Clemson and Alabama Postgame Quotes (Game 3)


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Clemson vs. Alabama Quotes

June 14, 2010



 Clemson Head Coach Jack Leggett

Opening Statement:

“That was a tremendous game for us.  I thought we came out to play offensively and we did a great job of scoring two runs in the second inning, two in the 3rd and two in the 4th to keep the pressure on Alabama. We were swinging the bat really well and had some great at bats on a good pitcher. Dominic Leone stepped up. He was very aggressive with his fastball and competed for us. When we decided to name him our starter, we knew he was going to be a competitor.

“ I couldn’t be more proud of my team. We came from the depths in the middle of the season. We kept our heads in the game and kept on battling and working at it. We had some adversity on the way. You just had to know the game was going to end like it did the way the season has been going. Our kids battled, they showed some great toughness and everyone hear at Clemson should be proud of them.”

“I want to give a shout out to our fans who came out at 1:00 pm on a very, very hot Monday and supported our team. It was awesome. It was a great moment in Clemson baseball history.  I’m looking forward to our trip to Omaha.”



On the play of the freshmen:

“On the biggest game of the year, we started a freshman on the mound, a freshman on 1st base, and a freshman catcher who has really stepped up for us lately. Those kids did a great job for us. We had a little bit of experience and youth out there and everyone stepped up big in a big situation. It was awesome to see these kids play like we did.”  



On choosing Leone vs Lamb:

“Some of Alabama’s better hitters are right handed and Lamb didn’t have a great outing last time up and we felt like we might need to use him in relief so we didn’t DH him today. Instead we used Epps, who has been playing well lately, as our DH.  He just comes on this time of the year.”

“Dominic works hard, you can tell by his attitude. He’s a tough kid and has a great attitude. He works extremely hard and is in great shape. I think we gave him a little bit of a positive incentive with some runs and he took the lead from there. He did a great job for us.”     



On his coaching job this se ason:

“There were a lot of tough times in the middle of this season and if you don’t believe something you can never achieve something. All this time, I said we just need to get our act together and I believe we can still get to Omaha and be a team that’s tough to beat at the end of the season. Coaches have a very powerful position on the team because the players feed off of us. I’m proud of what we have accomplished and I’m proud of the other coaches. Everyone in our coaching staff continued to work hard when some others gave up on us. We are never going to write the season off here. We are going to play tough to the end.”

 “If we lose, I can’t sleep. If we win, I’m so excited I can’t wait to get to the ballpark the next day. So I was excited about getting back to the ballpark because we played a really good game yesterday (19-5 win). I couldn’t wait to get back out on the field. I think having the 1:00 pm game worked in our favor because we were still feeling good from yesterday.”   

 “One thing I think we’ve been doing well through the course of this season was to play the hot player. Your team needs to get hot at this time of the year, but you also need to keep an eye open for who the hot players are at this time of the year.”  



On this team going to Omaha:

“I am extremely proud of them because they kept hanging in there through the course of a long season. We’ve done some tough things in the last month. We had to beat Florida State 3 times to win the division. We had to win the last game of the ACC tournament to get some momentum to go into Regional. We had to come out of a tough loss to Auburn and put it behind us to come out and play the next day. We had to put a tough loss behind us a couple of days ago against Alabama. I’m really proud to bring Clemson back to Omaha.”

 



Clemson Player Quotes

Pitcher Dominic Leone

On words of advice from coaches before game

“Basically they just said stay within yourself and I really took that to heart.  The past couple of starts have been mechanically off and I just realized I need to settle down and throw strikes and make these guys work behind me.”

 

On not getting frustrated after going down 1-0

“Like coach said, it has been a long season.  We can never make anything easy.  You just can’t get down.  You have to keep going out and battling and I knew if I got down we wouldn’t have as good of a shot as we did.  I just tried to stay as confident as possible and I knew that was just a one-time thing.  I knew we would pick it up, start playing better defense, throw strikes and keep hitting.”



On gaining confidence after going up a few runs

“Oh definitely.  Every time this team scores runs behind you, you know all you have to do is go out there and throw strikes.  I felt incredibly confident going back out there.  I knew it was my day, our day and we were going to keep putting runs on the board so I just had to keep them from scoring.”

 

On coming through for the team as a freshman

“I don’t think it has hit me yet.  Once I get back in the locker room I am sure it will settle in.  All I can say is that I can’t thank the coaching staff enough to give me the opportunity to come out and try to do my best and get us to Omaha.  Having the team behind me like I did, I am sure right now everyone is still in awe.  I just want to thank the coaching staff for giving me the opportunity.”

 

On how far you have come in one year

“I am truly blessed to have this opportunity to come down to Clemson and play baseball here. Coming from a small town in Connecticut (Norwich), I never thought I would be playing in front of thousands of people.  Especially here at Clemson, who has such a great tradition in their program.  I just came during the fall with the mentality that I needed to work hard and prove myself and I have kept that all season long and it has really made it a dream come true.”

 

First Baseman Richie Schaffer

On keeping adding runs throughout the game

“As an offense we just had a great approach to the game today.  We were squaring up on pitches we like and John Hinson got us started to put us up 2-1 and we kept going from there.  We just had a great approach at the plate all day and never backed off.”



On team liking this type of adversity

“We are going to battle to the very last out.  You have to give Alabama credit.  They never gave up and kept battling.  They are a quality team, but we battled to the very end as well and that is all it takes.”

 

On how far you have come in one year

“This is exactly why I came here.  I had a tough decision before I came here, but I knew right away this is where I want to be and this is the program that fitted me the best.  I can’t say enough.  I am speechless really.  It is a dream come true.  It has kind of been a rough year for me battling with an injury and nothing is more gratifying than coming out with a win today and going to Omaha.”

 

Third Baseman John Hinson

On ninth inning

“It was full of drama.  The ninth inning was tough.  Going back to what coach Leggett said, the whole season has been full of drama but we came together as a team and won.  That’s all that really counts.”

 

On team believing they could make it to Omaha

“That was our goal from the beginning.  We worked hard when we came back to school from the summer and gave it our all every single day.  That has been the goal since day one.  We knew we had the talent to get to Omaha and compete and win.”

 

On emotions of making it to Omaha

“The only way I can describe it as the most satisfying moment I have had.  It was incredible, with all the work we put into it.  All the time and effort has paid off so far and we are going to Omaha to win.  It is a big step to get there and we were able to reach it.”



On mentality of down but not out helping in Omaha

“We have come from behind all season.  Our last series against Florida State, we knew we needed to win the whole series and sweep and we did that.  We have been playing with our backs against the wall all season so it will help us out.”

 

On Kilcrease

“Like Richie said, we were seeing the ball well today and hitting the pitches that we liked.  We did well hitting the pitches that were mistakes.”

 



Alabama Head Coach Mitch Gaspard

“First of all, congratulations to Clemson.  Offensively, they were really good.  The last two games, they really jumped on us with their offense.  They put a lot of really good swings on a lot of pitches.  They were able to extend their lead.  Pitching-wise, I thought we battled really hard.  They just continued to put the barrel on a lot of balls.     

“I’ve been coaching for 24 years as an assistant and a head coach, and I’ve never been more proud of a team than this group.  The way we finished up the season over the last month, the way we competed, was as good as any I’ve ever seen.  To put ourselves back into a position to win the game in the ninth inning speaks volumes about our team.  I couldn’t be more proud to be the coach of this Alabama baseball team.”



Thoughts on his team’s rally in the ninth inning:

“You’ve got to come out and have something to get you going.  Jake (Smith) drew a walk. Then, all of a sudden (Brett) Booth hits a home run.  Before you know it, you’ve got a couple of guys on and string a couple of hits together. That’s when the belief started happening.  (Clay) Jones got on with the error.  The way this last month has played out, I felt pretty good with Jake Smith up in that spot with two outs.  He’s run into some balls pretty good this weekend.  He’s a guy we wanted up in that situation, and I thought he put a pretty good swing on it.”



On molding a program similar  to Clemson:

“They’ve had great tradition here for a long time.  Jack Leggett is a terrific coach. They have a team that plays with a lot of energy.  On that same note, they have a tremendous fan base.  I thought that really played into the ballgame today, and really ignited them with energy to keep them going. There are probably eight to 10 elite programs out there, and certainly Clemson is one of them.”



On the team’s early offensive struggles:

“We just never got into a good offensive rhythm.  We squared a couple of balls up, but they did a good job of positioning.  We hit two or three balls in that left-center gap where their left fielder cheated over and ran a couple of them down.  We just had a hard time stringing quality at-bats together.”

 

Nathan Kilcrease

On pitching

“I wasn’t really tired, I just couldn’t get into a rhythm out there. Every out I had I had to work hard for it. They did a great job of battling. I was pretty amped up in the first inning, but that was actually one of my better innings.”  



On the heat

“I don’t think heat was really a factor. We play in weather like this all the time. We practice in this kind of heat almost every day. I just didn’t have it today.”



On the run in the last month

“It’s been awesome. The way we’ve played together has just been unbelievable. We keep believing and battling, just like that ninth inning, all the way until the last pitch. I’ve never been a part of a team like that and it’s just been awesome.”  



Ross Wilson


On errors

“We made some errors that we really hadn’t been making, but we made some solid plays after them to make up for it. I know after the error I made, we came up with a double play right after it.”



On communication on the field

“The second time I collided with Andrew (Miller) I heard him coming, but I was going to catch the ball. The first time, we were both running and he said something and I said something and we just didn’t hear each other. It would have been a great play on either side, we just didn’t hear one another.”  



On ninth inning
“We just kept battling. (Kevin) Brady came out kind of wild, got himself in trouble and (Brett) Booth hits a home run, we got excited and kept getting guys on. You just never know what can happen. I didn’t think they would pitch to Jake (Smith), or I really thought he was

going to hit one out. It speaks volumes of our team that we can even start a comeback like that in the bottom of the ninth inning when everyone thought we were out of it.”



On the run in the last month

“For the longest time, we were scratching and clawing trying to get out of the funk we were in and it just happened one day. Everything started clicking like we knew it could. Pitching, hitting, defense; we kept getting key hits. I’ve been proud of all our guys. It’s been a fun ride. We tried to just ride that wave out and unfortunately we didn’t get to our ultimate goal but it’s been fun.”

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