SCOTT FORBES & PLAYERS
Listen to Audio (8:55)
“First of all, obviously, great ending to the regular season for two really really good clubs. You have to give N.C. State a whole lot of credit and [Carlos] Rodon, he really through the ball well. We feel like we both have two of the best teams in the country and [N.C State] coach [Elliott] Avent were talking about it before the game. Felt like we gave the crowd what they came to see hopefully.”
Adam Griffin and Mike Zolk got two big RBI’s and did not even start. What does that say about the bench?
“Zolk was an everyday player for us the whole year before we made the change and moved [Michael] Russell to shortstop and his attitude has been unbelievable. He’s a tough kid. He knows that he’s a good player and he’s going to need to help us and we talk about it all the time with all of our guys. I actually told Griffin right before the game, I was like ‘hey man you’re not in the lineup, but some way, shape or form you’re going to help us win this game’ so I’m glad that when he got up there he came through for us and got that hit.”
This team is 8-2 in games that were tied after the seventh inning. What do you attribute that to?
“We thought from the end of the fall that we had a really tough group. We’ve got great leadership. Older guys like Mike [Moran] and Jacob Stallings, so we have leadership on both sides, the pitching staff and the position players, and our guys work so hard with coach [Greg] Gatz and they believe in our strength and conditioning program. We feel like that kind of separates us this time of year, because we feel like our guys are actually getting stronger during the season instead of just maintaining. And they’re close. They have great chemistry. You can just tell being around them it’s a pretty tight group.”
What was the pitching plan coming into tonight’s game?
“In a perfect world I wanted Benton [Moss] and [Hobbs Johnson] to actually split, because they’re two of our weekend starters and they’re going to pitch next weekend. I didn’t want to throw [Moss] more than 80 and he hit it right on the nose actually and I just wanted to get Hobbs out there. I’d like to get him out there for more, but the fact that he saw live hitters with live adrenaline, you count that as a little bit more. It worked out pretty good.
“With Mike [Morin], Mike hadn’t pitched in awhile. He did it seven innings in Miami, he started before and this may be something he may have to do for us in the postseason. I don’t think his arm has any problem with it I think it was just the fact that he got sick.”
Knowing that you could not play in the championship game, was there any motivation or consolation knowing that you could keep N.C. State out of it?
“I can’t lie about that. You asked me a direct question. Our philosophy here is it doesn’t matter. A win is a win, so every single game, no matter if it’s going to be guaranteed the last game of the season, we’re going to go out with a bang and we’re going to win it. That’s just how we are. Like coach Forbes said, from the fall we had a tough group of guys and I think it definitely showed out tonight.”
Does seeing a pitcher like Carlos Rodon have such a good game excite you to go out there and perform at the same level?”
“Every inning when he would get three outs in about two or three minutes and then sit them down and then I’d have to go back out there, every time I’d go out there I’d tell myself you got to match that. You got to match it and I went out there and told myself just settle down and do what you’ve been doing. He’s good. He’s good. Nobody can deny that. He pitched a heck of a game tonight I’m just glad that we came out on top.”
Was there any fatigue for you in pitching five innings?
“I would say a little more fatigue than normal. I got sick; I don’t know what it was, food poisoning or something like that the first couple games. I was back right behind us throwing up during the Wake Forest game, but there are 10,000 people out there so it’s not really something that you really need to push through. I felt a little different, but when you got 8,000 rooting against you, it’s not too hard."
Would you go through your at-bat in the 12th inning that knocked in the first run?
“The first two strikes were fastballs right down the middle. I had trouble seeing them. I was just hoping to get a pitch on the outside corner to just slap the other way and that’s what I did."
ELLIOTT AVENT & CARLOS RODON
Listen to Audio (5:29)
“Just so very very proud of the way our ball club played tonight. We played a team that’s gone to Omaha five out of six years with, I’m not saying virtually nothing to play for, I don’t mean it like that. It’s a great rivalry. Anytime you put a uniform on, you usually play for something, but obviously they had a chance to be very very loose. They know they’re probably a national seed and so a win would not get them anymore than what they had and they played outstanding. Carolina was just really really really good tonight. Their pitching was really good. Our pitching matched them pitch for pitch and it was a great ball game.
“Just very disappointed that we, myself as the manager of the ball club, couldn’t find a way for a team that fought so hard and played so hard and wanted to win this thing so bad. Our team wanted to win this thing so bad and I feel like there was something maybe I could’ve done to help us scratch a run with [Rodon] who gave everything he had. One of the best efforts I’ve ever witnessed in college baseball.
“Then I’d like to talk about our crowd tonight. Our crowd, I thing somebody told me before the game, this is the biggest crowd to see a college baseball game in the state of North Carolina ever. Our fans are tremendous. They were as good as our team, but this season ain’t over and if we can get just a little bit better, because we’re going to be in something like this next week, maybe we’ll come out on a different side.”