COACH VANDERHOOK: We got beat. That's the way I look at it. We didn't lose. We got beat. We came out and put a little charge on them. And then kind of died offensively. And they had one inning where they did about the same thing but extended a little longer. So we played two games here and didn't lose one. We got beat twice. And I can live with that. We didn't beat ourselves at all. They were more physical than us. So we've talked about that a little bit. We need to change a few things. But flat out, LSU beat us.
THE MODERATOR: Questions?
Q. Rick, what kind of problems or challenges does Bregman, for LSU, present especially moving him to the top of the lineup like they did? He had a good day, got on base a lot to start some innings off?
COACH VANDERHOOK: He got on base I think the first four times up. I think Paul put him there because he's not had a very good postseason to try to get him to let it go a little bit early. He presents problems. He gets on the base, creates havoc. But I don't think he hurt us. He didn't do anything in my opinion to hurt us. It was the other guys in the middle of the order that did some damage as we were going trying to get that thing stopped. But he's a good player.
Q. So you guys played two SEC powers. Played them tough. Lost both games. How do you guys measure your club against those clubs? What do you think Fullerton needs to do differently in the future to win those games instead of getting beat, as Coach said?
DAVID OLMEDO-BARRERA: I think like Coach said we need to get more physical, just standing on the line next to those guys, there's an obvious difference. You guys probably all see it. And so that's something that we're really going to work on next year for sure. And I really think we went toe to toe with those guys, though. Being from the Big West, not the powerhouse SEC like you call it, I thought we handled our own.
CONNOR SEABOLD: I agree. If there's anywhere where we need to improve for next year it's physicality. That's about it. That's the way I feel.
Q. David, you guys jumped on Lange pretty good there in the first inning, and then, of course, everything kind of shifted. How were you able to get to him early, and what happened differently after that?
DAVID OLMEDO-BARRERA: Fastballs. That's what he threw in the beginning. We were really committed to that. After that, I think we got away from it a little bit when he started throwing more off-speed. We chased it. And none of it was really for a strike. Kind of chased it and I mean, I know I did and some of my teammates did as well. They just stayed with their approach better than we did today.
Q. Could you talk about the shifts that your team has gone through in these last couple of games? It seemed like you had one bad inning a lot of times when the other team was able to capitalize and things just switched so quickly?
DAVID OLMEDO-BARRERA: I think that's just baseball. It's a game of momentum. And when a team can get momentum and they run with it, it can be a dangerous thing. I think that's just happened to us at times.
Q. Connor, did the LSU lineup just start to figure you out in the third inning, or was it they just jumped on some pitches after they had seen you a couple times?
CONNOR SEABOLD: I think they jumped on some pitches. I didn't have my best stuff today. I was having trouble finding the strike zone. Couldn't get out pitches down in the zone. They were taking advantage of the mistakes I made and they did a good job of that.
Q. Coach, going into the first inning, you guys had great offensive outing, three runs, four hits. What did you say to your team to kind of get them charged up for the game?
COACH VANDERHOOK: No comment. I don't want to tell you what I said.
Q. Rick, how do you assess the season as a whole?
COACH VANDERHOOK: We're in Omaha. You know, it's success. I told our guys at the end, us and Arkansas are done. But at the end, ultimately, there's only going to be one team happy. That's just the way it goes in these tournaments and at the end of the year in every sport, with the exception of football, even though they think they have a championship game. But everybody's going to go home. There's going to be only one champion at the end. You've seen us play a lot. Kendall quit calling me like a long time ago. I've teased him about it. But you know, we started off rocky. But then as it went along the road, you know, we've gone toe to toe with everybody. Louisville is as good as any of those teams we just played. But fortunately enough we pitched a little better and put a few more runs on the board. It's like the ball Steve hit yesterday, that ball is in the bullpen. Today's it's not. That's baseball. But when you're one of the final eight teams in the country in the middle of the U.S.A., they're going to be disappointed. But when it is all said and done they got to play in the College World Series, and that's a big deal.
Q. Coach, from your standpoint, what was Lange doing different after the first inning?
COACH VANDERHOOK: I don't know if it was much -- I don't know if it was as much what he was doing as it was what we were doing. If we would take a strike we would swing at the next pitch. And the change, I think it was the change that he went to late in the game. The bottom was dropping out of it. For me, we were chasing everything down, and the fastball's pretty straight for me. It's a hittable fastball. It's not Birdie or some of those guys that we've seen in this run. But we chased too much. I mean that was the bottom line. We swung at pitches that you can't hit and took pitches you could hit. We got chasing our tail and never got it stopped.
COACH MAINIERI: First of all, the correct pronunciation is Scivicque. It's been butchered worse than that, I'm sure (laughter). Obviously, the understatement of the day is that we're so happy to get a win finally at TD Ameritrade Ballpark. Beautiful ballpark and a wonderful city. But it was like it was a curse on the LSU Tigers for a couple of years. Just to get a victory is very relieving, I would say is probably the right word. But great ballgame. Obviously the story of the game was this young, right-handed pitcher on our team who has been just absolutely terrific all year. He just put the team on his shoulders after a rough first inning. Listen, I thought he made good pitches in the first inning and they just did a good job against him. The three-hole hitter smoked that one in the gap and then they had a fortuitous chopper through the right side to set something up. They executed a safety squeeze. They did some good things. It wasn't so much that he was making bad pitches. But I just think the true character of a player shows when they get knocked on the ground like he did in the first inning, and then he just regrouped, never lost his confidence, never lost his aggressiveness. He continued pitching and the next eight innings I think they had two hits against him. He ended up striking out ten. It was great to see Bregman have a big game. It was grade to see Laird have a big game, and Kade has been so outstanding for us all year. We had 13 hits, unfortunately scored only five runs. We made it a little tougher on Alex than it needed to be. We needed to take advantage of a few more opportunities that we did have, and we'll have to do better as we go forward if we want to continue to play. But we'll take the win. We're not going to critique too much of it today. We're just happy to win a game.
THE MODERATOR: Questions.
Q. Alex, when you were, after the first inning gave up three runs, four hits, what did you do to kind of calm down and get back into your groove?
ALEX LANGE: I wasn't really, like, nervous or anything or amped up. I left a couple of pitches up and they do what good hitters do they hit the ball. I took a step back and regrouped in the dugout and just really focused on I needed to go out there and execute my pitches, just hit my spots where Coach Dunn and Kade calls them and leave it up to the defense. They've been great all year. Pitching with that defense behind me makes it real easy.
Q. Coach, changed the lineup, wore road jerseys, you're even wearing a jersey today. Was it a mojo thing? What was the method behind that?
COACH MAINIERI: We didn't have a choice of the dugout. We did change the jersey for mojo, okay. And I did wear a jersey at the request of the players. I hadn't worn a jersey in a while. They've been trying to get me to wear a jersey all year. So desperate times calls for desperate measures. What have we got to lose. We'll see if it helps. As far as changing the lineup that was done for the purpose of us doing better. And we put a lot of thought into that. What happened there was I really thought whether we were playing Vanderbilt -- see, we practiced yesterday before Vanderbilt and Fullerton had finished their game. So we didn't know who we were playing. So we obviously didn't know who was pitching against us. But I guessed we would either see Pfeifer or Gavin. Lefty or lefty. And we've been starting the games with two left-handed hitters and haven't been getting great production out of the lead-off spot. So I was telling Alex, when he was taking ground balls yesterday, you know, that we need to do something about the top of the order. And so Alex was, like, I'd like to lead off. I said that's what I was hoping you would say. But I really didn't want to move him out of the 3 hole because he's been there all year, and he's our dude. And so he was excited about it, I thought, okay, that's what I wanted to do. Well, then what happens is we kind of get thrown a curveball and they throw the right-hander against us. So he sends me a text message last night am I still leading off? So he was excited about it. I really felt that we just needed a spark at the top of the order. And who is a tougher out than Alex Bregman? I didn't necessarily expect him to get four hits, but I thought he would make the pitcher work. I thought he wouldn't strike out. I thought he'd give you a good quality at-bat, make their pitcher work hard right there in the first inning. As it turns out he had a big day. Unfortunately he led off three innings with base hits, but he only scored in one of those innings. That's where I'm telling you we need to finish off some rallies as we go forward.
Q. Alex, how does your mindset change at the top of the order, and just describe your comfort level in that spot; is that something that you would like to continue to do the rest of the CWS here?
ALEX BREGMAN: I would just like to win, wherever I need to hit in the lineup, whatever works. If I'm hitting first or ninth, as long as we're winning I'm happy. I felt comfortable out there. I was trying to square balls up and put together quality at-bats and find ways on base and try to create some offense. We wanted to kind of get our swagger back offensively. We've had a really good offense all year long, and it's coming.
Q. Alex and Kade, what was the mood like after they jumped on you guys there in the first inning? Did you have any of that, here we go again, TD Ameritrade, we can't win here? Or were you feeling confident knowing you had Lange out there and an offense that could put up runs in a hurry?
KADE SCIVICQUE: I mean, first thing is don't press. We had a long game left behind us. We knew Alex was going to go out there and compete for us. We have a good lineup. We have a good offense, and we just trust ourselves and try to hit the ball.
ALEX BREGMAN: Yeah, I mean, when you have one of the best pitchers in the country throwing for you who is going to compete for us, we know that we needed to compete for him. And you have to score runs to win games anyway. Once they put up three we knew we'd have to score to win if we wanted and we wanted to do it big offensively. We didn't do it as big as we wanted to but that will come. We're just happy to come away with a win.
Q. Paul, you seemingly left Alex alone in that first inning -- freshman, first start in Omaha. Was that built out of trust over what you've seen through the season with him?
COACH MAINIERI: When you say left him alone, you mean left him in the game?
Q. No, not many trips out.
COACH MAINIERI: Alan Dunn went out and talked to him early in the inning just to make sure he kept his focus and didn't panic. I wasn't worried about Alex Lange at all. This kid is so mature and poised, and I think he knew he was making good pitches. The second batter of the game he threw a beautiful first-pitch curveball to him, and then he had him in an 0-2 count -- I think he was trying to waste a pitch, probably didn't put it exactly where he wanted it -- and the kid got a base hit. And next kid he threw a first-pitch fastball, it was probably 92. And the kid is a really good hitter. He turned on it and they got a run and now they've got a runner at third. Those kind of things happen. He has shown us all year that he's not going to ever throw in the towel. He's going to fight you right to the very end. He's the ultimate competitor, besides having a lot of ability. So I really wasn't worried about it. Let me add to -- Aaron, what he asked the players, just so you know -- we had a stretch, I don't remember the exact stats, but I want to say we fell behind in seven of eight SEC games in a row or something. And we came back and won virtually all of them. So there was really no panic in our dugout at all. We knew we had the capability. May have been a little bit of a wake-up call because we haven't been swinging the bats great for the last few weeks, and all of a sudden that third inning you started to see what we were capable of doing. We strung some stuff together and once we got the lead, once you give Alex Lange a lead, man, he's tough, boy. I wouldn't want to hit against him.
Q. Alex Lange, as the game goes on and you get deep into the seventh, eighth, ninth inning, what's your mentality knowing that you've gone the distance before, you've done that before and you want to finish the job?
ALEX LANGE: Finish it. Win the game. There's nothing more to it. You're not overthinking anything. You're not thinking about what's going on after -- just finish it at all costs. These guys picked me up big time, giving me four runs in the third, and that kind of settled me down and didn't really have to focus up again. So just going out there and finishing it. I know we have two of the best relievers in the country in Person and Bugg out there, and I know they have my back if I run into trouble. When you're out there, you want to finish it and that was my mindset: I'm going to finish this game.
Q. Alex, now that you've got the win out of the way, what do you think of possibly playing three games through Saturday, what are your chances getting that far?
ALEX BREGMAN: Our chances? I'm very confident in our team. I think all of us are very confident in each other. I think they were going to take it one game at a time and try to win one more first. We can't really be thinking ahead at all. There are too many good teams in this tournament to do that. And if we just focus on winning tomorrow or winning -- excuse me -- Thursday, we're still going to have our work cut out for us, but we're going to battle and fight until the end and leave it all out on that field.
Q. Alex Lange, having grown up relatively close to here, obviously everybody dreams about pitching in the majors, but did this pitching here mean a lot to you, a chance to do that? Now that you've done it, how do you think you might reflect on your first College World Series start when you're an old guy like us?
ALEX LANGE: You know, this was a blast. This was a lot of fun. Growing up only three hours away in Kansas City, it's something that every kid dreams of is to play in the College World Series. And being able to go out there and play in it is kind of a dream come true. It was a lot of fun especially with the group of guys we have, how close-knit we are and just being able to share the moment with them and moving on. That's pretty cool. So I'm really happy to experience that. But I'm more happy that we won and that we're moving on. So I'm ready for Thursday to get back out there.
Q. Kade, I know y'all had two singles in that third inning but then you came up and got the big RBI single. Do you feel that was the momentum shift you all needed on offense when you got that base hit?
KADE SCIVICQUE: I wouldn't say that was the thing. Our guys were going up there trying to hit the ball hard, trying to hit the ball through the infield. And to be fortunate to string a few hits together and score a few runs. So that helped us out.
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