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May 21, 2015

Zack Erwin

Tyler Krieger

Jack Leggett


Clemson – 7
Louisville – 2

MODERATOR:  Joining us from Clemson this evening, it's Head Coach Jack Leggett, Zack Erwin and Tyler Krieger.  Coach, if you could start us off with an opening statement and then we'll take questions for our student‑athletes.
HEAD COACH JACK LEGGETT:  I thought we played exceptionally well tonight.  Proud of our team.  We bounced back after last night.  Zack was outstanding on the mound, I thought he was really in control.  And we played really good defense behind him and I thought our offense was right on the mark right from the very beginning.  We did some really good things offensively early in the game, first inning, second inning, and then continually throughout the game.  I thought we put pressure on them and got some big hits with men on base in crucial situations.  And good to see us play like that, that's how we can play and I thought we did a lot of really good things from top to bottom in all three phases of the game.

Q.  Tyler, talk about your approach against him again.  Y'all, you kind of roughed him up there at Clemson.  What are y'all seeing different than other people are seeing against him?
TYLER KRIEGER:  I think we just took advantage of some mistakes they threw honestly.  I mean, he's an unbelievable pitcher, got to give him and the team a lot of credit, they're a great ballclub and he's a great pitcher.  But I think us taking advantage of his mistakes is honestly what we did today.  He left a couple balls up and fortunate enough to put some good swings on it.

Q.  Zack, everything seemed to be working for you today, 11 strikeouts.  Can you talk specifically about what was working for you best?
ZACK ERWIN:  Well, last time I pitched against them I gave up 11 hits and most of them were all on the first‑pitch fastball, so this time out I was trying to throw more off‑speed first pitch and get ahead in the count and that really helped out today.

Q.  Did you feel any extra pressure knowing that the team lost yesterday and that this was almost like a must‑win for you guys?  What was your approach heading into this game?
ZACK ERWIN:  Same as always, you know, I try and go as long in the game as I can and give the team the best chance to win.  And we scored some runs today, we hit a really good pitcher.  I was able to do my job and it worked out well.

Q.  Tyler, what was just the mindset of the team going into this game?  You knew it was a big one, knew you had to have it.  What were you guys thinking?  
TYLER KRIEGER:  Every single game we play at Clemson is a big game.  We come to school to play in games like this today.  The tournament is an awesome opportunity for us every game that we play and we look forward to playing tomorrow.  I mean every game's just exciting with these guys.  We have the talent to win every game we play in.  I believe in my teammates, I believe in our coaches, I believe in the program, and I think there's a lot of good things in front of us if we continue to play the way we are.

Q.  Zack, you talked about mixing in your off‑speed pitches more early on today.  Seemed like second time through the order your curveball was really working for you.  Can you talk about the development of that pitch throughout the game?
ZACK ERWIN:  Yeah.  I think I was able to stay more on top of it later on.  I think the first couple innings I left some that were up here and I just didn't finish out front.  So those are kind of cues when you leave it up you know you've got to get out in front more, and after that I did pretty well with it.

Q.  Zack, how big was it that your teammates kind of staked you after that 5‑1 lead there and you kind of could just settle into the game?
ZACK ERWIN:  Yeah, that's awesome.  We scored three in the first, two in the second and just like that it's 5‑1.  It's always nice pitching with the lead.

Q.  Zack, I think it was the third inning when you got in a little bit of trouble and you got two strikeouts to get out of that frame.  Were you pretty pumped about that after you were able to do that?
ZACK ERWIN:  Yeah, I was.  I think it was second, third and one out and their best two hitters were up, so I was trying to be smart and not give them anything they could hit.  But the last time I pitched against them, I let Ray beat me, so I didn't want him to get the big hit, so was just lucky enough to get a strikeout.  And then same thing with McKay, he's a great hitter, too, so I had to be smart and it just worked out in my favor.
MODERATOR:  We'll take questions for Coach.

Q.  Coach, a lot of talk coming in this tournament that you might have to win one game or two games to make an NCAA tournament.  Do you think that this helps punch your ticket to a regional next week?
HEAD COACH JACK LEGGETT:  I do.  I think we're a good baseball team.  I think you could see that today.  We played some really good baseball lately.  The last month and a half or two months we played pretty good.  We're 7‑4 against Top 10 teams, we played really well last weekend.  This is a big win for us I think tonight.  Played well last night, just had trouble getting the big hit.  Two really good starting pitchers here with Crownover and Zack Erwin, and Jake Long has come along and been healthy for us after middle of April, which has been good for us.
But it's a big win for us.  I think Tyler hit it right on the nose, we come out to play every game as hard as we can and every game's a big game for us, and hopefully this helps us and we have confidence we can play with anybody and so hopefully come out tomorrow and play well.  This is a tough tournament.  This ACC tournament is as good as, you know, an eight‑team regional that you can find anywhere in the country.  This is a very tough conference and some very good teams and some very good pitching and some really good offensive players, so it's a very tough tournament to begin with.

Q.  Jack, what is y'all's approach going into this game at the plate, and did you feel like because of what you did last time against them that you could have some pretty good success again?
HEAD COACH JACK LEGGETT:  We had some confidence coming into the game today because we had seen them before.  We had a really good approach, I think a really good plan about what we wanted to do and we executed it well in the first inning, second inning, got off to a good start, got some confidence going.  He threw a lot of off‑speed pitches, maybe more off‑speed pitches maybe than I've seen him, and we were able to manage those when he did make a mistake.  But I thought we had a really good approach.  We had some tough at‑bats today in crucial situations with two outs, two strikes and men on base and all that type of thing.  So getting big hits with men on base is really what it's all about and we did get some big ones early in the game and it loosened us up and kind of put them on the defensive.  Zack got his confidence going and we played good defense behind him and that's how we're capable of playing.  When we hit, we're pretty good.

Q.  Jack, what's it say about this program the way you guys have played over the last month or so that you didn't pack it in, that you kept going, just what's it say?
HEAD COACH JACK LEGGETT:  Well, we've been doing this for a long period of time and the Clemson baseball program I know always plays tough, always plays hard, plays sometimes better with our back against the wall and when we've got something to prove, a little chip on our shoulder.  I'm proud of our kids.  I've always felt very confident in what we're capable of doing and what kind of team we have, but we'll always play tough and we'll always come to play and that's something I'm always been proud of over the years.  So, you know, we're tough on the weekend.  If we get in a three‑game series or we get in a situation where we can, you know, get a chance to get in a little bit of rhythm and get things going, we proved that last weekend.  But each time out there everybody we play is a good baseball team.  We haven't played many teams where you can just roll out the ball and good things happen.  You have to earn it and our kids came here tonight and they earned it.  So I'm proud of how they played tonight and hopefully we can carry that into tomorrow.

Q.  Jack, what's the strategy tonight?  Obviously a lot matters with what North Carolina and Florida State do tonight.  Will you guys stick around and watch the game, maybe watch the game at the hotel.  And then obviously you've got to win tomorrow, but any strategy going into the next two days knowing obviously that you've got to win but you may need a little help tonight also to get to that championship game?
HEAD COACH JACK LEGGETT:  Yeah, there's nothing we can do about what happens tonight.  All we can do is control what we do tomorrow and how we come out and play and what our approach is.  Regardless of what happens tonight, it's a little different format.  Every year it can either work in your favor or it can work against you.  It's hard to root for one team or another to try to get yourself a spot.  I'm pretty much a guy who likes the tournament, a tournament's a tournament.  But in this case there's nothing we can do about tonight.  There's two good teams going out there, they're battling for position in the whole national picture as well, and our job is just focus on what we can do tomorrow to play a good North Carolina team tomorrow.  We've played them well at our place a couple‑‑ you know, during the season.  But we'll have to play well to win tomorrow.  To me there's really no strategy except just get some rest tonight, pay attention to what's going on, have some fun with it, but at the same time be ready to play tomorrow 3:00.

Q.  Jack, what has Zack done different lately.  He's won five of his last six starts.  What is it that he's done that's changed things around for him?
HEAD COACH JACK LEGGETT:  Confidence.  Zack's a kid, kind of soft spoken you can tell, he doesn't say much but he has some confidence in his pitching ability.  I think he had a little chip on his shoulder he wasn't a first, second or third teamer in the ACC so he had a little chip on his shoulder about that.  And he's pitched well for us all year long.  He's only had a couple bumps in the road early but other than that he has really stepped up for us, he's gotten continually better.  Pep's done a really good job with him.  He came into the year with some confidence and his breaking ball was really good tonight, which is the best I've seen it.  Got up on top of it, threw it with confidence, had good conviction with it.  And his fastball, he was able to spot his fastball.  You know, 11 strikeouts, no walks, that's a pretty good ratio and that's going to always keep you in the hunt, keep you in the game.  But he's worked hard.  He's a good athlete, and he's really improved since he's come to school.  He went off in the summer and played up in the Cape and got some confidence there, and then that's rolled into this year.  So I'm really proud of how he's improved and come along.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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