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May 22, 2015

Mik Aoki

Cavan Biggio

Ryan Smoyer


Notre Dame – 8
Virginia - 2

HEAD COACH MIK AOIKI:  First off, happy birthday to my daughter, Bryn, she turned seven today.  Also best of luck to the men's lacrosse team tomorrow, playing the championship weekend for lacrosse. 
As far as today's game goes, I thought our guys did a great job, just sort of staying focused one pitch at a time, doing a great job there, just taking advantage of some opportunities are that we created and also were given to us.  I thought Ryan did a remarkable job on the mound considering I don't know that he was as sharp as he's been on prior outings.  Cavan got a great hit, we just kind of ‑‑ we were able to do a really good job with situational hitting today and came out against a very good Virginia team.  And they did a good job of handling us back in South Bend a month and a half ago.  A good one for us. 

Q.  Ryan, since you didn't face them during that three‑game series, is there an edge one way or another to you, because they haven't seen you or how do you view pitching for the first time in the tournament? 
RYAN SMOYER:  I don't know that it helped all that much.  I think at this point in the season it is important and kind of high for everybody.  From the standpoint of them not seeing my breaking ball, but I think they adjusted well.  Command wasn't always there, I think they were seeing the fastball later in the game.
From the standpoint of not seeing them and then them not seeing me, I think it works both ways.  Coming in not knowing what their hitters look like up at the plate it was a little getting used to.  But I think it all evened out in the end.

Q.  You guys mentioned the pace you pitch, is that always the way you pitch?  Why has that been your approach on the mound?
RYAN SMOYER:  I think that's just a team‑wide thing that we do.  As a pitching staff we just try to constantly stay on hitters, don't let them get time to regroup, and I think that works to our advantage.  I think it worked today.  And I don't think it's any certain way that I try to pitch.  I think it's just the way that I've always pitched.  I think it's the way our culture pitches, and the team has been. 

Q.  How do you evaluate your stuff today?  Coach said he thought you weren't your sharpest, but you were still able to go up and hold those guys to four hits.  How do you evaluate how your stuff felt? 
RYAN SMOYER:  It was okay at the beginning.  But I lost a little bit of control just command of the fastball, and I think that kind of leaked into the breaking stuff.  I'm not a big strikeout thrower, so my breaking ball I wouldn't say is anything great to begin with, but it usually gets the job done.  Today I think at times it kind of let me down, I wasn't locating where I needed to.  But I think for the most part in the beginning I felt good.  And just had to battle through the fastball late.  And was able to use momentum to get some outs.

Q.  The at‑bat against Thaiss, an off beat pitch.  After that what's your mindset going forward in that you're starting to fatigue a little bit, and then they have some runners on base, what's your mindset going forward after that? 
RYAN SMOYER:  Just to be in battle.  You hang a pitch, there's nothing you can do about it after that, just move on to the next one.  And a couple of walks here and there didn't help the pitch count at all.  But I felt like for the most part I was always at least competing, pitch to pitch, letting ‑‑ not letting one pitch go into the next.  And tried to just move on from there, just attack every hitter, make them work for whatever they're going to work.  That's a good hitting team.  They're good at the plate they're disciplined, so they're going to get their fair share to walk on competitive pitches.  So just make sure they're competitive.  Don't give them the easy 390s down to first base.  Luckily we were able to kind of stop that leak.

Q.  Cavan, you struggled a little bit yesterday, and.  Can you tell me if you made any adjustments at the plate and how big was that triple for the team, because it really kind of blew the game open at that point? 
CAVAN BIGGIO:  Yeah, yesterday not just for me, but the whole team was having a tough game, overall.  From our lineup we never got anything going yesterday.  And today was just more of an approach where we just put the ball in play, not really try to do too much with the ball.  And it kind of flowed with the whole lineup there.  We got some hits going. 

Q.  Coach, first ACC tournament win in the program history, what does that mean for the program?
HEAD COACH MIK AOIKI:  I think it's another stepping‑stone of what we're trying to do.  Obviously last year was a difficult year for us for a variety of different ways.  I think our kids have done a phenomenon natural job of bouncing back from that, for a lot of different reasons.  But I think again this is just another step forward for us.  And I hope to continue that momentum and play as well as we possibly can against Miami tomorrow, and see where the chips lay at the end of the day. 

Q.  Coach, after getting shut out yesterday, and you come out today, 11 o'clock start, and sometimes it seems like it can be hard for teams to come back with energy for those 11 a.m. games.  It seems your team was Crisp.  Were you pleased with how they came out, and why do you think they were able to play so sharp?
HEAD COACH MIK AOIKI:  I think throughout the course there's probably been a game and a half where our kids haven't shown up to be really play and be engaged.  It doesn't mean we always play well or win.  But our kids have done a phenomenonal job is of being engaged and controlling the things that you can.  I think two of the really big things that you can control is just the attitude that you bring to the park every day, the effort level you put into it every day.  And I think 1 is through 35 our kids have been really, really good at it.
Yesterday was really tough.  But at the end of the day give a ton of credit to Brown and Brett, they pitched really well.  You just move on from it.  We just try to stay focused on the present pitch and our kids did a phenomenon job of it, not once did I ever doubt these kids weren't going to show up.  They'll show up.  And we'll show up against Miami tomorrow and see how it goes.

Q.  What is your pitching plan, and how does it change depending on what happens with Miami tonight?
HEAD COACH MIK AOIKI:  I haven't run through all the different scenarios, I'll get back and figure out what we do with the pitching.  We kept Brandon Bielak in our pocket to see where we were.  We felt it was important to get a win in this thing.  We'll piece together tomorrow it will be either McCarty, maybe depending on how Tully is feeling, maybe we roll him out.  We'll get back to the hotel and figure that out.  And to a certain extent, yeah, it matters what Miami does tonight but I don't even know, do they play tonight?  I don't think they do.  But regardless of what it is we'll just try to figure it out.  I haven't played all the scenarios through.

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