May 28, 2006
Clemson Head Coach Jack Leggett
That whole tournament was a battle. There were a lot of good teams in it I'm real proud of our team, our assistant coaches, and of our fans for coming down here to support us. I was hoping that this team would win this thing, because this team deserves it. After losing our first three in the ACC up at Virginia, I'm proud of us to keep our focus, get our toughness back, and all those types of things. I'm just real proud of how we played the last part of the season. We've been playing well, and to come down here and win this tournament on such little rest and to play well through all that types of things that you had to battle through to win this thing against good baseball teams, I'm just proud of them. Sean (Clark) for stepping up, DJ Mitchell for stepping in for (Travis) Storrer. Everybody played to the top of their ability, and I'm just proud to bring a championship back to our fans, our athletic department, and our school.
On leaving Sean Clark in for the ninth inning
Obviously that is the longest he has gone all season long, and once we got to the fifth, we wanted him to go six, then when we got to six, we wanted seven. He kept having some quick innings, he was really looking sharp and we were playing some good defense and we got some outs. I wanted to bring him out there in the 9th inning, and I think it's important for everyone to appreciate what he's done. He's been unselfish and worked hard. To have a good baseball team and a good baseball program, you have to have players step up at different times, and he did a great job of that today.
On his embrace with Sean Clark when he was removed from the game
My most favorite part of coaching, is when you see someone get an opportunity and they take advantage of it and they achieve something very positive for the team. He has been behind the scenes for a while, and for him to do something like this, in this arena, is something that he will remember for the rest of his life, and I will remember, and I get a little emotional, but that's the fun of it, to see someone step up when people need him, and that is what a team is all about.
On putting an emphasis on the tournament
I think I did a little more this year. We zeroed in a little more on playing well and winning the championship, and once we got on a roll in the middle of the season, everybody started thinking, hey, we could be ACC champions. It's been a while, I think we've been in the finals two or three times, but this is a tough, tough tournament. This is as tough of a tournament as you can imagine. You put eight teams that have been in the top 25 throughout the season, and put them together in this heat and in this type of situation, no question it's tough. We're spent, we will need a little rest, and then hopefully come back and focus on the big prize at the end of the road. But we've met one of our goals that we set at the beginning of the season, and we've got another next weekend, and hopefully we can just keep winning. We're going to enjoy this for the next few days, and then we are going to focus in on the next one.
Clemson junior RHP Sean Clark
On how he found out that he was starting
Coach told me today when I was getting on the bus that I would get the start. Last night, coach said that it could be anybody, and to be mentally prepared for that, and I was ready and hoping that it would be me. Coach gave me the ball and I was ready to go out there and show him what I could do. I was excited and wanted to get it done.
On the feelings of the situation
I was pumped up, but at the same time, because coach told me late, I didn't have time to get nervous or anything. It was just go out there and have fun.
Clemson sophomore SS Stan Widdmann
On getting Clark some run support
We knew Sean was going to go out there and give us a good outing, so there wasn't a sense of urgency in the first couple innings, because we knew we would get some runs, and that Sean would keep us in the game, so it was a little frustrating to not get on the board as quick as we would have liked.
Clemson junior LF Tyler Colvin
On the mental toughness of the team coming back from the Georgia Tech game
It was a test for all players, no matter what team they were on. It was about who was going to dig the deepest, who had the most heart, and who wanted it the most, so I think it was one of those games where you just leave it on the field and the best team wins.
NC State head coach Elliot Avent
First of all I'd like to say congratulations to Clemson University. What a fine year they've had and what a great string they're on right now. If they're not the best team in the country, they're certainly in the top three or four. We didn't play well enough today in every phase to play with a team like Clemson. I thought we played very well in a lot of phases we weren't sure we were going to play well in, but the one phase we thought we would excel in kind of bit us. I want to say congratulations to Clemson, and I also want to say congratulations to the city of Jacksonville and the ACC.
On Clemson starting pitcher Sean Clark's performance today
The big thing is that he threw strikes. I thought his stuff is obviously the reason he's not one of their starters. He's not (P.J.) Zocchi, he's not (Jason) Burken, he's not (Josh) Cribb, he's not (Stephen) Faris, but he was asked upon to do a job today and that was to throw strikes and give his team a chance and he did that and kept the ball down. He did two things. He kept it down and he kept away from us, and then he kept it in the zone. And that's pretty impressive. But I thought Eric Surkamp on our end, boy he pitched well, too. I'm not saying they were all eight unearned runs, but in a coaching standpoint, I don't read stats, but in a coaching standpoint, that was eight unearned runs. I'm not saying Clemson didn't deserve them. They got men on base, they did some things, but we gave them eight unearned runs, and that's an NC State ball club. That's the disappointment I have today.
On Matt Mangini's day in the field, particularly a play in which he could have possibly turned a double play but didn't
I don't want to criticize a guy who's had such a great year for us, and he's good defensively. You saw the play he made a couple innings earlier. He made a play behind the bag and he's got a great arm, a very accurate throwing arm, and he can do some things. Mentally, to blank out like that, I can't understand what he might be thinking. I really don't understand that. He did a couple of things. Actually three things. Three things that were all mental. He doesn't have problems physically, just mentally I don't know what he thought today. Once again, not to criticize a young man who's had such a great year for us, defensively and offensively. Offensively, that man carried us pretty much the first third of the season and was the top hitter in the country. So let's not forget what that guy's done for us, it's just today, in a thinking man's game, maybe he wasn't thinking quite far enough ahead. That's the way it goes. That's baseball. That's the beautiful thing about this game, sometimes you make plays and sometimes you don't, and that's just the way it goes. But he's had a great year for us and nobody wants it any more or works any harder than he does and he's going to continue to get better.
On Clemson finishing its last game less than 12 hours prior to the start of today's contest
This is a game that is played on adrenaline and emotion a lot of times. And sure, emotion can catch up with you when you look up at the scoreboard in the seventh inning and you're down 8-0, and you say, boy, I'm tired. That's when that catches up with you. There's two things about NC State and Clemson University. I've been in this league for 10 years and I can describe every ball club (Clemson head coach) Jack Leggett's had and every ball club that I've had - we're competitive. We compete at the highest level and we don't have time to get tired or think about getting tired. They weren't going to get tired today, and nor did we. Fatigue didn't beat us today, nor would it have beaten Clemson. They made the plays and we didn't.
On NC State, like Florida State, playing well in the ACC Tournament despite struggling a bit entering the tournament
I think it was very important for both of us. Florida State and us, we were both scuffling when we went to Tallahassee, and they got the better end of us. And we both came here and felt like we played pretty good. With split a doubleheader with them on Saturday, but we got the last one and that's the one that makes you feel good about yourself. But I think Florida State and us, we both gained some confidence through the tournament, because we know how tough the tournament is, and we know how well we played. Every game was a catfight, and sometimes in the catfight you get scratched a little more than others, but you still know it was a doggone good fight. All you want your team to do is fight, and right now, this time of year, believe that they can win. And I think every team that was in this tournament believes their team can win. I'm sure some teams are doubting themselves a little bit, the ones that left early are possibly doubting themselves, but if you stayed around this long, you know you've got a chance to win a regional.
On whether he knew anything about Clark coming into the game
Oh yeah, I talked to Jack this morning. He didn't tell me he was going to pitch that well, but I'm sure he didn't know it, either.