Georgia Tech Postgame Quotes (Game 56)
Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets (40-16) 5, Duke Blue Devils (31-25) 4
May 24, 2019 • Durham Bulls Athletic Park • Durham, N.C.
DANNY HALL: It was a really good ballgame. They obviously came with a really good game plan and felt like Gross did a great job of keeping them in the game. They jumped out first on us, and I thought Connor kind of settled in, and Tristin hit a two-run homer early. Then they got ahead of us again, and Mac hit a two-run homer. Kind of felt Connor settled the game enough just to where we could use Bartnicki kind of against their lefties, and I thought he did a great job, and then as soon as we stayed tied heading into eighth and ninth, we wanted to put Tristin in, and I kind of just felt like when they walked Mac to pitch to Tristin, he doesn’t miss too many of those opportunities, and he didn’t miss this one.
Great swing, but the other kind of unsung factor for me, for us, we played really good defense. I thought Luke Waddell made some tough plays, and Webb made a great play, diving play at third. So all told, happy for the win, and happy to be in the semis.
Q. Tristin, the last at-bat, number one, what was your approach, and number two, what did you feel when the ball left the bat? Did you feel it had a chance to get to the wall?
TRISTIN ENGLISH: You know, it was a short porch out there in left. My approach for the first part is hit the ball in the air out there and at least give it a chance, and the guy has a really good slider, so I went up there sitting on it figuring he was going to throw it. He threw it. When I hit it I was just hoping it would at least be far enough to hit off the wall and then I really wanted it to go over it, but it just didn’t have enough juice.
Q. Danny, talk about your bullpen.
DANNY HALL: Today — Luke Bartnicki has been just getting better every time he goes out, highly talented left-hander coming in, but he’s really kind of settled in to be somewhat of a left-on-left match-up in our bullpen. But lately his velocity has kind of been ticking up, and he’s not the traditional delivery, so you see him one time, kind of hard to zero in on where the ball is going and where it’s coming from, and he has velocity. So I felt like he did a really, really good job.
When we played here a couple weeks ago, it was kind of funny, so I think Loperfido was the first hitter on him, we got him out, and then Taylor stepped up and Taylor hit a home run off Bartnicki when we played here earlier. But Luke won the battle today.
And then we had another left-on-left with Mervis. So he did exactly what we wanted him to do, and then turned it over to Tristin. Tristin did — you saw that. No hits, three strikeouts, no walks. It’s a really, really good job.
Q. Danny, you’ve seen all his games, and Tristin, you’ve played a lot of games, a home run, the game-winning walk-off double and two innings of relief; where does this rank for you in games you’ve played here as a Jacket?
TRISTIN ENGLISH: I’d put it right behind the cycle I hit earlier this year. Cycle is a big thing, but this kind of meant more as far as it was to take us to the next round, gives us a chance to play in the championship, and then just overall it was a better team, team win.
DANNY HALL: I mean, I think the same. You know, I mean, I think someone said it yesterday, there’s only been a couple players at Georgia Tech that have been first-team all-ACC three times. He’s one of them. Jason Varitek is the other one, pretty good company, and then I think Eric Patterson was the other one. So the other two guys have obviously played in the Big Leagues.
I fully expect this guy to keep playing for a long time, and so just select company. And the only year he missed he had to sit out the whole year because he had a surgery. So he might have been the lone guy at Georgia Tech. Although in saying that, we’d have never had him this year, he would have signed after his junior year, so scratch that. Scratch that. (Laughter.) There’s a silver lining in there somewhere.
Q. Tristin, Kyle, tell us about the home runs. Tristin, it looked like you weren’t really sure whether it was going to go fair or not, and Kyle, I think you were worried about destroying that building.
TRISTIN ENGLISH: Yeah, so mine was, I’ve never seen a ball look like this. It was kind of hooking foul, so I kind of stayed in the box, and it got up in the wind and really switched directions in midair, went back to the right, stayed inside the foul pole, and then it was time to run the bases. I realized I was still in the box.
KYLE McCANN: Mine, it was just a great feeling, you know. I knew we were down two runs, so in the back of my mind I was like, what if I hit a home run, and he ended up giving me a good pitch and a good swing, so it was a lot of fun.
Q. Tristin, you were really dominant off the mound today. Does it feel like you’ve kind of peaked as a pitcher at this point in the season? Are you throwing your best right now? And I’m curious, Kyle, what you’ve seen from him over the course of the season on the mound.
TRISTIN ENGLISH: I would say so. I would say that we’ve kind of been building up the whole year to this point. I wasn’t used a lot early, and kind of earlier in the season I kind of struggled with command a little bit and off speed, and the last couple outings have been uptick in velocity, throwing all my off speed for strikes, or more command over really everything, and you see how it turned out.
KYLE McCANN: I agree. He can throw every pitch for a strike, and every time he goes out, I’m confident, I know the team is confident that he’s going to do his job, and he did today.
Q. Danny, do you go with Cort tomorrow, and secondly, you said you’d like to see Xza maybe throw some live ball this weekend. Is that a possibility still?
DANNY HALL: It would be a possibility. I don’t know who our starter is going to be. We didn’t play NC State, and so we have very little kind of history on them right now. So we’ll use a day of rest just to kind of figure out who we have and what our best option is to go at them.
Xza is just day-to-day. We’ll kind of keep an eye on him day-to-day, see how he feels. He’s definitely not out, but I wouldn’t say he’s definitely in, either, and then, like I said, we’ll just figure out who we need to try to throw at them. They’ve got a great team. That’s pretty obvious. And so we’ll try to make the best decision to select the starter.
Q. Danny, I think it was the fourth through the eighth you guys had runners on and couldn’t get them in, and I’m curious, obviously that’s frustrating enough, but with Girard in the back of their bullpen, were you kind of thinking, we’ve really got to get something across?
DANNY HALL: No, we knew they had — Dockman has kind of been their guy, and I thought they did a good job of using him to get some outs, and then Girard has been their guy at the end of games. We knew what we were up against for sure. Two really good relievers in the league, you know, but we kind of felt like we had two good ones, also. You knew it was going to come down to somebody getting on, getting in scoring position, and then somebody had to get a big hit. Just happy it was Tristin.
Q. Tristin, you threw 28 pitches today. What do you feel your recovery time is now?
TRISTIN ENGLISH: You know, kind of recovery starts now. I’ll get my post-pitch in, some bands, get a flush, and then get some ice on there, and then probably get to Mark Pro for another flush and might keep that on for a couple hours, and just try to be ready to go tomorrow and maybe the next day if they need me.
Q. Tristin, you guys have had a lot of success here until this year, and I’m curious how good does it feel to be moving on and to have a chance to come back with some hard work?
TRISTIN ENGLISH: It means a lot to me. My class hasn’t won a game here in the tournament. We won a play-in game my freshman year, and since we haven’t won a game in the tournament, and that was kind of our senior speech kind of to the rest of the team, was this is our last chance, guys, and we’re going to give it our all. Most of these guys, this will be the last time the team is going to be together, whether it be the seniors are moving on, the juniors might get drafted. We’ll have new guys coming in, fresh faces, and this was kind of our last chance for this team kind of to make a statement. So that was our approach coming into the tournament.
Q. Did Colin lose track of things there on that bunt?
DANNY HALL: He took his eye off the pitcher. They crashed, which we have the very same play, and I kind of think he heard one of our coaches say, “back,” and so he went back to the base, but the mistake was not keeping your head on the pitcher to kind of watch what was going on, so good play on their part and just — it’s a mistake by Colin, but he’ll learn. He’ll know better next time that you don’t take your eyes off the ball. Know where that ball is at.