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May 27, 2016

Monte Lee

Clate Schmidt

Seth Beer

Reed Rohlman

Durham, North Carolina

Clemson - 5, Louisville - 3

MONTE LEE: This is an unbelievable win for our program against what I think is arguably the best team in the country. You have to give Louisville a lot of credit for what they accomplished this year. They are extremely talented, one through nine in their lineup. They have premium arms with starting pitching. McKay is one of the best starting pitchers in the country.

And for us to find a way, down early, to find a way to win this game, I think it says an awful lot about our ballclub, about our toughness. We had some huge at-bats today. Seth Beer hit a homer late. Reed Rohlman had two just massive at-bats for us, hit two home runs today, which was the difference in the ballgame. K.J. Bryant, who plays some for us versus lefties had a great day. And Weston Wilson hit a big home run early.

But Clate Schmidt, what can you say. It doesn't get more gutsy than that. The guy is just an absolute warrior, and the one thing that you know when Clate Schmidt pitches in big-time atmospheres and big-time games, he steps up, he elevates to the level of competition, and when we need him the most, he got it done for us today.

So I just can't tell you how proud I am for him. It will go down in my mind as one of the more gutsy performances I've seen out of a starting pitcher. He scored some runs early and he held them at bay and found a way to get deep into the ballgame. Got into the ninth inning, and against a really good offense.

Just can't say enough about him and his toughness and competitiveness. That's why we won today was because of Clate Schmidt's toughness and our ability to find a way to put together some big at-bats against a really good starting pitcher.

Q. What was the difference today, as opposed to the last time you faced these guys up there at Louisville?
CLATE SCHMIDT: I think that today, I knew going into it, especially with the previous starts and outings, I was coming in there with a different confidence level. Our defense and offense has really been clicking as of late, as they always have been. I was really fortunate to be able to go in there with a lot of confidence and just try to execute pitches and get us out and back into the dugout as quickly as possible.

Q. Second day in a row that you guys have faced the first team all-conference pitcher, and it doesn't look like you guys are scared at all when you're up there.
REED ROHLMAN: No, we faced McKay early in the year and I have to give credit to Connor Jones, he's a great pitcher and we put together some great at-bats.

But McKay, we knew he liked to throw the fastball. We had a great pitching plan; give credit to our coaches for that. But just stuck to. We knew they were going to have to turn around his fastball today and it worked out in our favor.

Q. I have to ask, did you not like dropping to seventh in the order? Looked like you swung a little angry out there today (Laughter.).
REED ROHLMAN: No, I got to trust the coaches. It's no secret, I've been struggling a little bit as of late and Chris Williams has been swinging the bat great.

But it doesn't matter where in the lineup; you're still just as important. So I just had to keep the same approach, keep swinging the bat and it turned out well today.

Q. Louisville's hitters said they thought your fastball was more explosive than the last time you faced them and you held your velocity well today; are you stronger physically than you were midway through the season?
CLATE SCHMIDT: Yeah, I also made a couple mechanical changes with Coach C after we faced Louisville and I started to get back a bit of velo and had more late life to it, like I used to have. I think that that was another thing that's benefitted me as a pitcher and being able to go in deep into games.

Q. Seth, could you have imagined that you would set the Clemson record for home runs by a freshman this season?
SEAN BEER: I don't know. Like the sport of baseball, you can't predict anything and that's something you've got to think about season by season. It can change on a dime. So obviously I wasn't coming into Clemson this early spring thinking, you know, I was going to break the record for home runs. But it's a pretty cool accomplishment and I'm honored to hold that.

But the other thing that I want to say is just my teammates been picking me up lately. Obviously we've got a great squad and they have been picking me up, and it's just been a great experience to be a part of a club like this. And I wouldn't change it for the world.

Q. Have you changed your approach at all? You haven't seen a lot of good pitches to hit over the last month and a half.
SEAN BEER: Just small adjustments. Maybe looking in on some pitches on the inner half of the plate, or looking away, because, you know, teams are starting to mix it up on where they are pitching me and with the shifts and all that kind of stuff. And I've had to adjust to that. It's been a work-in-progress. It's been tough.

But it's good to have the sense of knowing that your teammates can pick you up; obviously last game and obviously this game, and just to be able to adjust to that. The one I put a good swing on, I was just looking for a good pitch in on me. I put a good swing on it, so it was pretty fun.

Q. You guys have been through a lot the last four years, you especially. Can you talk about right now what it means that whatever happens this afternoon, or at least tomorrow, you're a game from playing for an ACC Championship?
CLATE SCHMIDT: We've unfortunately in the past have been snake bitten when it comes to the ACC Tournament. We got two wins, I think it was my sophomore year, got two wins and only lost one.

To be able to be in the position where we are, it's just -- it's a huge thing for our team; and to be able to say the confidence level that we have coming in right now in the post-season, it's massive right now.

These guys have come in day-in and day-out and been able to execute on the offensive side and the defensive side. They have picked us up time and time again throughout the year with pitching and now that that's starting to click, we're really a force to be reckoned with.

Q. I've been watching games, see teams going extra innings and throwing six, seven, eight pitchers in a game. How big was what Clate gave you today and could your pitching have set up any better through the first few games considering what you have the rest of the weekend?
MONTE LEE: There's no doubt about it. I mean, him being able to go deep today was big for us because we used Eubanks out of the pen in Game 1 and we used Krall out of the pen in Game 1, as well. So for Clate to be able to get deep into the ballgame, it was critical for us.

And I think the biggest thing, you look at this start, they scored a single run in the second, third and fourth inning, and he stayed out there. He stayed out there and he kept pitching, he kept pitching, he kept competing and he got better as the game went on.

And you know, he wanted to stay out there for the whole game, but the pitch count was getting up there. You know, I thought he was maybe running out of gas a little bit. He would argue that he wasn't. (Laughter.) But that's because he is a great competitor. That's just the competitor that he is. He doesn't like it when I take him out of the game.

But I think it's just a testament, again to, what type of competitor Clate Schmidt is. You look at this season for him, he's been up-and-down at times, but when we needed him the most at the end of this season, he's been arguably our best guy. He's thrown extremely well.

So I couldn't be prouder of him to be able to stick with the process, to deal with the ups and downs, and all the adversity that he's faced in life, I think has helped him.

He stuck with it, he kept competing and he found a way to put us in a really good position, and it's because of his makeup and his toughness and his competitiveness.

Q. What will you do now pitching for tomorrow, and how much will you wait to see what happens in the Virginia game to determine that?
MONTE LEE: I will wait. I'm going to wait and see what happens in the game today to determine what we'll do. We've got a couple different options that we could go with, but we're going to wait and see what happens in that game this afternoon before we make that decision.

Q. When you made those mechanical tweaks and you see a little bit more zip on your fastball, what does that do for you confidence-wise out there on the mound? Do you feel more confident attacking hitters just because you have that extra life?
CLATE SCHMIDT: Oh, of course, and with velo you can get away with some mistakes here and there.

I was fortunate enough today to be able to make pitches with the extra velo that I've gained, and those mechanical changes have really allowed me to kind of get back into -- I'm a rotational kind of guy, and I like to be able to rotate in my pitching motion, and just be able to feel more comfortable out there.

I think being comfortable makes you such a better baseball player, and I've been fortunate enough to be able to produce for those guys these past couple outings.

Q. Regarding the things you've overcome, when were you given a clean bill of health and what's your situation now?
MONTE LEE: I was given a clean bill of health beginning of September. I finished my last radiation treatment, and then drove straight back up to Clemson and joined the team. So treatment now is there's no treatment, luckily, knock-on-wood.

But I go back for re-checks every three months for the first year, and then after that I go every six months.

Q. Can you talk about how big Reed's home run was, that first one; that kind of got you jump started again, and getting the individual game winner.
MONTE LEE: Any time you're playing a team like Louisville, you know that runs are at a premium. They are at a premium. You have to earn your runs. This is an extremely athletic lineup, and defensively, they have got some dynamic athletes all over the field, so you've got to earn every single run.

You know, Reed ran into two balls today and hit them pretty dang good. So you look at it, we scored two runs right there. K.J. gave us another run at the bottom. You know, Seth and Wes hit some solo homers. We didn't scratch out too many hits but when we did, we made them count, and it's all about taking your best swing and being on time.

And when you're facing a guy like McKay, you've got to catch the ball out front, because he's got an explosive fastball, he's one of the best starters in the League, he's left-handed and he's a tough kid to square up, but I thought our guys did a really good job of adjusting and trying to catch the ball out front. That was our game plan today is don't let this guy beat you with his fastball. He's going to pound you in with fastballs and you've got to catch that fastball out front. A couple of our guys caught it out front and hit it pretty good.

Q. You took a couple extra seconds before you stepped on the mound in the ninth. What's going through your mind and what did you say to yourself?
CLATE SCHMIDT: I kind of had an idea of where I was pitch-count wise and I knew that I needed to be able to get these guys quickly. And not saying that it was like margin for error or anything like that, but I wanted to be able to get these guys, get this win and shut them down, because they can come back at any time. They are an extremely well-rounded team and explosive offensively. I just kind of did the same routine that I've been doing every other inning, and just took a step off and took a little breath and kind of refocused in.

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