OMAHA, Neb. – In the end, the College World Series is one-eighth joy and seven-eighths pain. Only a single team leaves here truly happy, and now we know it’ll be either LSU or Florida.

But what of the others? As the CWS paused Sunday to prepare for the championship round, we can remember those who have already come and gone with their own words. What they said as they left the stage.

TCU coach Jim Schlossnagle, after the Horned Frogs went down to Florida Saturday . . .

“As you sit in that dugout when you lose, as a coach, all you think about is how hard it is to get here. And you never know if you’ll get to be back because it’s that hard. And to have been here four years in a row is an incredible accomplishment. But we never take it for granted.

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“You’re outside real life for however many days you’re here. Just spend time with the family, our administrators get to spend time with our players that they don’t get to do during the regular season. It’s literally the greatest event the NCAA has to offer, and we’re just lucky to be a part of it.”

Oregon State coach Pat Casey, after the Beavers were stunned by LSU . . .

“I think to a man they’d tell you that we’ve played better baseball, that’s for sure. But I told them that, `There will be a time come here rather shortly that you’ll realize what you did and how amazing of a season you had and how you guys fought through so many things.'

"I know they're not satisfied. But they'll feel better about it in a few days, I can tell you that."

Cal State Fullerton coach Rick Vanderhook, on the two Titans’ losses that included 13 walks by and 350 pitches by their staff . . .

“We definitely got to know the field here at TD Ameritrade because the last two games, I think these guys stood out in every inch of their position longer than anybody in history, the two games that we played. It was a nice, beautiful day but it was warm. And they’re ready to go back to California with their suntan, that’s for sure.”

Vanderhook again, on the Titans having lost nine CWS games in a row . . .

“I know I’m 0-4. I knew how difficult it was to get here, but it’s even more difficult to get here and win. I mean, that goes with it . . . Nine in a row. Well, I can say at least we’re here to lose nine in a row.”

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Texas A&M coach Rob Childress . . .

“I told the guys after the game, the five seniors created a team that will always have a reunion, a College World Series team, the 2017 team.”

Childress, on questions about his choices for starting pitchers in the Aggies’ two defeats . . .

“We didn’t come here to make a good showing. We came here to win the College World Series. You can sit in the dugout and not make decisions, or do what you think is best for your team that sets you up with an opportunity to win the tournament. And that’s what I did, and I’d do it again in a minute.”

Florida State coach Mike Martin . . .

“It feels like we gave it everything we had, and it wasn’t meant to be. And when you walk out of this great city and the people that support this great tournament, that’s all you can ask of yourself. We gave it our best shot, we never felt sorry for ourselves, we kept battling.”

Martin on his 16th trip to Omaha, without a title . . .

“There will be seven disappointed coaches to leave here. Am I disappointed? Well, if I’m not, I’m not much of a competitor. I’m going to play you guys on the golf course, I’m going to compete. You ain’t getting no strokes, either.”

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Louisville coach Dan McDonnell . . .

“You live with a couple of things you could have done better . . . As a coach, I always feel responsible. I’m big on being accountable, it starts with me. If anything, it just motivates me, it just fuels me to be a better coach.”

Oregon State pitching coach Nate Yeskie on the Beavers falling short, even with their great record . . .

“We had the No. 1 run for 13, 14 weeks, and we never looked at ourselves that way. We never thought that we needed to rest on what we had done. We tried to go out and win the next pitch, the next out, the next game. Being No. 1 here doesn’t mean anything, unless you’re No. 1 at the end.”

Louisville outfielder Logan Taylor, after homering in the Cardinals’ loss to TCU . . .

“It’s my last college game and I get a home run, so I guess I can tell everybody that forever. But we lost, so that’s always going to be remembered more.

“The ride’s over, and you want the ride to go on as long as you can. I probably would have cried even if we had won the national championship, because you know the ride’s over.”

Mike Lopresti is a member of the US Basketball Writers Hall of Fame, Ball State journalism Hall of Fame and Indiana Sportswriters and Sportscasters Hall of Fame. He has covered college basketball for 43 years, including 38 Final Fours. He is so old he covered Bob Knight when he had dark hair and basketball shorts were actually short.
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