Michigan is a win away from capturing the national title at the 2019 College World Series after rolling past Vanderbilt on Monday night with a 7-4 Game 1 win. Here's what Tim Corbin, Jake Fellows and JJ Bleday had to say after the game.
Michigan - 7, Vanderbilt - 4
TIM CORBIN: Well, I think the difference was certainly Tommy Henry. Their aggressiveness offensively, but you have to give that kid a lot of credit. He threw a lot of strikes. He minimized damage when he had to. When he found himself in a little bit of trouble, he was able to negate our offense. He did a really good job. He didn't allow many base runners, and as I said, he just kind of forced the action a little bit with his fastball and his off-speed stuff. He made it very difficult on us, and they played some pretty good defense.
Offensively we got knocked back on our heels early with the two-run first and second inning, and then I thought Drake settled in pretty well, pitched out of a jam one of those innings, but his pitch count rolled up just because of the first couple of innings and kind of negated his opportunity of going deeper into the ballgame. And then I thought Michigan did a really nice job of kind of playing some offense at the end of the game. They were the aggressor. There's no doubt about that. Our guys know that.
That's a good ball team right now. They're playing very confident, and they're a good club.
Q. Tim, from where they came from, barely getting in the tournament, you guys being preseason No. 1, having the target on your back, is it an easy narrative to say they're playing with nothing to lose, the pressure is on you guys? I'm guessing you didn't see it that way.
TIM CORBIN: There's no narrative. It's baseball. It's one team playing better than the other. I don't give a crap where they came from. They got into the tournament. Once they got into the tournament, they're a good team. Fresno State did it, Coastal Carolina did it. It doesn't matter. Once you get into the tournament, then it's a new lease on life. They played well. They were the better team tonight.
Q. JJ, Coach said they were the aggressor. Do you feel like that's anything that you guys need to be concerned about, maybe trying to be more of the aggressor in Game 2?
JJ BLEDAY: You know, at this point it is what it is. Each game has a different personality. They obviously came out and got us, and credit to their guy. He's been their man all year. He put us away. Tomorrow is going to be a new ballgame, and it's going to be a different personality to that game, and we're just going to keep doing what we've been doing all year.
Q. Drake, what was the difference for you in the second and third time through the order compared to how much trouble you had the first time through?
DRAKE FELLOWS: It really just came down to throwing strikes. I couldn't find the strike zone really well the first couple innings and kind of got in some hitters' counts and predictable counts, and they were just jumping on the fastball and jumping on the pitches they thought were coming in predictable counts.
Q. JJ, Tommy obviously was very effective against the rest of the lineup. What do you think was the key for him in terms of how much he was able to keep your offense in check?
JJ BLEDAY: He just pounded the strike zone. When you pound the strike zone and you throw a lot of strikes, you force guys to hit, and that can get guys out of their zone, and it can force you to do a little bit too much.
Q. Tim, you guys haven't been down 0-1 in quite a while in a series. You talk a lot about experiences, guys leaning on past experience. The Duke experience, is that one do you think that will help them being down 0-1 and fighting back?
TIM CORBIN: Yeah. I mean, I think our approach in this tournament has been ever since the SEC tournament, everything is a one-game tournament. I mean, it doesn't go any further than that.
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Q. Tim, Michigan, five extra-base hits, six walks tonight. Going forward obviously tomorrow and maybe Game 3, how do you approach just how challenging that lineup is to deal with 1 through 9?
TIM CORBIN: Well, you've just got to take command of the count more than anything. We didn't command the count early, and they jumped us, and just our inability to get on the right side of the count led them to some very positive situations and aggressive swings.
But that was tonight. You know, as JJ said, tomorrow is a different situation.
Q. Coach, you guys are 9-2 off losses this year. Is there anything you like about the way your team responds to losses in general?
TIM CORBIN: That word, respond. They're an older group. They've been in a hole before. Not many times, but whether it's during the course of the season or during the course of games, they've been able to navigate their way out of these situations.
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We'll see. This is a good opportunity, though.
Q. Tim, freshman in a situation like this, you had this a couple weeks ago. Are you to the point where you have comfort that Kumar would be in this situation right now?
TIM CORBIN: He was a freshman in September. You know, he's pitched a lot of baseball games. I think age is really not going to be the factor right now. I think the biggest part of him is he's been on the mound before and he's got confidence in himself. But he's going to have to pitch well against this team. They're very good.