May 21, 2011
Head Coach Mitch Gaspard
“There were some shots there where we needed to get the big hit and just didn’t get it. But again, they’re the No. 2 team in the country and won the SEC for a reason. They’re awfully good. They have really good hitting and really good pitching. They really know how to play, so a lot of credit goes to South Carolina. I thought overall, to be in the position we’re in, you have to get to Hoover and we’re there. We need to go in there, play well and get momentum as we move into postseason play. We have three pitchers who give us chances to get where we need to go. Offensively, we have to do more. We have to get big hits in key situations and create more pressure offensively if we’re going to move on in the next couple of weeks.”
On the third base force out throw from center field that hindered the Tide’s scoring chance in the sixth inning:
“That’s just one of those spots where there is not much you can do. They throw you out at third and that crushes a little bit of momentum. We had opportunities and we had the right guys up a couple of times, but we just couldn’t deliver the big hit today.”
On the regular season as a whole:
“I’m really proud of our team. From where we started to where we are today, we have gotten better as the season went on. We have an identity now. We are a gritty, scrappy team that doesn’t beat themselves. In the games where we can generate offense, we’re a very dangerous team. We all know through 56 games that’s what is tough for us, night in and night out being able able to score runs. We’ve been averaging about four to five runs in the SEC and that’s kind of who we are. We’ve shown we can keep the game down with our pitching and our defense. We have to play to our strengths, that’s what they are, so overall I’m pretty pleased with this team.”
#1 Taylor Dugas, CF
On missed scoring opportunities:
“We had a lot of opportunities today, left some guys on and we just couldn’t get the big hit. We competed all day, Smart did his job, held the No. 2 team in the country to three runs. We gave ourselves a chance to win, but this is baseball, we just didn’t come up with the hit today.”
On losing the final game at home:
“It was a tough game, tough loss. We hung in there with them. We know we can play with them and we’re just going to get ready for Hoover now. We got to move on from it and take it to postseason.”
#26 Jonathan Smart, LHP
On his pitching performance:
“I just struggled against lefties in the beginning of the game. I was throwing a lot of first-pitch strikes trying to get ahead with a fastball and they were just hitting it.”
On losing the final regular season game at home:
“It’s not fun losing but we’re going to the tournament and that’s what we’re trying to do anyway. Like (assistant coach) Dax Norris said, you don’t have to win the West to go to Omaha.”
* Senior lefty Jonathan Smart pitched 8.1 innings, allowing three runs on 12 hits while striking out two in his final game at Sewell-Thomas Stadium. Smart has now pitched at least 7.0 innings in all four of his SEC starts to go along with his team-high nine saves.
* Senior center fielder Taylor Dugas reached base in four of his five plate appearances on Saturday, finishing the game 1-for-2 with three walks. Overall, Dugas finished the series versus the Gamecocks 4-for-8 with five walks, a double and an RBI, reaching base in nine of his 13 plate appearances.
* Sophomore third baseman Brett Booth recorded a 2-for-4 performance at the plate versus South Carolina, notching his 10th double of the season along with one run scored. Booth finished the series versus USC 5-for-11 with two doubles, one run scored and three RBI.
* The Tide wraps up play at Sewell-Thomas Stadium this season with a 24-7 record at home.