June 16, 2013
COLLEGE WORLD SERIES
TD AMERITRADE PARK OMAHA
UCLA HEAD COACH John Savage:
"It was quite a game. You're talking about Nola and Plutko, really pitching as advertised. Nola gave us fits all night. We really didn't get a whole lot of good swings. They did get some good swings off Adam. They hit some balls hard. Adam, I think, pitched to the ballpark a little bit. That's his strength. He's a fly ball pitcher. I think anybody that follows us knows that. I'm very proud of Adam, proud of our team. That was a grind. You're talking about a crowd that was certainly in the favor of LSU and we anticipated that. And I think at the end of the day, it was our type of game. And fortunately we came out. It's Game 1 of the World Series, so there's no celebration. But it could have ... at the end it could have gone either way. But we are a resilient bunch. And we played a lot of tight games all season long. And I think tonight was somewhat of a typical game for us. I think five hits on both sides. And fortunately we came out on top. So on to the next round. Very proud of our team and the way we played this evening."
On LSU's mistakes:
"They are a good defensive team, as was Fullerton. We've caught some breaks. The Chapman play in the first inning, Bregman's game and then Filia's play to shortstop that kicked off his glove, but I think the ball was hit pretty hard. Good things happen when you hit the ball hard. And the bunt was fortunate. It was a good drag. Carroll can run, as we all know. Speed creates pressure, and I think there was a little pressure there, and he happened to throw the ball away. So opportunistic would be the word. That one inning we got an error. We got a ground ball. We got a sac fly. Nola threw five pitches that inning and we got a run. There's something there; it's hard to describe. But I think they believe in what they do, and I think they realized that we just need to get a couple of runs and we can stay in the game, and that's their mindset. So we've been fortunate. But good teams create their own breaks a lot of times."
On whether all the national seeds losing changes the complexion of the CWS for the team:
"No, it doesn't. I mean, I saw four good teams yesterday and four good teams today. So it's basically one day down in each bracket. I think anybody can win this. I think we felt that kind of going in. And I think it's happening. I really don't pay a whole lot of attention to seeds at this stage. Of course, you want to be a host in the regional and you want to host a Super Regional. And then after that, for me, anybody you play is going to be really good. So I don't really get caught up in it, and neither does our team."
UCLA PITCHER Adam Plutko
On Christian Ibarra's near-home runs:
"I knew it was close, both of those. I thought I just jammed him enough, though, to keep it in the ballpark. But he took some great at bats all night long."
On whether being overlooked fueled the team:
"I mean, if you look at it, I think we've been kind of flying under the radar all year long. We always talk about we want to play our game. And we don't play the opponent, we play our game. And a team as good as LSU, if we try and compete with them, I think we get out of our game plan and we just kept stringing quality at bats, one right after the other, one right after the other. Finally, we just we were lucky enough to break them down a bit. And I think that was the difference in the ballgame."
UCLA PITCHER David Berg
On the drama of the 9th inning:
"They're great hitters. I thought I made a lot of good pitchers, but they weren't going to chase anything. And it was a big spot. I made some good pitches. Defense made a big play for me in that double play. But Christian did a great job battling. Didn't chase any of the pitches. I thought I made some good pitches and I did enough. Didn't have to look pretty, but it was good enough for tonight to get the job done."
On the failed immaculate deception play:
"We practiced all year long, and we kind of told them it was a play we were practicing for probably at College World Series, and probably be the ninth inning, probably be me to run it, if anybody. And today I was excited to run it. I thought it was going to work. Pinch runner, and it was kind of a big situation. He knew he was the go-ahead run. He wanted to go, wanted to score, probably thought I was focused on the hitter. I thought we ran it pretty well. He was a smart runner, looked up, the ball wasn't there, and he stayed on the bag. It was a good play by him. I thought we executed well. It just didn't work that time."
UCLA OUTFIELDER Eric Filia
On being opportunistic:
Yeah, absolutely. We're big on execution and getting the next guy up to the plate and everything. And really, Brian (Carroll) did a great job getting on with the bunt, with his speed, and making pressure on the defense. And Kevin Kramer did a great job getting him over. And I was just looking to look for a ball in the air or to elevate a ball in the air, and I got that. In my last at bat, I really was just trying to stay short with two strikes. And luckily enough I hit the ball hard to the shortstop and made him try to field the ball, and fortunately it went in my favor and got the run in."
On their approach against Aaron Nola:
"He likes throwing the fastball low and away. He lives on the outside corner. That's what our approach has been all year, just the middle and to the opposite field. Our game is we don't hit home runs. We play small ball. We get the next guy up to the next at bat and everything like that. And I feel like this field really played to our advantage. We don't try to get too big. We just try to stay small and use the middle of the field and everything, and that was really our approach going into the game and against Nola, especially, a great pitcher like him. And it worked out. Just kept grinding him and grinding him. His pitch count got up a little bit, and we kinda just wore him out towards the end."