June 8, 2012
NCAA Baseball Championships
Tucson, Ariz., Super Regional - Hi Corbett Field
Friday, June 8, 2012
Game 1: Arizona 7, St. John's 6 (10 innings)
*Arizona improves to 1-1 in extra-inning games this year. UA dropped a 6-5 game in 12 frames at Washington on April 22
*St. John's drops to 2-3 in extra-inning games this year. Previous bonus-baseball results include: 2/25, Northern Illinois, W 11-9 (10); 4/15, Connecticut, L 7-8 (11); 3/18, Seton Hall, W 5-4 (12); 3/19, Seton Hall, L 4-5 (11).
*Kurt Heyer pitched nine innings for the eighth time this year, the only time it didn't give him a complete game. His average outing in 2012 - 8 innings plus, 138 innings in 17 appearances.
*St. John's lost for the first time since a May 19 decision at home against Seton Hall, snapping a seven-game winning streak.
*Arizona takes a five-game winning streak into Saturday's Game 2 of the Super Regional.
*Arizona improves to 4-3 in Super Regional games and 3-0 on the round's opener.
*St. John's (first NCAA Super Regional appearance) drops to 0-1 in the round.
*The 18 hits allowed by Kurt Heyer were the most in the junior's career. Previous high hits allowed is 12 (4/27/12, East Tennessee State; 5/4, Oregon)
*The win is Arizona's fifth walk-off victory of the season and third in its last seven contests.
St. John's Coach Ed Blankmeyer
"It looked like a good ballgame out there, but in our category it really wasn't. When you spot five runs then walk guys and then you walk two guys and they end up scoring both of those. Then those fly balls, those were all balls that should have been caught in my eyes. That's just not good baseball and that's not the way we've been playing. You have to give credit to Arizona for taking advantage of those opportunities. We had their guy (Kurt Heyer) on the rope, just a real gutty performance by him. We had our chances but we left runners stranded on base and after that five-run inning we couldn't do anything. But you know we'll see what tomorrow brings, that was a tough one to lose but I think we built a little bit of character out there today. Tomorrow will test our character. We've got to come out and be ready to play."
On Kurt Heyer's performance
"Arizona's been winning that way all year. They only have three guys out there, I mean that bullpen, it can just go to sleep out there. Andy has three starters and he's going to use them. We had them on the ropes and we just didn't finish the job, that's just the bottom line. We had a good approach in that five-run inning and then we got off that approach. Then at the end I think he was on fumes and we thought we had him there in the ninth. But you have to give that kid credit."
"Arizona swings the bats, I mean they really do. It's a club that doesn't swing and miss a lot. You've got to pitch to them and you have to minimize your mistakes. You can't give them things, you've got to make them earn everything. We saw them play on ESPN and they played against Louisville, who's in our league. But I mean they had 11 hits, we had 18. The bottom line is we gave them some things, they didn't give us anything. We took it from them. Let's be honest, those balls in the outfield have to be caught, that cost us some runs and really nipped us in the butt."
St. John's Third Baseman Sean O'Hare
" In the top of the 10th emotions were running high there but then they came right back and scored two in the bottom there, but I mean that's baseball. I think today we proved to ourselves we can play and hit with these guys, so I think we should be pretty confident heading into tomorrow's game."
"I think you just have to give credit to their pitcher (Kurt Heyer). He was just coming right at us and he was aggressive. He wasn't backing down and he had some pretty good stuff. We tried to still be aggressive, but in hindsight we may have wanted to work him a little bit more. But really you just have to give him credit.
St. John's Pitcher Kyle Hansen
On pitching in the heat
"Honestly I thought it was hotter pitching down in Florida pitching in the Big East Tournament, so it was nothing different. It just wasn't my day, the offense spotted me five runs and I couldn't go out there and close the deal."
"I think we just have to let this one go. We've been through this before. Two years ago we played against Virginia we hit a walk-off and then we lost the next day. We just have to come out tomorrow with a clean slate."
Arizona Coach Andy Lopez
"That's a great one to win and a tough one to lose. I've been in this for 36 years and I've been on both sides of that. It's a lot nicer feeling when you come out on top. I thought they did a marvelous job, St. John's was outstanding. They put together a real productive inning, maybe the most productive inning against Kurt Heyer I've seen in a long time. It's a good team. Someone asked me about being the favorite and I said that there's no such thing as a favorite in baseball, it's too complicated. Baseball is a strange sport. I'm not sure why I do it for a living. Obviously I'm very proud of our guys for coming back. I'm really proud of Trent Gilbert. He had two great at-bats. Most of us would attest to the last one because it led to a celebration, but I thought the triple a couple innings before was the biggest at-bat of the day for us. It was a real courageous effort by Kurt Heyer, one that I'll remember for the rest of my life. It was just a real solid effort by both clubs."
On the underclassmen
"It bodes well for us in the future. We've got some good young guys on this team who have made big plays and got big hits for us in toe course of the season for us. It's what we do here. It gets intense sometimes in practice, it's very competitive."
"You go from a survival stage, to the improvement stage, to the win stage. There was a time where he was probably in the survival stage, and then he started improving, and now he's getting in the win stage. It's a maturing process, but it's nice to see it come to fruition. We try to get guys ready to compete in big situations."
On Kurt Heyer
"I told ESPN after the game that that was one of the more courageous performances I have seen in a long time. What he did after the fourth inning was unbelievably impressive. He gave our offense a chance to get back into the ball game."
Arizona Second Baseman Trent Gilbert
On the walk-off hit
"With two strikes and bases loaded, I'm just trying to make contact. I didn't want to get the ball in the air and I wanted to stay away from the double play. I just wanted to stay back and try and put the ball in play and make something happen."
On his season
"I try not to worry about the ups and downs right now. It might not have been the season I wanted. It's post season now so I just want to focus on that."
Arizona Designated Hitter Bobby Brown
On not getting drafted
"I'm not focusing on that right now, I just want to take this one game at a time. I'm just focusing on getting to Omaha, and after Omaha, I'll focus on that."
On hitting in key situations
"I'd consider myself a clutch hitter. I've had a lot of big pinch hit at-bats in college. I've been very successful. In a big situation like that, I just feel calm at the plate, and I try to make things not too big."
On playing from behind
"We've been down quite a bit this year, but we always have the confidence that if we're down we're going to come back. We're a good offensive team."
Arizona Pitcher Kurt Heyer
On St. John's
"I think they did a great job of putting the ball in play. They were able to hit my mistakes. Early in the game I wasn't tagging the strike zone. After that fifth inning, I had to take my time. Chewy (Alex Mejia) did a great job of calming me down. I was able to make my pitches from there. They got their hits, but I was happy that my defense was able to pick me up in those clutch situations."
"I was fine. In this part of the season you can't get tired. Coach Lopez knew that I wanted to go out for the 10th because once he gives me the ball I don't want to give it up. I'm just really happy that we were able to get this one done."
On the 10th inning
"I was disappointed that I couldn't get out of that inning. Troupe did a great job of keeping us right there. I'm not upset about it, I'm happy that we were able to pull this one out."
On the play at the plate
"I jumped up and down. I couldn't contain myself. I've seen Johnny (Field) do that before, but this one tops them all."
On his performance
"If you take away that 4th inning I'd be happy. But Lopez told me that it was a gutsy performance. I wanted to keep my team in a position where we could scratch a few runs on the board. I'm really happy that the offense was able to fight back because if we did lose, I would have put this all on me because I think I could've done a better job earlier in the game."