HEAD COACH ROB CHILDRESS
“We’re obviously excited to be hosting and we understand we haven’t won anything yet. We talked to the team today about how we have earned the opportunity to be one of 16 teams who have the luxury of playing at home for their regional. We’ve accomplished an awful lot, but there’s still an awful lot in front of us. It’s obviously a tough regional tourney we do have here.”
On the team’s mental state after last weekend in Oklahoma City…
“They’ve got a dirty taste in their mouth, all of us do, of losing. We’ve lost two in a row. I kind of feel like a football coach right now, you’ve got to sit on it for a full week. And I don’t like it. That’s another reason besides a clock that I don’t coach football. We’re looking forward to getting out there tomorrow and getting that taste out of our mouths.”
Do you see a lot of similarities between Dayton and your club?
“I do. They want to create pressure. They’re very well-coached, they’ve had a very good year. They’re hot and playing well. They play with an edge and a chip on their shoulder. I do see a team that mirrors us a bit and tries to do the same things we do offensively. The key, to us too, is getting the leadoff hitter. That’s how you control the running game, on the mound. We have to do the same thing to them. It ought to be a great game tomorrow night.”
Do you feel the depth of your pitching staff will be an advantage in a regional format?
“We’ll find out. We sure hope so. We felt like the last five weeks of the season Daniel Mengden came on and gave us something to have confidence in if we get in a spot where we do need a No. 4. I’m disappointed in the Big 12 Tournament that we didn’t go deeper and allow some of the guys who needed to throw to throw. I had hoped we’d get to see more guys on the mound in the Big 12 Tournament, we just didn’t allow that to happen.”
Is Dayton a veteran team and how much will that help them this weekend?
“Yeah, they are. They’ve got nothing to lose. They were built to have a great year this year and those seniors didn’t let them down. We expect to get their very best tomorrow. Whatever anxiety a team may feel going into it, once the first punch is thrown it’s about playing the game, getting a big hit, making a big pitch, making the routine plays and finding a way to win. I don’t expect once the first pitch is thrown for there to be anything but good baseball played.”
Talk about the atmosphere here and whether you were a noticeably better team at home?
“We were 30-10 at home and we were a pretty good team on the road as well. For all and all, we’re one of 16 teams playing at home. We obviously love playing here, that’s why we schedule as many games here as we can. We’re happy we get to play here this weekend and I do feel like it’s going to be an advantage.”
On the magnitude of every pitch, every play once you hit the playoffs…
“I really feel like our team, from the weekend that didn’t go well against Baylor on, had to go on some sort of run. To earn the opportunity to host or to even be in discussion for a top-eight seed, we had to go on a run down the stretch. Things were magnified for us, where we couldn’t take a pitch or an at bat or a weekend off, or we were going to lose everything we had worked so hard for after that Baylor weekend. I don’t feel like there’s going to be any dial that needs to be turned tomorrow or the rest of this weekend.”
JUNIOR P MICHAEL WACHA
On what he has seen about Dayton…
“I guess what we’ve seen most is the amount of stolen bases they have. The best way to control that is not to let them on base. We hope to control that from on the mound—going out there, throwing strikes and not giving them any free baserunners out there. That can lead to big innings.”
Does it help your approach having been through this before?
“Yeah I definitely think so. It’s the third year for me, I definitely am comfortable with the regional atmosphere. I think it plays a big part in it.”
JUNIOR OF TYLER NAQUIN
On his approach when facing pitchers he hasn’t seen…
“It’s just the same approach as always, trying to hit the ball to all fields, hit it where it is pitched, and try to square it up and it’ll take care of itself.”
How much does it help having been through this before?
“I believe experience is everything when it comes down to it. If you’re at the plate with runners in scoring position and the last out of the game is on the line, if you’re a guy who hasn’t been there yet you may be feeling some pressure. But if you have been, you may look at it as another pitch, another swing.”