Texas A&M and Ole Miss baseball quotes after Rebels beat Aggies

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Head Coach Rob Childress
Opening Statement
“I thought it was a hard-fought ballgame. Give Ole Miss credit. I thought they played better than we did. We certainly had opportunities to get big hits and drive in runs. We just didn’t do that. I thought Ross [Stripling] battled hard. He gave us as good of performance as he could. We made a couple of mistakes defensively in the fourth and the sixth that cost us runs. Whenever we had the opportunity to get a big hit, Ole Miss’ pitchers made pitches. That’s what you’ve got to do in a game of this magnitude. Bottom line: they won the game and played better than we did.”

On not getting big hits late in the game
“I think we were 1-for-12 with runners in scoring position and when you do that you usually get what you get, and that’s a loss.”

On whether he was surprised by the Ole Miss offense
”I don’t think so. When you look at their bodies and the history of those players, you know that they can hit and it’s in there. When we would make good pitches they fouled them off and when we made a mistake they didn’t miss them. They did a good job against TCU’s pitchers and they obviously did a good job against Ross.”

On what it will take for the bottom of the lineup to produce
“It’s going to take a heroic effort on everyone’s part tomorrow for 18 innings, playing it one inning at-a-time. It’s going to be a long, hot day and there are guys in that clubhouse that understand that it can be done. The 2007 team did it and this team has got the toughness and is capable of doing that. We’re going to have to play very good baseball tomorrow for 18 innings for that to happen.”

On having to play 18 innings to advance tomorrow, as in the Big 12 Tournament
“That’s a question that we asked after the game. We had the opportunity to respond up in Bricktown, we didn’t do that. It’s going to take, like I said, a great effort on everyone’s part: on the mound, defensively and when we line them up on the bases we’ve got to get some key hits, some big hits, and that’s something we didn’t do.”

On facing TCU tomorrow and who he’ll start
“They scored four touchdowns today and got it going offensively for a team that’s struggled offensively for the most part of the year. They obviously left here feeling pretty good about themselves. It will either be [Daniel] Mengden or [Rafael] Pineda. That’s what I told Jim. I’m not sure yet but I’ll let him know. It will be one of those two guys.”

On whether the fair/foul call in the fourth weighed on the players
“Certainly. I think we got our composure back. You’ve got to overcome a call that goes for you or against you. That’s part of baseball and that’s part of life. It’s about overcoming that. Whether it was fair or foul is irrelevant. We’ve got to overcome that.”

Senior Pitcher Ross Stripling
On battling through his outing on the mound
“The errors really didn’t cost me that much at all. I think five out of six runs were earned. In the biggest game of the year you want to go out and get your team off good and I think that’s what I did, you know put up two zeroes off the bat. I had a rough stretch there in the third and the fourth. I couldn’t get a big pitch when I needed it and you can’t win a game this late in the year giving up 11 hits through six innings, or whatever it was. I was able to get some big strikeouts and get us in the dugout but you can’t go out and give up six runs in a game like this. You’ve got to be better than that. You’ve got to give your team a better chance to win. I’m disappointed. I’m happy it ended well, I guess, on my part, but overall we’ve got to come out tomorrow and play better.”

On the at bat with Matt Snyder in the fourth inning
“His first at bat, we threw him all off-speed and got a big punch out and we kind of stayed with that the rest of the game. It was probably a curve ball. We knew he struggled with off-speed and he got to where he just kind of sat on it. I hung it a little bit and he put a good charge into it. That ball was in the air for a long time. Luckily we were able to get an out out of it with the big throw to home, but that’s one of those pitches I wish I could have had back on the night. That’s kind of the story of my night. If you could bring four pitches back for me I think we’re sitting in better shape right now. But that’s the way it went. He got the big hit when I didn’t make the big pitch, so good for him.”

On how this could be his last outing at A&M and the ovation he received
“I appreciated it. I wish it could have been a better circumstance and I could have acknowledged everyone and said ‘Thank you’. I’m going to miss it. It’s been an unbelievable four years – the best four years of my life. Hopefully we’re not done here but if we are, then I just want to say ‘Thank you’ to the fans, ‘Thank you’ to the whole Aggie nation. It’s been an unbelievable ride and I was privileged to represent College Station and Texas A&M in general. Hopefully we keep it going, though.“

Junior Second Baseman/Shortstop Mikey Reynolds
On his performance on the night
“I felt better at the plate, just slowing the ball down. Pretty much making contact because that’s all you’ve got to do with a fastball pitcher, just pound the zone away. I wanted to get ahead and try to put the bat on the ball early so I didn’t get down on the count. Overall I don’t think we did a good job in that part, offensively. I think next game we’ve got to do that. In the eighth inning I was up 3-0 and he made some good pitches. He hit the inside corner, the outside corner and then he got me there on the last pitch.”

On Ole Miss starting pitcher Mike Mayers
“I saw a lot of fastballs, of course. Hitting in the bottom of the lineup you’re going to see a lot of fastballs. He was pretty good. He was hitting his spots. He was throwing that slider down low and I tend to swing at that. As long as you lay off that and you hit those fastballs early I think we’d be good.”
Head Coach Mike Bianco
“It was just a great baseball game. It was a war out there. I thought both teams competed hard. It was very emotional playing the host team with the crowd behind them. We played really well tonight. [Mike] Mayers was tremendous, but [Ross] Stripling was as good as anyone we have faced all year. He really battled, but I thought we had a great approach offensively. We got some big hits. Tanner was tremendous. He was on base all five times; he is the guy that makes us go. He gets on base, then there are four guys behind him that can really hit. [Matt] Snyder got a big double with bases loaded, and then got another hit with two outs in a big inning. Offensively we were terrific against a very good pitcher, but all that is for not if you don’t get the effort on the mound. Brett [Huber] has been sore and tender, and he wasn’t able to pitch yesterday. Our hope was that he would be available today, and he was. We just had to get to him a littler earlier than we would have liked. But, to have R.J. [Hively] on the back end to finish it off is a pretty good feeling.”

On the bullpen’s performance tonight…
“We pitched out of some jams, but you are talking about two very good guys. Texas A&M is very good. Brett [Huber] was on the verge of becoming the all-time save leader. He is tied with the record right now. R.J. [Hively] has been tremendous in the second half of the season. Our guys just continue to make pitches. Usually if you have a strong bullpen it is because they are making pitches with games on the line. Certainly we needed both of them tonight.”

On how important winning tonight was…
“Mathematically, it is not even close. There is still work to be done. We will enjoy this game tonight but we know we have to come to play tomorrow. The difference, and the reason you go to Huber early and Hively, is that if you win this one you only need to win one more. If you lose this one you have to win three. We were going to do whatever we had to do to win this game.”

Sophomore Pitcher Mike Mayers
On his improving throughout the season…
“It goes back to pitching with more experience. At the beginning of the year I had some rough spots, but I have learned. I have sat down with Coach Bianco many times and talked about each outing. After each outing you make sure you get better. I think it’s just a product of making sure I work on certain things throughout the season to make sure I am getting better.”

Junior Outfielder Tanner Mathis
On the offensively turnaround…
“It feels good. We have been lacking offensively the last two weeks. To win thing we are going to have to hit and play defense, because we knew we were going to get a great outing from our pitchers. They have done that the last two months of the season. We put it upon ourselves to get the big hit, and it has paid off so far.

On beating the number one and two seeds…
“It feels great. That was our goal the whole time, to come in here and play our best baseball of the year. Coach told us all season that our best baseball is in front of us, and he was right. We have put together some great innings and some great at bats by a lot of people. All the hard work is finally paying off for us, and we have been real lucky the last couple games.”

Senior Pitcher R.J Hively
On how he felt on the mound today…
“I felt fine. I was hoping that Brett [Huber] would finish it out. I am a big supporter of his. I have watched him work the past two years, and it would have been something special to see him finish that out. But, he told me after the game that he ran out of gas. I got my name called, I filled up the strike zone, and our offense did a great job.”

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