OMAHA, Neb. -- Louisville coach Dan McDonnell spoke with reporters after the Cardinals' 3-1 loss to Vanderbilt in the College World Series at TD Ameritrade Park.
DAN McDONNELL OPENING STATEMENT: You know, congratulations to Vanderbilt. Drake (Fellows) was really good on the mound today. We had our one chance to score against him, and he pitched out of it. Just like Reid, they had their one chance to score against Reid, and he pitched out of it. It was a hard-fought game, and we didn't play great, and we still had a chance to win. So I was really pleased with that.
But it hurts when their best player (Austin Martin) beats you, and obviously nothing against J.J. (Bleday) or anybody else on their team, I'm sure there's days he's their best player, but I'm sure they have more than one best player, but obviously you could say their best player beat us today.
Q. Reid, obviously you pitched well after that first home run, but what's the shock like when your first pitch goes out of the park like that?
DETMERS: I mean, you've just got to work through it. I kind of struggled finding the zone early on, and you've just got to go out there and compete and give it your best.
Q. Reid, like you said, you kind of uncharacteristically were missing spots today, but you were still keeping your team in the game. What's your mentality as you're walking people but still keeping them off the board?
DETMERS: Yeah, like I said, just going out there and competing, giving it my all for my teammates because that's what matters. I'm going out there trying to throw strikes and do my best, and good things will hopefully happen.
Q. Henry, you had a couple of big swings there in the middle of the game against Fellows, get that offense going a little bit. How tough is that guy, and what do you think allowed you guys to kind of hang around there and get to him a little bit? And then that one inning where you guys couldn't cash in, how important do you think that was in the game?
DAVIS: That was definitely the turning point in the game where we missed out on an opportunity, but I still felt like we could win. I think everybody still felt like we could win after that point. Everybody seemed like they were seeing the ball, getting good swings, putting good at-bats together.
Q. Henry, you guys have said a lot this year your offense is kind of contagious - when one gets going, everybody gets going. Was there a disappointment in the fifth when you guys only had one run and you had the bases loaded?
DAVIS: No, we felt like we could win the game at any point. I mean, even in the last inning we were one swing away with our best hitter at the plate, so we were in it the whole time.
Q. Reid, Martin of course got you that one swing but then you were able to get him the next couple of trips. How good is that guy and what was kind of your game plan against a guy like that?
DETMERS: Yeah, I mean, he's probably one of the best we've faced all year. As you can tell, he can basically hit anything anywhere he wants it. So yeah, you've just got to keep the ball down because he capitalizes on everything that you put up, so you've just got to keep the ball down and make good pitches.
Q. What have you guys enjoyed about being in Omaha most?
DAVIS: I'd say spending time with everybody else on the team. Even here, all the events, even at the hotel, just spending a lot of time with them, it's been a blast.
DETMERS: Yeah, I can go along with that, just being here, the atmosphere, being here with my best friends. We're doing everything together, so we're just bonding very well, and it's a very fun place to be.
Q. Have you guys been able to enjoy any of the scenery in Omaha, visit any restaurants or anything?
DAVIS: I mean, we've been around, but everybody here has been super nice. The fans and everything, it's been awesome. It's been a great experience.
DETMERS: Yeah, we went out to eat a couple times, just kind of checking out the places around, talked to a couple fans, and yeah, basically everyone is super nice here, and it's been a blast.
Q. What are you going to say to your players to get ready for the next game?
McDONNELL: Yeah, in the outfield, I just challenged them a little bit. I didn't think we played our best baseball, looked a little bit like our first two games in the regionals, and maybe it's having our back against the wall, maybe it's playing with a little more edge. We always say we have to be who we are, and we play a certain way, a certain style with a certain type of energy, and I just didn't think we were that today.
Hopefully we get back to who we are on Tuesday.
Q. Coach, what's the scouting report on Austin Martin? Was it a surprise to you at all that he swung at the first pitch?
McDONNELL: No. You know, it's such a long year that he's probably done a little bit of everything, and you've got a left-hander throwing 90-plus, you're just trying to get ahead. Like Reid said, he's just a really good hitter, and even Henry, our catcher, he said Hoeing made a really good pitch, changeup down, something really down, and he went and got it.
I know Coach Williams walked out there, we had the base open. You still have JJ behind him, so it's not like you're going to just intentionally walk him, but you're going to try to make good pitches, and he just went down, and haven't seen it yet on video, but according to our catcher, just said, Coach, man, he went down and hit a good pitch.
Q. Dan, did you make any adjustments in terms of the approach at the plate? Seemed like you guys started to have better success the second and third time through the order against Fellows.
McDONNELL: You know, I don't want to take a lot of credit. I mean, I just pulled up the dugout and just challenged the energy in the dugout, just challenged our hitters. Until somebody bangs a fastball, he's just going to cut us up. Until you bang a fastball. And fortunately that inning we put some good swings and we got some hits, and unfortunately with the bases loaded and one out we couldn't get any more.
But like Henry said, it's a 1-1 game and gets to the seventh there, and we got one of our top relievers on the mound in Hoeing and we got Kirian and McAvene, so we felt like we had a chance to hold them, but we've still got to score, and at the end of the day, we scored one run.
Q. Obviously you guys have said a lot about how your offense is contagious when you put some hits together and get people on base. After that fifth inning did you feel like there was a breakthrough coming with how well Ray was pitching, kind of getting in control?
McDONNELL: Yeah, no doubt. You feel like you're fortunate for it to be a 1-1 game with Reid just not as sharp as he was. We didn't make a couple plays behind him; we weren't super sharp in the field. You know, even when we didn't score with the bases loaded, 1-1, you feel like, okay, we haven't played great baseball, and we're facing obviously a great team, and we've got a chance to win this.
I was kind of looking forward to being in a close game. I don't know how many close games they've been in in the last few weeks. Didn't seem like they were in a lot of close games, where we had been in a handful of them, in our own regional. So I just felt like a close game could be a little bit of an advantage to us or -- just didn't happen.
Q. Coach, just on Fellows, seemed like he was pretty steady. He's been steady all year through the sixth, seventh inning. Did you see him wane at all or was he as strong late in the outing as he was early?
McDONNELL: I thought he was just as strong. It's really just our hitters getting more comfortable. I thought he had a lot of life on the fastball early, had good strike percentage. I think he hit Fitz. He's got a high number of HBPs and we felt like we might get a couple today.
But even in the inning when we put together some hits and some good at-bats, he made some good pitches to Fitz and Binelas, and we were hoping to knock him out, and as I said, hoping to get into their bullpen.
But also realize it's day one of a tournament, so I don't know if anybody is champing at the bit to get into Vanderbilt's bullpen. It's going to be good arms they're running out there. But just the goal of knocking out the starter, and I'm sure that gave them some juice when we had to make the substitution for Reid, and we were happy to see Fellows get out of there because obviously he pitched really well.
Q. You've been in Omaha for a few days. What have you enjoyed about being in Omaha and Nebraska?
McDONNELL: I think our players said it. The hospitality is really neat. You talk about how nice everybody is. That's something they take a lot of pride in how you treat people, and I'd like to think you don't have to be a superstar team to be treated well. We talk about how you treat anybody is how you'll treat everybody. But it's really neat to see how well you're treated out here.
I know the kids enjoy it. That's what makes it special is the people. I came as a player. I've had a chance to come as a coach, and I think at the end of the day, people are going to remember the people the most. Our players are going to remember just how well they were treated by everybody.
Q. Do you have a favorite restaurant here in Omaha? And it's Father's Day; do you have any plans with your family at all to celebrate or with your other family?
McDONNELL: You know, I kind of migrate to my hotel room when we're on the road. I just watch a lot of video. I just -- I love being with friends and family, but I've got a niece, Joeleigh, who graduated from high school this week in New York. So actually all my family is up there, which is the right place to be, and for me just being here with my team is awesome.
I'll watch this game tonight, start scouting who we could play on Tuesday, and as our kids know, for me it's a business trip. That's just the way I handle these road trips. But I've got a lot of Citadel buddies that flew out, which means a lot to me. It means a lot when people drop everything. It's just amazing. They'll turn their lives upside down and spend a lot of money to be here and support you. That's what makes this place awesome.
I'll make time. I'll make time to be with them as we prepare for our next game on Tuesday.
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