Skip to main content

What Evansville coach Wes Carroll said after 12-1 loss to No. 1 Tennessee

IMG_3593by:Grant Ramey06/10/24


Volquest Answers Your Tennessee Football, Baseball & Recruiting Questions In The June 6 Mailbag

What Evansville coach Wes Carroll said after the 12-1 loss to No. 1 Tennessee Sunday night in Game 3 of the Knoxville Super Regional at Lindsey Nelson Stadium:

Opening Statement

“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.”

Evansville reaching an NCAA Super Regional as the culmination of the season

“The last few weeks, we had our run in the conference tournament, and then Greenville and then today. It’s been an emotional roller-coaster ride, but when emotions are involved, that means it’s a real moment and it’s the reality of what happened. It’s something that I think our players will always remember and always cherish. As you take a step back, with these emotions come so much happiness, as well, and joy from experiencing it, captivating our university, our athletic department, all of our family, friends and the city of Evansville. It’s truly remarkable the support that we have felt over the past two weeks, and it’s really set the standard for the University of Evansville Baseball. That’s my feeling and those emotions that I believe in.”

What this Evansville team growing throughout the course of the season meant to him

“What these young men have meant to me—my son is over here and my family—we’ve talked about it a lot how we’ve come a long way. There were some dark times in 2017-18, and they changed me personally and how much they mean to me. Seeing the growth throughout the course of the year (was special). First and foremost, we got healthy in some areas, but then just having some young talent in our program start to develop and believe that they can compete and help this club win ballgames was truly awesome to see. We have to remember that in our opening weekend in Missouri Valley Conference play, we got swept at home by Murray State. From that moment, we flipped the switch. We started to play Aces baseball the way we were capable of playing it. That’s something I will always remember: the ups and downs. Most importantly, these young men competed a lot in between the lines, but also outside of the lines they were incredible as well.”

When he looked at this Evansville team and knew they were different

“I knew they were in the fall with what we had coming back. With Chase Hug getting another year of eligibility—and Brendan Hord too—you can go around the entire infield to outfield and what we had coming back was a significant amount of talent. We needed to get Nick Smith healthy in December. We needed a couple of pieces to step up on the mound. I can go name by name of those individuals like Shane Harris who had an incredible season. We knew there was some magic to be able to have this season. We also knew with the conference tournament being announced last September that it was a huge moment for our program to be able to host and also get hot and make a run like we did.”

Why he still has a smile on his face despite Evansville’s season-ending loss

“Man, that is a tough question. It is because we experienced it. That is the bottom line: that is the most incredible experience I have ever had as a coach [or] as a player. Being around a group of guys and coaching staff that works so hard. I am smiling and happy because it happened. Yesterday is something nobody will ever be able to take away from this team. We were pioneers in so many areas. I am happy that we have come so far because of all the hard work and dedication of a lot of players, a lot of coaches [and] a lot of people behind the scenes. That is why I am happy: this is a celebration. We captivated our city, our university, our athletic department. We hopefully are raising the bar for everyone around us.”

Closing Statement

“I brought these two (players to the press conference) because they mean a significant amount. I wish I could bring all the seniors, but Brent Widder and Brendan Hord have brought, not just in between the lines, but in the locker room, in the baseball house [and] off the field. They are truly responsible for a significant amount of our success and everything we have done. I wanted to bring them because these two have meant a lot to me and to this university. Unbelievable student-athletes who will go on and have so much success in whatever they choose to do. That is all I want to say. 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.”

Evansville catcher Brendan Hord

What he wants people to remember about this Evansville team

“I would say the group of guys that got it done and that set the standard for what the next 30 years look like. I think Brent (Widder) hit the nail on the head. It was the 35 guys in our locker room that believed in us, and nobody else really believed in it. Nobody in our conference and nobody across the country. It was just one guy believing in the next guy, believing in the next guy. Our goal the whole year was to win the conference tournament, and everything from there on was kind of playing with house money. That was our mantra. That was what Skipper said in the postgame today: that there shouldn’t be a dry eye because we’ve accomplished more than what we thought we would and more than what we thought we could. It’s been an unbelievable ride, and I think when we look back on it, we will look back on it with fondness and a lot of good memories.”

If this season wraps up his college career in the right way

“I transferred here from the University of Kentucky three years ago. I decided to give my life to Christ, and it was the best decision I ever made coming here. I can say that without a doubt in my mind. The guys, the coaching staff, I can’t say enough about this place. I’d never even heard of Evansville before I got that call. To be here today and put a bow on it with a Super Regional against the number one team in the country in Tennessee, it puts a bow on it. You talk about going out into the sunset on the top of the mountain, that’s pretty much it for me.”

Evansville infielder Brent Widder

Evansville reaching an NCAA Super Regional as the culmination of the season

“Obviously, mixed emotions right now. We reached every single goal that we tried to reach this year. But we continued to make new goals as we went along and we weren’t able to win the last game of this series today. Looking back on it, what an unbelievable season. The guys we were able to do it with, the amount of belief that we’ve had in this program. There are a lot of guys that came here that probably didn’t know what Evansville was when they got here. I didn’t know what Evansville was until I got recruited eight years ago, but we were the only people that thought we could do that. It was our internal environment and culture. It was the only place that believed that we could do something like this. We ended up doing it, which is pretty cool.”

If they believed they could win after the first half-inning

“We got a little momentum there in the first inning, but there’s never been a time this season where we didn’t think we could win a baseball game. It didn’t matter how far down we were. We know that our offense is going to be able to go win a ballgame whenever we could. We thought we had some momentum. Obviously, it didn’t go our way, but we never thought we were out of the ball game.”

If the ending to Evansville’s season was a bow on top of their baseball careers

“Yeah, you say putting a bow on top. This is the ultimate goal that we finally achieved. It took me five years to do it here. I cannot look back and regret anything. Everything we have done here for the last five years has obviously led up to this moment here. Being able to finally reach these goals that sometimes, we did not think were possible. Sometimes we didn’t even believe that this could happen. With the amount of belief and hard work that we have put into this program, the culture, the amount of people that have passed who have also been a huge factor in our success here. This is so unbelievable, and I feel so blessed and lucky to experience this in my last year.”

How if this particular game was any different in terms of crowd noise

“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

You may also like