is  the

2 comments

  1. Seriously…1 comment with all this team has accomplished! I’m embarrassed as an alumni. I breath ALL things IU! Not just basketball. No bandwagon here…have been following and have attended games, ( baseball, softball, soccer, indoor track meets, and Many football games ) for years !!!

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