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“This is very exciting. So happy for my team and especially the three seniors Chaz Frank, Cody Stubbs and Chris Munnelly. This tournament is extremely difficult to win with the great teams we have in our league. I think the colleagues in the ACC would agree with that. It’s a great accomplishment to navigate your way through this tournament and come out on top so I’m very proud of my team.”
How did you end up starting Taylore Cherry and how did you feel about the decision?
“He was the only one we had left. No,(laughs) that was supposed to be funny. Taylore’s been a starter for us. That’s the role we’ve had him in although we just pitched him in brief stint. I think the story was that he was prepared. You have to set a roster for this tournament. The reason he was on the roster to begin with was because he’s worked hard and he’s prepared. We’ve talked about that you never know when your moment is going to be and your time is going to be. He’s a great teammate and I couldn’t be happier for him to get an opportunity to do what he did and pitch as well as he did. It’s a great story and as a coach I’ll be able to use Taylore for a few years.”
On the success of the bullpen in allow just one earned run in 25 innings:
“We pitched well overall in this tournament which you have to. Our bullpen certainly was the story. They’ve been good for us all year long. They were fresh, they were ready and very aggressive. (They) attacked the strike zone and trusted our defense a little bit. They all were very good. With Trevor (Kelley), from experience he’s a pretty hyped up aggressive kid and we have to remind him to kind of slow down. The other night when it doesn’t go well for you for a little bit you have to take a step back and learn. I think today he was taking deep breaths between and I think that’s why he had so much success today.”
On preparing for the championship game after back-to-back late games:
“We had basically four guys we thought we could use including Mason (McCullough) and Tate (Parrish). In a perfect world, Chris Munnelly said he could throw a couple today but the story was Taylore just getting us into the sixth inning and us only using two pitchers and giving up one earned run. You’ve got to tip your hat to these guys up here. They got it done for us.”
When did you have a sense that fatigue wouldn’t be an issue for your team today?
“Our guys were really excited today in the stadium. I could just sense. They had the music going this morning when we walked in the locker room and very few of them if any of them looked tired. It’s just youth. It’s a great thing.”
On Landon Lassiter’s bounce back performance today:
“That’s Landon. That kid and these guys will concur has had an unbelievable year for us. You have those kind of games and those kind of nights in baseball. Baseball will bring you to your knees. It’s a hard game to play. I just had great confidence in him. I kept him in there last night. I’m not going over five or six at bats. I’m going over 200 or however many he’s had throughout the course of our season. He’s been sensational for us. It didn’t surprise me that he came back out today and had a good game for us.”
On his performance:
“It’s a different role overall. Starting is more of what I’ve been accustomed to but in the end I’m going out there and I’m trying to throw strikes to help my team get outs.”
Can you take us through the at bat with Chad Pinder with the bases loaded?
“I haven’t quite been there this year especially in that situation. When it got to 3-2 all I was thinking was getting the ball over the plate, throwing fastballs, trusting my slider and trusting my sinker. Not trying to strike him out just trying to beat him and get a groundball.”
At what point did it sink in last night that you knew you were going to be the starter today?
“It didn’t sink in until this morning because I was so dead tired. This morning I woke up and was a little nervous.”
Did you have a moment where you settled in? Was it being hit by a line drive?
“Yeah that probably helped bring reality back into it.”
What pitches were working for you?
“Fastball. That’s about all I threw. It was working so you might as well keep going back to it.”
On the success of the bullpen under the guidance of pitching coach Scott Forbes:
“He just kind of reminds us to stay within ourselves and concentrate on every pitch. You know stay with the process throughout the whole game.”
Where you kind of feeling a bit of pressure knowing you were facing the top three hitters for Virginia Tech entering the top of the eighth inning?
“Yeah, kind of. I was just trusting my stuff and challenging their hitters. I trusted our defense and knew they were going to make any play I brought their way. I took it as one pitch at a time.”
How hard was it to bounce back after a late night last night?
“It wasn’t too hard. When you’re playing for a championship it’s not hard to get up for it. I’d be lying if you aren’t a little tired but you run on adrenaline.”
What do you think these four games did to get this team back on the right track?
“I don’t know. Winning makes everything feel better. It’s hard to say we’re struggling when we have 52 wins but it’s just baseball. It’s a long season with some slumps and some downs but that was big going into the NCAA.”