The Oregon State Beavers have secured a spot in the national championship game thanks to two wins against Mississippi State. After their latest win over the Bulldogs in Omaha, OSU head coach Pat Casey spoke to members of the media about the result and what they expect from their next opponent: the Arkansas Razorbacks.
The words in bold are from the moderator or the media members in attendance.
“First of all, we’re proud of our club to fight through the loser’s bracket get the opportunity to fight for a national championship. It’s special. Our guys, you could see, we were running on fumes.
Mississippi State, what a tremendous club they have. Gary Henderson, the job he’s had at Mississippi State is second to none. That’s pretty impressive.
And my hat’s off to him and the whole deal. It’s a tough day when you lose at Omaha. But it only takes a day or two for everybody to realize how special it was to get here.
So unbelievable start out of Abel being a freshman kid to go out in that environment. Mully, we really didn’t have a lot of options after that. He sucked it up and did well. We knew they were going to compete. We had two outs and nobody on.
Anyway, just a great effort by us and a tremendous ballgame.”
I think opening weekend when I saw Kevin he went one and a third, was lifted. How have you seen him mature as a pitcher, not only mentally but physically with his stuff this year?
“Well, his stuff, as you know, was really good. He just couldn’t get it where he wanted to.
And I think he’s right, until you believe that you can do that, it’s pretty hard to do it. So it all started with him trusting himself. And then we had to go out on a limb a little bit and throw him into some games and extend him a little bit and force him in some big situations.
I remember at Arizona, he had the game won and he’s in there dialed up, throwing the heck out of it and all of a sudden ball four to the nine-hole guy, hits the lead-off guy before we get the guy up in the bullpen, he’s loaded the bases, and we had to come back with him again after that to show him if we’ve got confidence in you, somewhere along the line you’re going to have to get confidence in yourself, and he did.”
Tyler Malone keeps on coming up with these big swings for you. What have you seen in his development over the course of the season? I know he hasn’t always been an everyday player for you but seems like right now he seems to be a key cog in this machine?
“There’s no question. And he was key in the middle of the pack when we were in the middle there in a stretch where he was really hot and did a lot of good things. He’s always had the aptitude to hit, and he’s a guy we always thought would hit. And he needs to do that for us. He needs to drive in runs and hit with some power.
So he feels pretty good about that. But we saw him hit in high school. And I thought this guy could come in be a eventual three-hole hitter, and I still believe that he can do that.”
You’re probably looking ahead to Arkansas tomorrow. But I don’t know if you’ve had a chance to watch any of their games. What’s your early thought about this matchup?
“They’re really good. They’re complete. They really pitch and hit. To handle Florida twice, pretty impressive. I know how good they are.
And I had the opportunity to watch them play many times during the season and watch the SEC Tournament. And they’re really playing well. I mean, they played three games. We played five.
They’re coming out with their best guy and ready to roll. We’re well aware of how good they are. Dave’s done a great job. And we will have our hands full.”
Anything in particular going through your mind when they loaded the bases there in the ninth?
“Yeah, there’s a lot of things going through my mind. We had Chamberlain up and Heimlich up and I [to Nate Yeskie] said I can’t imagine bringing Chamberlain in in this situation. Mully got us here. He can subtract. He was still 90 miles an hour. He just kind of missed a little bit and walked a guy and then missed the slider, hit the kid.
I think he got inside his barrel jammed him a little bit. Went over the shortstop’s head. I just said, hey, he’s going to finish one way or the other unless something happens. But the only options we had down there were Chamberlain and Heimlich, and I just didn’t feel good with that with this guy being on the mound.
For the first five hitters that he faced he was lights out. It was bang, bang, bang. It’s hard to think that it’s going to happen that quick. It did. You’ve got to give Mississippi State credit. They’ve been feeding off that comeback thing all year long.
But he still had good stuff. He just missed.”