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May 28, 2016

Brian O'Connor

Adam Haseley

Pavin Smith

Durham, North Carolina

Virginia - 7, Louisville - 2

BRIAN O'CONNOR: I felt like this win tonight and the effort that our guys gave and their execution that we had tonight was as good as I've seen us all year, really. I mean, that was as impressive of a win as I've seen this team have all season, and we've had some big ones.

I say that just because of certainly the situation in the tournament. We had played two ballgames and lost both by one run to good opponents. You're facing an outstanding pitcher and an outstanding team, and our guys weren't denied to come out and play really good, sound baseball. Certainly we know we have a very good ballclub, and we certainly played like it tonight, and I'm just as proud of this team as we have for any game this season.

Q. Adam and Pavin, did you see anything different from Harrington that inning? Was he just in the zone a little bit more? Was his stuff flatter? What was the different in the fifth about him?
ADAM HASELEY: I think from our side of things, I think we were being pretty aggressive for the most part. You know, the first time we faced him, and the first few innings of the day, he's been lights out. I think it was just something where maybe -- I don't know if he missed a spot or something, but we were just being aggressive and stringing some hits together.

PAVIN SMITH: Yeah, I think he's a great pitcher, and I think sometimes hits just come. They're very contagious, and to get one going, you get some confidence going against them, and realizing that you can hit them.

Q. Adam, does it happen sometimes when you're in a rhythm in the windup like he was and to get in the stretch, it just throws you off kilter a little bit? Coach is nodding yes.
ADAM HASELEY: Yeah, it does. You know, it's different from the stretch. You don't have that momentum when you're going from the windup, and for some guys, the velocity drops, too, from the stretch. So yeah, you know, it's two different things.

Q. Adam and Pavin, just as Coach talked about, this was maybe the most focused you guys have been and executed and all that. How important was it for you to do that to get a positive feeling coming off of this and get a win over a top-10 team heading into next week?
PAVIN SMITH: Yeah, I think we're going to take this and look back at it and look at things that we did well and we're going to try to ride this momentum into the NCAA Tournament.

Q. Pavin, just like a pitcher can get off stride, you get up there, he's retired 12 straight, and you get a single. Sometimes do you just need that single to get through and kind of open up the floodgates like you did tonight?
PAVIN SMITH: Yeah, and we got a little lucky there, hit a chip in the infield and bounced over, so sometimes you just need that, get a runner on, and like you said, get the guy in the stretch, get him a different look and give us a different look at the plate with the guy in the stretch.

Q. I don't know how much aware you guys were of this, but coming into tonight, Brian O'Connor had a chance to move into the all-time wins leader at Virginia. Did you guys know this, and was that something that you guys talked about, and what do you think that kind of means in the grand scope of everything?
PAVIN SMITH: Well, first of all, congrats, because I did not know that. No, we really didn't think about him getting his -- most winningest coach in Virginia history. But it's definitely a great honor, and I'm glad we could do that for him.

ADAM HASELEY: That's pretty much the idea. We didn't know about it.

BRIAN O'CONNOR: That's good.

Q. Adam, Louisville hadn't given up -- you told them to four hits. That's the lowest they've had all year. You know about obviously that lineup and Ray and all those guys and the power and explosiveness they can give you. What did you do do you think most effectively to limit them? I know you had some command issues but you never really gave up that big hit. Talk about the pitching performance and Shambora coming in behind you.
ADAM HASELEY: Yeah, I think the second, third and fourth were innings where I was working ahead. The first and the fifth I was getting behind and I was running into trouble, I think two walks in each of those innings. I think that was the biggest thing was getting ahead and not being predictable in the counts that are behind, that I'm behind. So I think in those middle innings that was what was working.

Q. Obviously you guys have had to go on the road in the NCAA Tournament and you've had success. You've also played at home and had success in the NCAA Tournament. Just talk about what it would mean to play at home in the first round, and what some of the challenges might be playing on the road.
ADAM HASELEY: I think it would be great to play at home, but you know, the guys that were on the team last year, we know we're just going to play our game, and we've got to bring it wherever we end up playing.

PAVIN SMITH: Yeah, I think playing at home has its advantages, and we definitely want to strive to do that, but if we're on the road, we're not out, and we can play out game and we can beat anybody.

Q. Pavin, coming into the weekend you had kind of struggled at the end of the season, maybe since the exam break. You've obviously had a really good tournament and then of course that last game there at Virginia Tech. Just talk about kind of fighting through those struggles and just how it feels right now after you've had such a great week down here in Durham.
PAVIN SMITH: Yeah, you know, a lot of my teammates and coaches try to encourage me and try to help me out, and I just had to stay with it, stick with my approach and not try to do too much. I felt like when I was trying to get it, I was trying to press too much trying to get a hit, that's when you end up not getting a hit, so really just sticking to the approach, not trying to do too much. Not trying to do too much helps.

Q. You guys faced three pretty good lineups in a row here. This one probably being the most, I guess, known and star power, things like that. How happy were you with what Adam was able to give you against those guys because it's not often they're limited to that run total as you guys saw in March?
BRIAN O'CONNOR: Well, first of all, Louisville has an outstanding ballclub. I'd like to see a better pitching staff out there. I mean, those guys are loaded up on the mound, and they're going to have a fantastic postseason moving forward. I really believe that. And offensively they can just beat you in so many different ways. Certainly they've got guys who can hit the ball out of the ballpark. They've got a handful of guys in their lineup that can run. The rest of the guys are grinders that are really good college hitters that make you really work.

Certainly it started with Adam. I thought he was very, very good doing what he does. The plan was to have him try to go five or six and then chop up the back part of the game and get some of those other guys in there getting them ready for next weekend. Fortunately it worked. They've got an outstanding club.

Q. Yesterday you talked about over the past two games the team wasn't doing some of the little things that you had been doing over the last five weeks to win ballgames. Did you see some of that today, and is that something that can carry over going into the tournament?
BRIAN O'CONNOR: Well, I did see it today, and that's why I feel so great and feel like this is one of the better games that we've played is we came down here for three ballgames. We didn't make an error. That's pretty impressive in itself. What did happen the first two games is we didn't make a few clutch pitches that we needed to make, most of them with two strikes. A lot of those home runs came with two strikes where we couldn't put guys away. I'm not saying we're striking guys out but not the quality of contact that they did get, and we just didn't do some things offensively that we had been doing the last four or five weeks, execution things, little details, and I thought certainly we did those tonight and played as good a ballgame as you can play.

Q. What effect did Louisville's unfamiliarity with Adam have on tonight's game, because it looked like they were really off stride and not getting good swings on him at all.
BRIAN O'CONNOR: Yeah, I've seen a lot of teams look like that against Adam this year. I really have. It didn't surprise me. I knew he'd pitch well because he's pitched great baseball for us all year long. You know, certainly there's an advantage facing somebody earlier in the season. I think that played a little bit into us against Harrington today. So them not seeing him probably was a little bit of advantage for us, but he still needed to execute, which he did, and pitched in the clutch.

Q. What was the plan for Daniel Lynch at this tournament? Did you get everything that you wanted out of him, and what's kind of his future going into next week and where you could -- is he an option now?
BRIAN O'CONNOR: Well, I think Daniel Lynch is an option out of the bullpen for us. You'd have to tell me, but I don't think that he's pitched in a month, right, and he got a chance to get two appearances out here. The kid is a lean left-hander that's pretty projectable and has got a really good breaking ball, so he's going to be counted on. I just don't know yet whether it's going to be out of the pen or potential start. We'll have to see. But certainly it was encouraging what we saw yesterday and today.

Q. You guys have obviously taken many different roads to get to Omaha. Just talk about what it would mean to play at home and then some of the challenges through your experiences that you have playing on the road?
BRIAN O'CONNOR: Well, we've made it to Omaha two of the four times with playing the regional on the road and twice at home. We've hosted many super regionals there in Charlottesville. Certainly I feel like with our résumé, finishing third in the regular season in this league, having 19 wins in this league is really impressive, and so I believe we've earned the right to have a chance to play at home. Certainly you get an opportunity to play in front of your fans, we've always put on a good show of hosting regionals and super regionals. We always get sold-out crowds, so I think it's a great venue to do that, and I think this team has earned that right. Last year we didn't. Last year we just earned the right to play in the tournament. This year I think is a little bit different. When you finish third in this league through over 30 ballgames, I think that earns it.

Q. Coach, how do you kind of -- do you coach a game like this where it's, quote-unquote, meaningless, where it's basically a friendly, to use a soccer term? Did you find yourself preparing differently once you knew the game was, quote-unquote, meaningless?
BRIAN O'CONNOR: Well, I think that's a great question. We didn't. We absolutely prepared to win. Certainly with what we were going to do out of -- from our pitching standpoint, we were going to limit Adam somewhat to make sure he's fresh and ready to go for next weekend, and I knew we wanted to get a couple of guys work out of the pen, but those were guys that we were going to use anyway if the situation presented itself.

I wasn't concerned about getting everybody at-bats and things like that. I wanted to win the game, and I think that there's a real bright spot that comes from it.

That says, last year we went 1-3 in this tournament and then went on the run like we did. I don't know. You know, I mean, Dan and I told each other at the home plate meeting that let's make sure there's not a fight or anything and get anybody hurt.

That said, you want your players to play in an environment where they're always playing to win, and that's what our focus was.

Q. Yesterday you talked about the need for Lynch and how you're going to need him.

Q. Obviously these two guys are guys you're going to need over the next few weeks. Adam has had a couple great starts and Pavin is back hitting the way he can hit. Talk a little bit about what these two guys mean for you here in the next three, four weeks.
BRIAN O'CONNOR: Well, they mean a ton. Myself and the other coaches, I mean, we've known these two guys for five years. I mean, they're second years but they committed to us out of the state of Florida when they were sophomores, in the fall of their sophomore year. And so we knew that they were going to be tremendous players for us. They've delivered with that, and certainly with what both of them can do at the plate for us and as athletic as they are and certainly what Adam can do on the mound, they're huge, huge parts of what we do with this year's team and will be moving forward into next year, as well.

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