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What Evansville HC Wes Carroll, Purple Aces Players Said About Tennessee

Photo via Evansville Athletics

Tennessee baseball ended Evansville’s season on Sunday night, knocking off the Purple Aces 12-1 in game three of the Knoxville Super Regional.

It was an extremely memorable season for Evansville who came up just one win short of a miracle run to the College World Series. Here’s what Purple Aces head coach Wes Carroll and players said about Tennessee baseball over the course of the three game series

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Wes Carroll

On how his team handled the environment on Friday night

“It was definitely different. I don’t feel like we’re as loose as what I wanted to be. I don’t feel like our dugout was excited and engaged, and we discussed that after the game. It was suffocating, the crowd. The atmosphere was challenging, but I felt like Kenton Deverman made some pitches that didn’t go our way. He competed and handed the ball off to Shane Harris. I thought Shane was outstanding other than one pitch. What I do know is that we are a resilient, tough club, and we went out there and played well. We didn’t play well enough. The error hurt and a couple of other little miscues, but what I do know is that tomorrow, we are going to come to the yard extremely loose and let it fly.”

On the difficulty of facing a lineup like Tennessee’s

“You are okay if you keep them as solo home runs. Solo home runs do not hurt you. It is just freebies leading up to it. But also, as you saw today, it’s very challenging to get the third out of every single inning. It just is whenever you have to run through a lineup like that. It is the most dangerous lineup I’ve seen in my 16 years as head coach with what they are able to do with the barrel and their approaches at the plate. I felt like our pitchers did a really good job. If you look at the stat lines, it shows different. It is challenging, we understand as an offense we need to hang with them. That’s a tough strategy, especially with this ballpark and that talented lineup. We are ready to give it a go tomorrow.”

On whether they have an edge on playing the No. 1 overall seed in a winner take all game three

“Yeah, they are the No. 1 team in the country for a reason. I think they are going to lean heavily on their talented players and their talented coaching staff. We have to worry about us. The stakes are high for us too. As a coach, it’s very challenging to get here. You don’t know if you’re ever going to get here again. It’s going to be one of those things where I can be one game away for the rest of my life. I am going to cherish it. I’m going to embrace it, and most importantly I am going to make sure our boys are ready to compete like they did today for one another.”

Opening statement on Sunday

“First, I’d like to congratulate Tennessee, Coach Vitello and his entire coaching staff. What an accomplishment to go to Omaha once again. It was a hard-fought series, but they definitely earned today, so I definitely want to congratulate them and all their players. It’s been an incredible run by our Aces, by this senior group, by each and every guy on the roster that believed in this place. We made some history along the way, and yes, the outcome didn’t go our way today, but I couldn’t be more proud of our seniors and our team really setting the standard at the University of Evansville for many years to come.”

Part of concluding statement

“Thank you everybody at the University of Tennessee. The hospitality was unbelievable. What a great experience it was to achieve and go to a super-regional here in Knoxville.”

Infielder Cal McGinnis

On if there was a difference in the environment in game one compared to at East Carolina

“I definitely think it’s a little different coming in here. At East Carolina last weekend, we got a feel for what kind of environment this was going to be. I think this is a very similar environment, and because of last weekend we were pretty well prepared for it. To the second part of your question, I think we don’t want to dwell on this game too much. Obviously, it’s a quick turnaround with an 11 a.m. game tomorrow, so we’re just going to rinse the shampoo out, get back at it tomorrow and come to the yard ready to play.”

On what allowed the Aces to get hits off of Drew Beam and Nate Snead and where Cal McGinnis’ power has come from

“I don’t necessarily know where the power comes from, but on Thursday we really saw the ball flew well here. It carries well in all parts of the day. I think it comes back to just sticking to our approach, shortening up and not trying to do too much with any specific pitch. I feel like I have done that well these first two games so far.”

Infielder Kip Fougerousse

On what allowed the Aces to get hits off of Drew Beam and Nate Snead

“He is one of the tougher pitchers in the country. I think if you just go out there and stick to your plan, you will get something to hit, and that’s what I did. I put a good swing on a ball in my first at-bat, but it didn’t go my way. I just stuck with it. Once I finally got that first-base hit, our offense started to click, and it started a snowball effect. Props to him. He pitched really well, but I think he just got a little tired there at the end.”

Infielder Brent Widder

On if the crowd noise was different in game three on Sunday

“I don’t know if noise is just noise. Obviously, you learn to block some stuff out. The amount of games we have had under our belts, the amount of seniors and old guys in our roster and in our starting lineup. We learn to play with it. We have had some tough environments and we have done an incredible job with dealing with it, fighting through adversity. There were a lot of people against us. We have had to hear a lot in the last two weeks, but what we were able to achieve in these hostile environments is pretty impressive.”

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