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ATLANTIC COAST CONFERENCE BASEBALL CHAMPIONSHIP


May 20, 2015


Sean Leland

Dan McDonnell

Brendan McKay


GREENSBORO, NORTH CAROLINA

Louisville テや 7
North Carolina - 4


HEAD COACH DAN McDONNELL:テつ Obviously we got off to a tough start there.テつ And we knew North Carolina was going to play hard.テつ They got the crowd into the game early and coming off a big win yesterday.テつ
I was really proud of our guys that we were able to keep our composure.テつ It's pretty impressive, even though one freshman had a tough night tonight.テつ I'm sitting up here on stage with two other freshmen.テつ So it shows our balance, our depth.テつ And our toughness.テつ

Q.テつ Brendan, you were 4 for 4, two singles, a double and a home run.テつ What was working for at the plate?テつ
BRENDAN McKAY:テつ Yeah, kind of.テつ I was just trying to get pitches to hit, honestly.テつ Corey Ray has been on me at batting practice trying to make me hit more line drives.テつ It kind of went the opposite today and I had the hot hand.

Q.テつ Billy, you came in and you kind of stymied North Carolina, what kind of pressure did you feel coming in, and how were you able to master that?テつ
SEAN LELAND:テつ I mean all year I've been coming to the bullpen and just working on throwing strikes as much as I can.テつ And I didn't really feel any pressure.テつ I've been throwing big games all my life and the pressure really wasn't there.テつ I just trusted my defense behind me have.テつ I'm only as good as they are.テつ So I'm fortunate that someone made that great play up the middle after making catches and just throwing strikes.テつ

Q.テつ Brendan, just talk about, you guys have had 20 something come back wins this year.テつ What is it about this team when you get down 4‑0 in the early in the game?
BRENDAN McKAY:テつ I think it was the fact we got down so early.テつ We knew we had so much time left in the game to score more runs, and do defensive pitching.テつ Eventually we did get the best timely hitting.テつ And our pitching, we have probably the best pitching in the country, so we were going to come back and hold them to probably the least runs as possible.

Q.テつ Can you talk a little bit about Moss?テつ How did his approach seem to change the first three innings, what was different the second time through the lineup?テつ
BRENDAN McKAY:テつ The second time through the lineup he threw me a change‑up.テつ I felt he was going to throw me another one.テつ I tried to stay back and if I got a fastball I tried to play it off.テつ After that he tried to get over the first pitch curveballs, and started with the fastballs again, but you just have to have the mindset that I can hit any pitch, just work the count.

Q.テつ One last question, when you were just named ACC Pitcher of the Year, and now here we are.テつ Can you talk about the season that you've had?テつテつ
BRENDAN McKAY:テつ Honestly, the season, it's been a memorable ride.テつ Coming into the season we went to Omaha the past two years with probably the best players in the country.テつ Coming in to start playing as a freshman it's a great thing, you have to have the trust of the coaching staff and the teammates, to perform like I did today, which says a lot about how their trust is and just the fact that we have a great team.テつ

Q.テつ How big was it to get out of that first inning only giving up one run?
HEAD COACH DAN McDONNELL:テつ That was huge.テつ Sean was struggling.テつ But the reason we started him, because he's been good all year, and he's had some really good starts for us.テつ But he was competing.テつ But we were very fortunate because they could have put up a big crooked number there early.テつ It kept our kids fighting.テつ And didn't take the wind out of our sail there, only giving up one run in the first.テつ That was definitely huge.テつ

Q.テつ You mentioned the freshmen, you also had a senior that kind of stepped up big and had some big hits.テつ What did you think of Sutton, and how he performed tonight?
HEAD COACH DAN McDONNELL:テつ Sutton is one of the faces of the team.テつ He, Lucas and White, are the three senior position players, that have led us all year, kept the culture, as Brendan talked about, the back‑to‑back trips to Omaha, the seniors have showed these young guys the way.テつ And fortunately the young guys have followed.テつ They trust the older guys.テつ I've been saying it all year, I'm going to miss those three seniors an awful lot.テつ I lose sleep as it is now, knowing I only have so many more games left with them.
But I do trust that they've left their mark in the sophomores that will become juniors and the rising seniors will carry on the tradition of toughness and leading this group.テつ

Q.テつ It seemed like Brendan's two run home run really lifted the spirits of the team.テつ Was that the start to coming back?
HEAD COACH DAN McDONNELL:テつ No doubt, because, you know Benton is a senior, he's had a great year.テつ He really rolled through those first three innings, somebody had to break the seal.テつ Somebody had to get something going for us positive.テつ And McKay's two run homer just gave us life.テつ And the combination of the two run homer and Leland putting up some zeroes just kept us in the game where we didn't have to panic, and as Brendan said, we had time.テつ Time to score runs.
It wasn't easy, we knew Benton was going to give them a quality start.テつ And he's good.テつ He's tough.テつ He's throwing three pitches for strikes.テつ As John mentioned he rolled through those first three innings, five strikeouts or so.テつ And pop ups, easy outs.テつ And give our hitters credit, because they locked in and competed.

Q.テつ Brendan is the freshman of the year, the way he's played this year, kind of big that way for you.テつ Talk about what he's meant for you guys.テつ
HEAD COACH DAN McDONNELL:テつ You know, I was asked during the game in the in‑game interview about him; just impressed by the consistency.テつ As a freshman ‑‑ usually you might see a sophomore or junior put together a year like he's put together.テつ Kids come out of high school, this is such a long season for them, the competition is at such a high level.テつ And he's hitting in the four‑hole.テつ
So maybe you could have success the first month or so, but then eventually your reputation is out there, the scouting report is out there.テつ He's done a nice job protecting Corey Ray.テつ And just proud of him.テつ Just happy for him.
But the demeanor, the mindset, the low pulse that he seems to bring does him well between the lines.テつ It's fun to watch.テつ I'm very happy for him.テつ

Q.テつ Sutton's two at‑bats where you drove in the runs.テつ What about his approach led to him coming through like that?
HEAD COACH DAN McDONNELL:テつ Well, it's just Coach Snider and Coach Vrable coaching the hitters.テつ It's something we talk about a lot.テつ When I'm frustrated offensively, it's because we're not good in the two strike counts.テつ When we're good offensively and we put together a couple of big innings against NC State, when our back was against the wall, it's with two strikes.テつ
And as I try to keep telling these guys and our coaches do a good job, in the postseason you're not going to get cookie balls and crush balls ending the inning.テつ It's who is going to stay on the ball, who is going to move the ball, who is not going to strike out.テつ
And their hitters did a good job off of Leland, which was why they were so effective early.テつ Fortunately we were able to put together those three innings in the middle, was huge for our offense.テつ

Q.テつ I know you probably get this question a lot, and obviously you guys have had a lot of success, but did you see this level of success your first year in the ACC?
HEAD COACH DAN McDONNELL:テつ You know, got a lot of respect for the league.テつ Fortunately we had time to prepare and we got to watch football and basketball and all of our fall and winter sports compete.テつ I just think our kids were really excited about the challenge, that we've had success.テつ
We had the back‑to‑back trips to Omaha, we've won championships in other leagues.テつ I give them a lot of credit because they wanted to prove to the country that we could compete.テつ I don't know if you sit there and think you're going to go 25‑5, but I do respect how consistent our kids were, and how focused they were, that they showed up every weekend, every Saturday and Sunday, especially ready to compete.テつ
So for that I'm proud of them.テつ We talked about it briefly, but as the media keeps bringing it up, and I don't blame everybody for doing it, right now we've got a lot of baseball to play.テつ So let them celebrate that down the road and look back and go, man, what a great year.
Right now this is big time baseball that's ahead of us.テつ And as we keep saying, just put your head down and stay focused.テつ Let's not look up and get caught up in all the success and the hype and the talk about the great season.テつ That's behind us now.テつ Eight teams can win this tournament and our goal is to compete at a high level.テつ That's where our focus is trying to be right now.テつ

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports



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