Indiana State Press Conference Transcript

From ASAP Sports

Q.  Did it feel too big two years ago, how do you change that?
TYLER BROWNING:  We did compete and play hard two years ago, but we changed our mentality a little bit.  We let the pressure get to us a little bit in that first game against Fullerton.  I think we just need to stay calm and play relaxed.  I felt we played a little tight two years ago.  That’s all I’m going to preach to the guys and that’s what Jacob will preach, and hopefully we’ll just play relaxed.

Q.  Is being close to home going to help keep similarity?
TYLER BROWNING:  This definitely feels like a mid‑week game.  I feel like in our home state, I feel like we’ll have some more fans to back us and it’s definitely a comfortable feeling to be in your home state. 

Q.  Has there been greater interest from fans this year compared to two years ago?
JACOB HAYES:  Two years ago was the year I read‑shirted, so I actually didn’t travel to Oregon.  When we were being assigned reserve tickets for players, Tyler and I both got‑‑ Coach gave us both a hard time because I had to reserve eight and he reserved 12.  So two hometown guys, we have a lot of people wanting to come out and watch us play, so we are excited about that.
TYLER BROWNING:  Yeah, it’s not much different, really.  It feels the same in regards to coming this year and everything but we are just excited to play.
MITCH HANNAHS:  I need to defend myself on that.  Their list included like five girls.  Wasn’t like they were family members.
TYLER BROWNING:  Can’t help that, really.  It’s out of our control, coach.  (Laughter.)

Q.  What have you worked on mind‑set‑wise to avoid previous outcomes?
TYLER BROWNING:  I feel like we have had the best week of practice we’ve had all year.  We got back to the mind‑set that we are grinders.  We are not the most talented team in this tournament.  We are going to hustle every game, play as hard as we can and we really went to work on the small things.  I think we are the most prepared we have been all year.

Q.  Thought process on the rotation?
MITCH HANNAHS:  Well, I don’t think for those that have followed us, there’s no doubt that Ryan Keaffaber has been our most consistent pitcher the last month of the season.
In the Valley Tournament, basically, we were able to use him in more of a mop‑up role.  We just wanted to make sure we got him to the mound early in the tournament.
Obviously the other factor that plays into that is we bounced him around all year from closing to middle to starting a couple of games.  And I think the thought process is that he’ll be able to bounce back and give us some innings later in the tournament, if he starts Game 1, where our other guys are used to doing that.

Q.  What can the pitcher fall back on, that can he apply to tomorrow? 
MITCH HANNAHS:  Well, I think the guys alluded to it.  I think when you get to this point, you have to simply have the mind‑set to locate pitches and change speeds and not try to do anything special.  I think that’s key for any pitcher this week.
Obviously we didn’t do that very well in our conference tournament.  We tried to do too much.  We over‑threw pitches, and our secondary stuff became null and void.  I think the important thing for him is just relax and locate and let his defense work for him.

Q.  How has David reacted to pitching Game 2? 
MITCH HANNAHS:  The bottom line is you sit and look at your pitching and how to utilize your entire staff and not necessarily one person, and our guys have always‑‑ from the beginning of the season, they have done a great job of just doing what we ask.
So David responded fine.  He knows that second game is going to be awfully important, as well, regardless of where we are at or who we are playing.  So I don’t think there was any kickback at all from anybody.

Q.  What is philosophy on bullpen use? 
MITCH HANNAHS:  Well, we’ve had, basically, nine available guys all season.  So I feel like we’ve had to mix‑and‑match as much as anybody else in the country all season.  We have not had the luxury of being very deep on the mound.
We had five guys, obviously, out all year that couldn’t throw for us, which really put us in a spot where we had to really move some guys around and bounce some guys around and make them somewhat pliable.
I think for us to be successful, it’s the guys that run out there have to do a very good job of pitching and contact.  You’ll see us, we don’t have any power arms.  We don’t have anybody that’s going to come out and light the radar gun up this weekend.  But our guys have done a really good job all year of keeping the baseball in the park and keeping it on the ground as much as we can, and allowing our interior defense to field baseballs.
In terms of as you get deeper into that staff, obviously what we have done through the season is we have basically rotated a couple of guys on Friday in that bullpen and we use a couple different guys Saturday and we bring those Friday guys back on Sunday.
This weekend, obviously, a couple guys that have started for us in Lombard and Kudrecki (ph), obviously they will be pushed into that pen in a situation, as well, early on and then we’ll figure out how we play Game3 and anything after that.
But our primary focus right now is Game 1, and then obviously David is the only guy that knows he’s throwing Game2.  After that, we’ll just try and mix‑and‑match, and we’ll play a lot of situational‑type matchups.

Q.  Philosophy on pitching‑‑
MITCH HANNAHS:  No, I think we are throwing him out there with the idea that we’ll get us seven and we’ll figure out how to go from there.
Obviously the thought process, too‑‑ and I think that’s with any of our starters that we run out there; we hope they can get us seven innings into the game and keep that pitch count around a hundred.  Probably the one thing we faced with our‑‑ with Stagg and Lombard later in the season, and we are getting into the fifth inning and reaching our pitch count, at times, and it really put that bullpen in a tough spot.
So the hope with any starter is that he gets you seven, and then you figure out a way to hold the fort the last couple innings, which our guys have been tremendous at all year.  They have been very good at coming in late, regardless of who it is.  We have used a plethora of guys late in the game, and then I think offensively, you try to figure out a way to stay close and execute down the stretch and win a game.

Q.  How do you offensively maintain personality facing different pitchers?
MITCH HANNAHS:  Well, I think if you watched us the last two weeks of the season, I felt like we did something that we had not done all year.  I felt like we swung and missed a lot.  I felt like‑‑ I felt like we hit a lot of lazy fly balls.
Offensively, to make us go, and you guys that have seen us play, we have to be on the line and on the ground, and we have to find ways to use the speed with Curry and Hayes and McClain and some of those guys.
For us to stay in, and we can’t hit in a lot of clubs throughout the country.  We can’t play ‘big boy’ ball, so to say.  We have to do a good job of keeping the game close but we can put some pressure on other teams with their legs and their ability to handle the bat.

Q.  How do you offensively maintain personality facing different pitchers?
MITCH HANNAHS:  I wish I could speak to a lot of that.  I think after our performance in the Valley Tournament, our experience has been, hey, let’s get back at it and have some practices that resembled some of our fall practices where we were preparing.
The mind‑set, we have been so locked into getting our club steered back the right direction that we have not had a lot of time to think about that, and I think that’s a good thing and I think it’s been a good thing for our club.
We have kept them pretty busy here the last week and we have gone back to a lot of old school practices.  We have not had a lot of time to think about that and really reflect on that.  Maybe in a couple of weeks that’s a question that I can probably sit down and have put some thought into and answer a little better.

Q.  Can you assess Stanford, the scouting report? 
MITCH HANNAHS:  We know Stanford is going to run quality arms out there.  We know Stanford is extremely well coached and they are going to execute.
Obviously they have some guys that have sacrificed a lot through the season.  I think their mind‑set, obviously is to get a lead and rely on those arms, and the other thing is they have got some power numbers up and down their lineup.
So I think for us, we have got to work hard to pitch to contact and keep them in the yard and stay close the best we can offensively so that we can keep some pressure on those arms.
I don’t think there’s any secret, obviously; there’s probably not a pitcher in the country, starting pitcher, that’s as good out of the stretch as he is out of the windup.  Our focus offensively is to make sure we get their starting guy in the stretch position and put some pressure on him.

Q.  How has the team approached this week? 
MITCH HANNAHS:  Without speculating on the line that Tyler was on, I think a lot of these guys get in these situations and you feel like you’ve got to be more than you are and you have to be different than you are.
The one thing that we spend a lot of time on throughout the fall was understanding who we were as a player.  If you’re a mid 80s guy, the ability to pitch to contact and change speeds; if you’re a guy that’s not going to hit a home run in the season, the ability to stay on top of the baseball and give yourself an opportunity.
And I think what happens, when you come to a lot of these situations is guys try to be something that they are not.  And I think when guys get outside their skill‑set, obviously they are going to have struggles, and I would anticipate or I would reflect that maybe back in that first regional in 2012, a lot of guys try to do things they just weren’t capable of.
And that’s been something that our club has been very good at all year up until the last couple weeks, we went a little back to school on that.  If you’re a set‑the‑table guy, then let’s set the table and give ourselves an opportunity.  If you’re an RBI guy, then let’s make sure in those situations, you’re getting good swings early in the count.
But I feel like for most guys, if you are a guy that throws 87 and wants to throw 91; or they are that line‑drive contact guy, that all of a sudden wants to overswing, and you might even have a 4‑hitter trying to bunt in a key situation; you just kind of get outside of yourself and start doing things that are detrimental to who you are as a player.
The focus for our club is to make sure that every single guy remembers who and what they are, and this week is just their chance to come out and continue expanding who they are as a player.