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May 28, 2016

Dan McDonnell

Drew Harrington

Corey Ray

Durham, North Carolina

Virginia - 7, Louisville - 2

DAN McDONNELL: Yeah, I want to congratulate Virginia. You know, they played extremely well. Pitcher gave them a great start, and obviously they put together a big inning in the fifth, and we just couldn't slow them down. You know, it's life in the ACC, and we haven't had our butt kicked often this year, but we're not immune to it. Nobody is in college baseball.

The good news is we get to go home and get ready for a new season starting next weekend.

Q. Drew, you were cruising there through the first four, and Smith just gets that single. Is it just part of baseball that sometimes that just happens and that single just kind of breaks some momentum and breaks some routine that you're in?
DREW HARRINGTON: Yeah, that hasn't happened obviously too many times this year. There were a few innings throughout the season that things just wouldn't really bounce my way, but all in all, I've never seen a team like that hit seven hits in a row or whatever it was.

So I mean, hats off to them. I feel like I made some good pitches. Some pitches could have been better, but all in all, I mean, they were better than me for that inning. Hats off to them.

Q. Drew, every once in a while an athlete doesn't have the kind of outing that they're looking for. Is it kind of good that you got this out of the way before the next big tournament starts?
DREW HARRINGTON: Yeah. I mean, I've already talked to God and thanked him for the struggle because struggles are going to happen in baseball, struggles are going to happen in life, and I'm just going to get better from this and this team is just going to get better from it. I know it's just a thing, and the past few years at Louisville we just haven't played well at the conference tournament and we've played well in the postseason, so hopefully we can keep that streak going.

Q. Corey, what did you see from Virginia's pitching tonight? Obviously Haseley with the start, but collectively holding you guys to four hits is pretty hard to do. What do you think they were doing effectively against you guys?
COREY RAY: Strikes. Every pitch, strikes, with the breaking ball, with the fastball. He was moving it in and out, the little cutter or slider thing that he throws to the left was pretty good. I think it's just quality pitching and a quality start.

Q. Quality start, they did throw good pitches, but you got a hold of one. What did you see on that, and did you think you got enough of it?
COREY RAY: I was just ready for a fastball. I haven't really gotten that many -- I hadn't gotten that many this game, and a righty in, and they've got a big lead. I know they're not trying to mess around, so I was ready for the fastball and trying to put a good swing on it. It caught a little wind up there. I was kind of skeptical for a minute. I didn't know whether it was going to leave the yard or not, but that's one of the hardest I've hit in a while.

Q. Corey, you guys haven't lost this much this season or for a number of seasons now, but when you lose two straight in the conference tournament, what does that do for the team's mindset going into the NCAAs?
COREY RAY: I don't think it does anything. Yesterday we were one at-bat away. Today we're one ground ball away from being in that game and maybe turning it around there. I think every game we play in, we're in, and I think that'll continue. I'm just happy we get to go home and practice for a week and get ready for the postseason.

Q. Coach, with the outcome of tonight's game not having a bearing on the championship tomorrow, what was your message to the team to keep their mindset moving forward to next week and the rest of the postseason?
DAN McDONNELL: We were coming off a loss. We were disappointed in how we played and the energy we brought to the game against Clemson, so obviously it would have been a little more exciting to come into this game thinking you had a chance to advance to tomorrow, but Virginia was in the same boat we were in, so we were on even playing field, we're both coming off a loss, so we respect the game, respect our opponent. We just wanted to come in with a lot of energy and play hard. And I thought we did. Again, we had one bad inning. Looking at our stats, we walked one pitcher, which was better than the Clemson game, and you tip your hat to Adam. It was just hard to square balls up. I didn't realize he had five walks, but of course he only had the two hits. So it was a lot of soft contact, and then when they put up the 7-0 lead it was catch up from there.

But we didn't take this game lightly at all, and we were chomping at the bit to get back and play good baseball, knowing that you're playing a team that's hosting a regional and maybe even a super regional and a team that you could see in Omaha. We were excited for the challenge.

Q. Coach, when you're seeing Drew go through an inning like he does, obviously you don't see that from him often. As a coach or manager what's the mindset when you're seeing him struggle, is it just it can't continue or what's the thought process?
DAN McDONNELL: Like I told him, I put my arm around him when we were walking here, I said, it's baseball. As I mentioned earlier, he said he'd never seen that before, and I said, well, guess what, you're going to see it again. Somewhere along the line if you pitch in professional baseball and you play this game a long time, it happens to everybody, and that's why we play so many games in baseball. Don't get too high and don't get too low. As Corey said, we get to -- he knows how much I love practice, and for me, leaving the tournament with a bat taste in your mouth has been healthy for us. We don't come here to lose, and we sure don't come here to play bad, but I can tell you as a coach, I'm chomping at the bit and anxious to make out the schedule for the week, and I'd like to think I've got their attention. It'll be Spring Training for us. I mean, we'll go back to the basics. We'll take advantage of four good days to practice before we play on Friday. You know, this group has been battle tested. They've been in the postseason. They've had some tough outings in the conference tournament. We're not going to panic. If anything we're just chomping at the bit to play another opponent, somebody in the other dugout.

Q. Dan, you saw Virginia previously in March when they were going through a little bit of a rut. You took two out of three from them then. The last two games you kind of blew them out. They obviously are a lot different now. What's the biggest thing that you've seen in them maybe change playing them now than back then?
DAN McDONNELL: I mean, you talk about experience from their success last year, what you noticed when they left our place, they didn't panic. They had some real struggles last year. If you can overcome what they overcame last year, that program is in a great position. Any speed bump they had this year, they had the adversity down at Miami with the unfortunate situation with the bus driver, and if anybody is battle tested, that program is battle tested, and we can all learn from how they've overcome some tough times. Doesn't surprise us that they're good, and as I shook all their coaches' hands, I said, I hope to see you in Omaha, because I don't think we'll cross paths on our way there, but I'd like to think we both have a chance to make it.

Q. Back-to-back years of winning the division and then coming to Raleigh and having a little bit of a struggle. Does that just kind of speak to the strength of the conference as a whole?
DAN McDONNELL: Oh, no doubt. Again, we lost to a team, as I said, that could host and maybe host a super regional, so again, I don't think we would cross paths with a team like that. I mean, you're going to face really good teams, don't get me wrong, but it just shows the strength of the ACC this year. Wake Forest was one hit away, and we lose this game, they're playing in the championship tomorrow, and it just shows you they had to play that game on Tuesday, and they're one hit away from playing in the championship. It just shows the parity obviously in college baseball but especially in the ACC. There's a reason we've got the No. 1 RPI in the country, and I'm looking forward to seeing what everybody does from our league in the next couple weeks.

Q. You all were dominant at home this year. What kind of advantage do you think that'll be for you all moving forward in the NCAA tournament?
DAN McDONNELL: I mean, it's just good to be at home. Guys get to sleep in their own bed and the routine and just our meals, our cage time. You know, these guys get a lot of work in. It's a professional group. They like to get in the short cages. They like to get in the hack shack. They like to do their routine. For the last couple weeks, we had to play at Wake Forest last week and we had the quick turnaround to come here, so we just haven't been home much. So like Corey said, we're looking forward to getting home in our familiar surroundings and playing in front of our crowd. This is not the easiest place for our fans to get to, and them knowing that we're going to be home next weekend, it makes it a lot more easier for them to plan to come out to Jim Patterson Stadium, so I know our guys will really be looking forward to playing in front of our crowd.

Q. Were you happy with what you saw out of Kyle Funkhouser in his first relief appearance since his freshman year?
DAN McDONNELL: Yeah, we knew that this was our last game of the tournament, so instead of throwing a sim scrimmage tomorrow or something like that, the game plan with Coach Williams was definitely to get Funkhouser out there, get Wolf, the big lefty, and get Burdi out there. Lincoln got out there to save us in that inning, but we knew we had to get three or four pitchers out there to get some work, throw to live hitters, and so very pleased. I mean, we're really pleased with where these guys are at and how consistent and how hard they've worked all year.

Like I said, we're going to walk out of here with our head high, and we're chomping at the bit. Wish we could play tomorrow, but we can't, so as the kids know and I say it all the time, I love to practice. So I'm going to enjoy preparing for this week and getting a chance to run out there, and for us it's Spring Training. Off first, off second. Tell them, Corey, you love to run the cycle or crack of the bat, and they love our baserunning drills at the end of the practice, I know he does, so we'll take advantage of the opportunity to work this week and look forward to being a part of the best 64 teams in the country.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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