Connecticut Head Coach Jim Penders:
I thought our guys had more fun tonight. We have been in that situation where we have hosted a regional the first night and its tough. I remember in 2010 that there is almost more pressure on the home team on the first night. That’s not to say that will last but our guys just had a little bit more fun tonight. And you could say that you scored more runs than they did but I think the fun came first.
The played loose and played together and we swung the bats just as well as we did on Sunday. We haven’t swung the bats consistently all year but we had really well at bats and were aggressive with them.
Carson was behind a lot tonight but he bent and didn’t break. When there were two outs and runners on, he was special. That’s the sign of an ace and that’s why he is our ace. After those two walks and he gets those two punch outs in really good sequences and threw a breaking ball to finish it, he was lights out in those spots.
We got fortunate and we had some breaks. But we also applied really good pressure in those at bats all night and the ninth inning we seem to make interesting no matter where or when. The E7 25 is something we work at in the preseason, but it was a good win and these guys had an awful lot to do with it and proud to get off to a 1-0 start down here.
Two weeks ago could you see yourself in this situation?
Before George Mason we lost a game to Rhode Island and that was about as low as I have been in a long time. We weren’t doing anything right and was really struggling. I have said this a couple times, but school is over, final exams are over and it seemed like we refocused our energy on a long nine-hour bus ride to George Mason.
We looked like a different team at George Mason; it wasn’t just the BIG EAST Tournament. We did lose a game there on the last day but we were coming back in the game and applied pressure late. We hadn’t done a lot of that all year and gathered confidence there.
We can only play one at a time and it was just great to get the first win today. But that is just one ball game we will have a tough one tomorrow.
How big was getting on a role early on…
The first inning has been my struggle all year so to get those first three outs quick was awesome. To get our team back in the dugout and at the plate as fast as possible was a good time.
Feeling in the fifth inning…
I put myself with two outs and walked two guys in a row so I knew I had to do something big to get out of it. So, I just attacked the zone and my breaking pitched helped out a lot.
On Tech’s hitting…
I just tried to teach each of them as any other hitter in the line up. They are really good hitters and they can hurt you so I just tried to do my best and keep them on their toes and get the outs.
Pitching staff, what was the secret…
I think our staff has a lot of heart and we like to step up and add to the pressure. All of our guys out of the pen has done it all year also so that’s what we thrive on.
First four hit game in a while… what kind of changes did you make…
Well first of all I was a little bit tense going into the BIG EAST Tournament. The first couple games weren’t going my way, but in the semifinals I started playing really loose and got the plate and I really just felt comfortable. A lot of that I give credit to our dugout and coaches. They have really good energy and it helps a lot.
The loose energy is what really is helping us. Especially with me at the plate it helps a lot.
Good looks against the lefty…
I was seeing the ball well. Back in the BIG EAST Tournament, a lot of the lefties had my number over the last couple weeks. But today to come around and get a few hits off him was great and he was pushing inside a little bit and it didn’t really work me out. I saw his breaking ball well and the fastball well out of his hand.
Tech was the host, what was the mindset coming in?
The confidence from the BIG EAST Tournament helped us out a lot. Like I said before, the dugout having a lot of looseness and a lot of energy just helped this team a lot. Going into this weekend, we felt nothing but confident.
Pitching staff, what was the secret…
I think we all kind of thrive in these big moments. Obviously we didn’t let the media or crowd get to us. We just went out there like it was any other game, throwing strikes and attacking hitters. We got eight guys behind us to make plays too so that’s really it.
Talk about Horan…
He is probably the best hitter and I didn’t want to walk him. I knew the pressure was on him and he was probably gripping the bat a little tighter so it was a big spot. I was just trying to throw the ball at him and luckily he missed it.