May 26, 2005
ACC Baseball Championship
Thursday, May 26, 2005
Game 10: #6 NC State Wolfpack vs. #7 Virginia Cavaliers
Opening Statement from Virginia Head Coach Brian O'Connor:
I felt as critical as yesterday's ballgame was to win and start the tournament off the right way. I felt this game today was imperative, if you want to give yourself the best chance to win this tournament. I was really proud of our team offensively. We came ready to play. We put the pressure on NC State right away. Obviously they have a tremendous program. Coach Elliott Avent does an absolutely fantastic job. (Gib) Hobson, their starting pitcher, had thrown very well against us in Charlottesville earlier in the season and I felt like offensively we had a great plan against him. We went up there and battled and we had a lot of big innings. This game was really kind of uncharacteristic of our team; to have three innings where we score multiple runs is typically not how we play. We scratch and claw for a run or two here and there, but time after time guys came up with big, clutch hits with two outs and sometimes two strikes. I think in championship baseball that's what it takes to win. Obviously, Matt Avery came out today and threw the ball very well. I'm sure it's comfortable for him out there throwing when you've got a nice lead, and you can go out there and challenge the hitters. His last two starts have been pretty good and hopefully he's got anther chance to start next week.
On Virginia's late inning, run scoring charge from yesterday carrying over to today's game:
There is something to be said for peaking at the right time. When you get down to the stretch run at the end of the season, we are playing some of our best baseball that we've played all year and we've carried that into this tournament. At the end of the game yesterday against Clemson we scored six runs in the final two innings, and hitting is contagious. Our guys are feeling good right now and feeling comfortable in the box, and that carries over from day to day. We've got an off day tomorrow, but as great as that is, I bet these guys wish we were playing tomorrow.
On being concerned about the length of the delays in between innings for Matt (Avery):
It's not typical, and it's something Matt probably hadn't experienced this year, maybe in his career. You've got a lead, you're scoring a lot of runs in those innings, and you've got to sit there and wait. Matt's a junior, he's a veteran, he's been through the wars before and I know he can manage it, and he managed it well.
On the ten-run rule:
This tournament is so tough to win. There are 11 teams in the tournament, we all want to win the ACC tournament, but there is also the NCAA tournament next weekend. It's a rule the coaches re-confirmed in the pre-tournament meeting and we said that we'd like to do it, and it makes sense, except in the championship game. It's to save the players bodies and the pitching staff's arms. In this tournament, I think it makes sense. You've got so many games in a short period of time, against great opponents, that if we can save it on both sides I think it makes sense.
On this game ranking as one of the most rewarding ones:
No, I wouldn't say so. Not because of the score or anything, but to get our 40th win is something to be very, very proud of. Two consecutive years in this program to have 40 wins, we're very proud of what we're accomplishing in this program. It is a big win because now it gives us a chance to play on Saturday in one of the top two leagues in the country, and that's a lot to be proud of. There's been a lot of great wins. This was an important one for us in this tournament.
Coach on the approach to Saturdays two games being any different than a one game at a time approach:
No, I don't think so at all. I addressed the team right there after the game and told them we can't look at this thing as somebody's got to beat us twice. There's no "somebody beating us twice" there's one game at ten on Saturday and we just need to take care of business in that game, and then worry about the next game whether its Saturday, later, or Sunday, whenever it is. That's always been our approach. This game is too hard to play to try to think about the next day or the day after. We talk a lot in our program about not going into a series thinking we've got to sweep somebody. That is too much pressure to put on yourself and we'll come out and be ready to play on Saturday morning and take it one pitch at a time, one inning at a time, and one game at a time.
Coach on why Mike Ballard was held to the third game:
Matt (Avery) for the majority of the ACC season was our Friday night starter. Ballard was pitching on Saturday and (Jeff) Kamrath was pitching on Sunday. Towards the final two weekends of the season Kamrath had shown the most consistency of our starter, so we slowly tried to bump him up to the front. So he started the first game against Duke, Matt (Avery) started the second one, and Ballard was pushed back to the third one. You look at our pitching staff. We led the ACC in ERA, we've got one of the top five ERA's in the country. It's a complete staff. I have confidence in any of these three guys that they could start the opening ball game and give us a great chance to win. I'm excited because we're going to get a look at some of our rookie starters that have been tremendous for us in the middle of the week. We're going to get a chance to see them in this tournament, and see what they're made of in this kind of environment.
Pitcher, Matt Avery on pitching a great game:
Towards the end of the game I started getting ahead of guys a lot better, I felt the first couple innings I was kind of grinding through those innings, putting myself in tougher situations than I needed to be in. Especially when we were up big; but late in the game I felt like I bounced ahead of a few guys, got my change up working and I was just relying on the defense. I think (Mike) Campagna must have had four or five put outs today; just relying on a guy like him to do his job in the field.
Third Baseman, Ryan Zimmerman on being the team to beat with their day off:
I think we felt like we were the team to beat when we came to the tournament, but now that we are in the drivers seat, you can look at it that way, but you've got to think what the other teams are thinking. We've already beat them once, so they're going to come back, ready to get back at us. We can't take the day off too seriously. We've got to work out a little bit, and we've got to be ready to play when we come up here on Saturday because that other team's going to be ready to get back at us.
Opening Statement from NC State Head Coach Elliott Avent:
I would first like to congratulate Virginia. They played really well today. (Matt) Avery gave them a solid outing and they came ready to play from the get go. They played well yesterday against Clemson and they carried it over to today.
On the implementation of the 10-run rule in the ACC Tournament:
I don't think anybody likes stopping a game if your team is not in it. I don't think anyone is a fan of that, but I think the reason it was put in place is because this is a long tournament with 11 teams, it does place a premium on pitching. I'm not a fan of it, but you have to look at the reasons why it was put in. Could we have come back in that game? Sure, every team thinks they can come back, but you don't like stopping a game before it's over. It did save us a couple of innings.
On the rest of the tournament and their game tomorrow against Clemson:
Certainly, I don't want to take anything from Virginia. They played outstanding and have done so all year. They have played very, very well in this tournament. But, we were not very good at all today. Gib (Hobson) didn't have a good day for us, he wasn't able to get ahead, wasn't able to hit his spots, they got some clutch hits and we kicked the ball. In postseason play, which this is, you work so hard all year, you better come out and fight a little more. When you get down, you can't let the game slip away so easily. I thought our play in the second and third innings was disappointing.
First baseman Aaron Bates on the play of Virginia:
Virginia came out of the shoot ready to play. They did a great job and we did not. We did not come to play today. All I can look at is that we will come out and be ready to play tomorrow. I can take some responsibility for that, I feel as one of the leaders on this team it's my job to get our guys ready to play. In looking forward, I know we will be ready to play tomorrow.
Pitcher Gib Hobson on his performance today:
I've got to give credit to Virginia's hitters; they hit the ball well today. I wasn't working ahead in the count. I wasn't getting my off speed stuff over early in the game.