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May 26, 2016

Brian O'Connor

Daniel Pinero

Connor Jones

Durham, North Carolina

Clemson - 5, Virginia - 4

BRIAN O'CONNOR: Well, it was a good college baseball game. Congratulations to Clemson. They have got a tough club. Certainly had our opportunities. I think the story of the game, really, was them capitalizing on our walks. Five of their runs were a result of -- initiated by a base on balls. A fourth run, the runner was advanced to second by a walk.

It's tough to win this time of the year doing that. But credit to them, they took advantage of it. Certainly they have a very potent offense. We took some chances and walked some guys, intentionally walked some batters to pitch to some other batters. We did a nice job of hanging in there and having a chance. We just didn't do enough offensively. We'll bounce back tomorrow.

Q. What did you think of your command, your stuff today? Seemed like two outings in a row maybe that were less than to your standard. How do you feel right now?
CONNOR JONES: Certainly two of those innings I wasn't as sharp as I would like to be. I think I got a way from my plan a little bit, tried to be a little too fine and fell behind in some counts.

Like Coach said, credit them. They made me pay for it. You're not going to set yourself up for success doing that.

Q. Seemed like in the fourth and sixth, you cruised, but in the fifth, what was different, as opposed to the innings in between where you seemed to be in cruise control there?
CONNOR JONES: Yeah, I got back to my plan. Just was able to get ahead and let guys make contact and get quick outs, and get back in the dugout and let our offense go to work. I thought I was efficient there and not trying to do too much really. Obviously it was different in those innings.

Q. What was the reaction to hitting the bull, and if both players, maybe even Coach, could indulge me, you guys are from a different generation from when the movie came out in 1988. Do you still appreciate that movie and the humor of hitting the ball?
DANIEL PINERO: Yeah, it was cool to see. I kind of really didn't watch it all the way until it hit the bull. I guess you guys can talk about the reaction, I don't really know. I just put my head down and started running around the bases.

BRIAN O'CONNOR: I would say most importantly wherever it hit, Daniel got all of it and he put a good swing on it. It's something that we certainly needed. I thought he swung the bat great today, and thought his approach was really good all day.

So I don't know what to say as far as hitting the bull. I don't know how many people have done it but it would have been nice to hit the bull and win the ballgame.

Q. Can you just speak to Matt's big home run and also your reaction to him being not first-team all conference?
BRIAN O'CONNOR: I didn't even -- I didn't even think about it quite frankly. I mean, I don't know. Certainly there's a lot of great players in this league. I mean, who got first team?

I mean, those two guys are fantastic players. I mean, I look and see the players -- the stats of those players and it's pretty darn impressive. That doesn't faze Matt Thaiss. Certainly was a huge home run for us. That guy is a tremendous player. He's clutch. The guy does his homework. He's just a tough, great leader on our ballclub, and just his maturity through his career and where he is now, this guy's going to play the game for a long, long time.

I mean, he's a professional hitter. He understands what he's doing up there. Does a really nice job behind the plate, and I think he's an outstanding player. Certainly a big home run for us. Gave us a chance to win the ballgame.

Q. You didn't play Clemson during the regular season.

Q. You've only seen them today. But your overall thoughts on what Monte Lee has done with that team in his first year?
BRIAN O'CONNOR: I'm really impressed. Certainly everybody in the room knows how great of a job Coach Lee has done prior to coming to Clemson.

We are sharing a hotel with them, and we've done that two years in a row, and watching them play and certainly watching a handful of games on television in preparation for this game, they play the game the right way. They play the game tough.

It looks like his team is a loose, confident bunch, which is certainly what you want to be this time the year. You've got to have good players, and they have got good players. Certainly that middle of the lineup is as tough as you'll see in college baseball, but it looks like they are having fun playing the game. And so credit to him and his players.

Q. A little more on Matt's home run. Did it seem like that was -- he's kind of saved you guys before. Did it seem like that was the momentum you guys had; that was it, kind of erased what else had happened and you felt this was going to be your game for the taking? How disappointing was it to lose the lead that quickly?
DANIEL PINERO: Yeah, Matty's come through a lot this season, there's no doubt about that. I definitely thought it was a turning point and we were going to win the ballgame in the bottom of the ninth. Virginia baseball has done it so many times.

It's crushing to see that happen and lose like that, but it was definitely a big turning point, and that ball was smoked.

Q. What did you know about their No. 8 hitter, Triller, before the game; hits the home run and also draws a walk late.
BRIAN O'CONNOR: Not much. He hasn't played a whole lot for them. I know he's a senior and certainly he's a big kid. Did a nice job of getting his arm extended on that pitch and hitting the ball over the left field wall. Certainly a big home run for them and a big point in the ballgame.

You know, doesn't change anything. I don't know that we would have pitched him any differently and things like that. We had a chance to see him a little bit but not much. He's had limited time for them, so certainly a big boost for them.

Q. Coach mentioned how important the walks were to the story of this game. I guess Clemson, historically, they are kind of near the top of the nation in walks every year. In your experience against those guys, does their approach make them one of the more difficult teams to pitch to?
CONNOR JONES: Going back on my history with them, I think I pitched against them my freshman year in relief, and it was not even an inning; it was two-third of an inning.

So to be honest with you, I really didn't have much history against them. We do our homework and stuff, but that doesn't change my game plan and what we're trying to do. So they had a couple tough at-bats and worked the count a little bit. You know, certainly made me pay in the second with that and then again in the fifth.

Q. You were left all off three all-ACC teams, and it looked like today you were really dialed in as far as your at-bats, quality at-bats every time, not just the home run but the sac fly. Are you getting any extra motivation from that, or do you feel like you've been overlooked in those teams?
DANIEL PINERO: No, I don't really pay attention too much about that. I just try to go out and win ballgames, any way, any how.

Today I was seeing the ball really well. I wasn't really lunging too much with the changeups or anything like that. I was staying back and seeing it well. Paid off for me. Wish we could have got the win, though.

Q. I didn't know you were sharing a hotel with Clemson. Did you run into those guys at all this week, any funny stories, interactions from seeing them around?
CONNOR JONES: Not really. I only know one player on their team, so we'll see each other in the elevator. But it's not a brawl starting or anything like that (laughter). We see each other but it's cordial; hey, hello.

Q. A really close game, looked like a couple baserunning issues out there. How much of an impact did that have?
BRIAN O'CONNOR: I think it had a big impact. The lead we had, Simmons got on first base and tried to move the runner over with Ernie and Cam gets a little bit out of control, and they execute a back pick and get him out. Huge point in the game I think.

And those are the things that you can't do this time of the year. When you're playing the people of the quality of teams that we'll play here in Durham, everybody is an NCAA Tournament team. From this point forward, you don't get away with those things at this time of the year. It's really difficult; you have to do something exceptional to overcome them.

And now, when they happen, you don't say, oh, well, we'll throw the towel in. You keep fighting and you move on. But those are things that we talk about where you're trying to take care of the game; that if you don't do those fundamental things, it makes it very difficult to beat teams that are high-calibre teams.

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