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Miami Baseball: Quotes from Jim Morris, Sam Abrams, David Thompson, Willie Abreu

Richard Lewis/Miami Athletics


Opening statement...

"Just wow. You know, it’s been a long time since we’ve been to Omaha, so needless to say, we’re very

excited, our coaches are very excited. Our players don’t know what’s getting ready to hit them,

something that they will remember for the rest of their lives. I’d like to congratulate VCU on their year.

They did some things they haven’t done before. I’d like to thank everybody for coming and having lunch

[at the ballpark] with us. We had a great, great crowd today, really into the game. Big win, a lot of

players had great efforts and none more than Sam Abrams, I can tell you. Coming in with the bases

loaded and giving up no runs and getting the win, and a super effort. A lot of our players contributed no

question. Our hitters, our pitchers, the whole team did a great job. I’m very, very proud of them and

very excited to be a part of this team."

On his message to the team now...

"We just met as a team and talked briefly about our plan, congratulated them. I told them we’re getting

ready to do something, experience something, they’ve never experienced in their lives, that they will

remember for the rest of their lives because as big as this Super Regional is, the situation in Omaha, the

scene in Omaha, the publicity, everything is connected with that, 25,000 people at the game [is bigger].

All the things that go with it, the celebration is unbelievable. They’re getting ready to experience

something I promised that they will remember the rest of their lives and just congratulated them and [I

told them to] get ready to have some fun and while we’re there we might as well win."

On what it’s like to be back in the College World Series...

"It’s very special because I got spoiled just like our fans and everybody else in this program and it shows

the fact [of how] hard it is to get to Omaha. It’s a tough, tough thing to do, and there’s so many good

programs out there that have never been to Omaha, or so many programs that didn’t make it to the

NCAA tournament this year, period. It just makes you really understand and appreciate the opportunity

to go back and play in that type of venue and for all the marbles, and see what it’s doing for your

players. It’s just a great experience I guarantee everyone will never forget."

On what he remembers about the decision to cut Sam Abrams from the team in 2012...

That was my pitching coach’s decision. [Laughs]

On why he specifically went to Abrams in the third inning...

"They had their hitters stacked. One, two, four, five are left-handed and we got past the left-handed

hitter and had [Derik] Beauprez up, more long relief, to think about those guys. Then we got to the right-
handed hitters in the lineup. Then we’re thinking, ‘Let’s see if we can get him out there and get through

the lineup one time or we get through the right-handers.’ And once he did what he did, we said, ‘Just

stay with him, let’s see how long he can go out there and this thing done,’ and that’s basically the

philosophy at that point.

On playing in Omaha...

"I know a lot about Omaha that these guys don’t. There’s 25,000 people there, 23,000 are going to pull

against us because of our football program. [Laughter] The history with the University of Nebraska, one

of them probably being a guy named Shawn Eichorst, [the Nebraska Director of Athletics], if I had to

guess, might be pulling against us. They never forget the football thing. It’s still a tough situation to play

in, but there’s no better. I have former players that are playing professional baseball and they say the

only way it gets any better is to get into the World Series in the Major Leagues."

"We were playing Florida State for the national championship in ‘99 and I heard people talking, and they

were trying to decide who to pull for between [us and them]."


On whether he went out with the mindset to limit the damage...

"That’s exactly what I’m doing. J.D. [Arteaga, the pitching coach], just tells us to go in there and

minimize damage. When I go in there, I throw strikes, that’s what I do. I mean, I go in there and I throw

strikes, I play my game and I didn’t change that, my mentality.

On what he was thinking when his number was called...

"That’s definitely the loudest crowd I’ve been in front of. That wasn’t late in the game [today] or

anything, obviously it’s a huge moment. I’ve just got to be ready for this moment."

On his journey...

"I can’t believe that having to come back for a fifth year from what happened my sophomore year, it

ended up working out perfectly. It’s a dream come true honestly."

On if he thought about quitting baseball...

"I had already applied to other schools. I was planning on where I was going to live and I was actually

working at an accounting firm and I decided that this isn’t what I want to do anymore. I didn’t want to

keep doing that until I got done with college, so I decided to come back and it worked out perfectly."

On being cool and collected...

"A lot of people say the same thing about me. I’m always calm, I’m always cool and collected at the

same time, but at the end I definitely got emotional. Like you said, I tried to minimize the damage, when

I saw two outs I knew I had a chance to get out of it 100 percent, so I just had to zone in and do the job."

On his family frequently being at the games and them being there today...

"Me and my sister used to come to the games with my dad. In ‘99 when they won the championship,

that was the first year we came. And she’s crying, freaking out because she can’t believe I’m actually in

this moment. It’s amazing for all of them to be here."

On the feeling walking off the mound after getting out of the jam in the third inning and being embraced

by Bryan Garcia...

"Bryan is the core of our bullpen, he’s our closer. He’s the guy we always want to have the ball. He’s a

leader, he’s a captain. I know he’s thinking about this season with me since it’s my fifth year, with the

journey I’ve had, I know a lot these guys, it’s a special moment going to Omaha."

On trending on Twitter in Miami...

"My little brother has told me every single tweet that has been tweeted about me already. My little

brother is kind of crazy. A lot of people see him running around here, so he probably has all of them

favorited and will show them to me later."

On his velocity...

"I think in the beginning of the fall it was around 80, but at this point in the season I’m closer to 77. I’m

like probably 76-78. The slider, honestly I’m not sure, somewhere in the high 60s I would guess. The

deeper I get into the game it kind of works out for me because I kind of get a little tired and I throw

slower, which it kind of works out because the ball moves more and it’s going to be harder to hit."


On Sam Abrams and what he has seen from him waiting for an opportunity like this...

"I didn’t know Sam at all before I got to school here. Sam’s that guy that comes to the field every day,

never complains, always has a great attitude and he wants the ball in every situation. We’re all so

pumped for what he did today. He was the reason we won this game today."

On the balance of the lineup offensively...

"Our lineup one through nine has been producing all year. It’s just a lot of fun knowing there’s no

pressure on one guy. If you fail, the guy behind you is going to pick you up and things like that. We didn’t

hit that well yesterday and we knew today was going to be a different story."


On his thoughts when Sam Abrams came into the game in the third inning with the bases loaded...

"You can always see somebody’s demeanor when they get onto the field. Sam stays cool, calm and

collected in any situation, whether it be us messing around in the locker room, whether it be on the

field, and obviously you saw it today out there with bases loaded and no outs. He looked the same as he

always does, so we weren’t worried at all. We had the same mentality: minimize damage. Then, one guy

goes down, the next guy goes down and then you start thinking ‘Wow. This is something special.’ [He is]

somebody that has worked hard—endless hours—and done so many things. He could have been doing

something else. Like he said, he almost just stopped playing this game completely and he fought through

because of how much he loved it. What we say here is ‘Wear it’ and he wore it for a long time and look

how things played out."

On his emotions when the fly ball came his way to end the third inning...

"I’m a team guy. I like playing behind my teammates as much as I can. I was just showing [Sam] my love

for him and this team."

On the moment after the game when he broke away from the dogpile celebration and went towards the

fans behind the plate...

"That gives me goosebumps. The fans are everything to us. We play for them, as well as our teammates.

The endless support and the endless love we get from all of our fans, that’s just something real special.

We can’t ask for anything else. I’m sure you’re going to see plenty of UM fans in Omaha."

On what changed during his year after his slow start and picking it up with his power numbers in the

second half of the season...

"I had to make a big transition from high school to college, period. I was a different type of player. I grew

late in my years. I was always a small guy. Then, when I got bigger, I had to start filling out my body. I

was able to get here, since my freshman year [I have put in] work with Gino [DiMare, the associate head

coach], day in and day out. He never quit. Last year, obviously, the power numbers weren’t there. This

year when we started they weren’t there either, but we saw a little bit of potential and obviously we

kept working and working and working. Now, it’s starting to show a little bit, but we still have a long way

to go."