Illinois vs. Iowa Game Quotes
May 23, 2007
Illinois Pitcher Tanner Roark
On Illinois' defensive dominance ... "Defense all the way, especially those two line-drive double plays to shortstop Shawn Roof. I didn't have time to react because they were hit so hard but with that defense behind us and that offense again coming through, putting up 12 runs, six in the ninth. That's huge.
On the attitude of the team after such a lopsided victory ... "Just keep playing like we're playing right now. We're playing great as a team right now. We're doing well, the defense is playing well, we're playing well as a team. Keep the sprits up in the dugout and just keep coming through, clutch things."
Opening statement ... "I thought we played extremely well. Most of the time you play extremely well, you get excellent pitching. I thought Tanner (Roark) was very sharp today. When Iowa did get baserunners, we did a very good job of playing defense and turning double plays and our offense took a lot of pressure off early by scoring five runs in the first three innings. We took control of the game early and continued to be sharp the entire game."
On the team's attitude going into the game ... "The thing we talked about prior to the tournament was the fact that we wanted to come in to win games and not just be happy to show up to the tournament so I thought our players came into the tournament with the attitude that we were going to go out and win the game. We also talked about the fact that we had to be sharp about all three aspects of the game and we were very sharp in all three as far as pitching, offense and defense."
On the confidence of the team after this victory ... "I think we've been a confident team all year. Starting out with a game like this, it just keeps you on a roll. I think one of the most important games was the game to get us here. I don't know if many people know what happened but we were down seven runs through four and a half innings and to turn around and win 8-7 in a must-win game to get us here to Ann Arbor. So I think we have a little bit of a momentum and very good confidence."
Iowa head coach Jack Dahm
On the game ... "The bottom line is that when we can come out and play the game aggressively and create our breaks we're a pretty good ball club. It's been a mystery to us all year long. In Friday games we don't do that. It's a mystery to me. We've only won two Friday games all year long. We just haven't been playing good in that first game of the series. We need somebody to step up to be a Friday guy for us like (Illinois pitcher) Tanner Roarke. Basically, Illinois is in the tournament because they have a guy that competes about as well as anybody in the league. Mike Jacobs did about everything you could humanly ask of a guy coming out of the bullpen in a tough situation with Illinois having all the momentum. He did a great job. I'm a firm believer in making breaks but we hit into five double plays and you're not going to win doing that. We've talked before about the try-harder mentality and that's kind of what I saw again today. We were trying to do a little too much. Instead of just trying to get base hits we had guys trying to hit the ball off the wall. We just didn't have a good approach. You look defensively and we did things today that I haven't seen us do all year long. Again, that's just trying to do too much. We had a lot of baserunning mistakes. It was the little things -- not being aggressive on ground balls, walking guys to try and turn two and then it not working out and then not backing up balls. We just weren't very sharp mentally today. Again, I go back to the try-harder mentality. This is a feel-good ball club and when we win we feel good and then we're pretty good. You're not going to win a lot of big games if you play with the mentality we had today. We need to find a way to gear it up for tomorrow and play a lot better baseball."