home jobs contact us
Our Clients:
Browse by Sport
Find us on ASAP sports on Facebook ASAP sports on Twitter
ASAP Sports RSS Subscribe to RSS
Click to go to
ASAP Sports e-Brochure View our


May 23, 2016

Dan McConnell

Durham, North Carolina

DAN McDONNELL: You know, we've played really well the last month of the season. I guess we've been pretty consistent all year but especially the last month and being able to win on the road was big for us, taking two-out-of-three at North Carolina, just a very good team. Great pitching, just a young team; to win all three at Wake Forest, which is a great club and great offense.

I thought we took another step the last month of the season where we had to do a little more on the road and was very consistent all year at home. Pleased with the position that we're in.

Q. Do you have your rotation set yet for this week? If so, what is that? And could you just talk about the different guys that you've had throughout the year; you talk about consistency, you had five or six home runs from different guys. The consistency you've had but different guys all seem to step up.
DAN McDONNELL: Wednesday, we're going to start Kade McClure, and he started I guess 14 mid-week games or 13 mid-week games.

So just like last year, we started Sean Leland, a freshman; we're going to start Kade McClure, a sophomore who has thrown all of our mid-week games. Thursday is our off-day, and then Friday, Saturday, hopefully Sunday, you don't know. It could be McKay, Harrington and Funkhouser, but we really have options going into the weekend.

Do what we've got to do to win on Wednesday, and let's match up where we are and how everybody feels, and again, I would lean towards McKay, Harrington and hopefully Funkhouser. Because it's pool play, you have some if-necessary situations, and there's no reason to make a decision six days out, as opposed to let's evaluate where we're at and what we need to do to hopefully compete in our bracket and try to advance.

As for the players contributing, balance is a word we use a lot. Our depth in our lineup, we really don't feel like there's any holes. Just guys do different things. Some guys can steal bases. Some guys can hit with power. Some guys can grind out at-bats and get a lot of hits.

It's just that balance, one through nine; where Devin Mann stepped up for a month; where Nick Solak, our 3-hole hitter was out of the lineup, did a great job. Colby Fitch, our No. 2 catcher, has done a great job and had some DH spots and always seems to hit.

Drew Ellis has been the guy last month, you know, that has really stepped up and bats in our eight or nine spot. We got him in left field. We try to get five, six, sometimes seven innings out of Drew, and then put a full-time outfielder out there because of our depth in the outfield with Ray, Lyman, Taylor and Summers, we feel like we can hopefully always end the game with three outstanding defensive guys out there.

I think when you look at our club, if you put all the names on the sheet and last year's stats, and you lined it up with all the names on the sheets with this year's stats, you would see every individual has improved. Every individual has gotten better, which is the reason we're in the position we're in right now. Even after you lose a couple great seniors and a couple guys to the draft, we were able to feel like even get better this year.

Q. You talked about your stellar pitching staff, but how is that also set up with knowing you've got Zack Burdi in the back end in your closer role? And offensively, you went through all of the offensive production that you've had, but when you have a guy that maybe isn't finding their stride in a certain series, how nice has it been to go down the berth and find someone who has been on a hot streak to keep this thing going for your program?
DAN McDONNELL: Yes, anytime you've got a closer like Zack Burdi, you feel like you've got a chance to shorten the game.

But I think that's been -- a staple in our program has been starting pitching, especially with that No. 1 guy with great closers. I could go down the list of Trystan Magnuson, Neil Holland, Tony Zych, Derek Self, Nick Burdi, names you guys might not be familiar with because we weren't in the League.

But Zack Burdi is getting better and better, just like I mentioned all the position players. You like to see the same growth from your pitchers, and we are seeing it in McKay in a front No. 1 role; and Harrington, the year he's put together.

And even Funkhouser, who hit an early bump in the road this year, he's in a much better place right now than where he was at this time last year. He's much more prepared for pro baseball because the stuff is still there but the mentality is better.

But Zack Burdi, what he's done, especially the last month, those that saw him at North Carolina or maybe on TV against Vanderbilt, it's been electric. It's a great feeling knowing you've got a quality pitcher at the back end, and he's durable, he can throw back-to-back days, he can throw multiple innings in a day.

We're just trying to approach this week just like another. This is week 15. We get a mid-week game, we get a day off and then we play a weekend series again, we hope; there's no guarantee you play that third game on the weekend. But that's the goal for the eight teams in this thing is to get a chance to play that third game on the weekend.

You talked about the lineup, yeah, we definitely try not to live and die off of one guy. It said a lot when in this case so I lack who was hitting .460 at the time, our 3-hole hitter was out of the lineup for a month. There's other guys that can step up and win a game.

Blake Tiberi, our 6-hole hitter; we have Drew Ellis hitting eighth or ninth, has hit some huge home runs. I've always said that great teams are good six through nine. Everybody is good one through five. You take 75 percent of the college baseball teams in the country and you would take their one through five.

But I think the great teams that, six through nine is where they hurt you. They get that one hit, that one extra at-bat. Lots of times you're one hit away from putting up a big inning or a crooked number, and a lot of times it's the guy that might not be the first guy on your radar, but the guy that you look up after the game or after a weekend and go, that guy killed us this weekend.

Yeah, it takes pressure off everybody else, or forces guys to step up when they know, hey, someone is having a tough day. Our quote on the practice schedule today is: "When you know someone is your brother, it's easier to help carry him." And that's kind of a theme when someone else is struggling or someone else is out of the lineup, you do a little more. You do something to step up and help him and that's something that's worked well all year for us.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

ASAP sports

tech 129
About ASAP SportsFastScripts ArchiveRecent InterviewsCaptioningUpcoming EventsContact Us
FastScripts | Events Covered | Our Clients | Other Services | ASAP in the News | Site Map | Job Opportunities | Links
ASAP Sports, Inc. | T: 1.212 385 0297