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May 22, 2017

Mike Gambino

Louisville, Kentucky

MIKE GAMBINO: Thank you for having me. The statement about our team, I guess, I think the thing that's fun about our team is what we did in the second half. We had a 1-and-14 start with a team that was extremely young and not very healthy at the beginning half of the year. They stuck together, kept playing hard, kept working, kept getting better. I think it was 10-5 the last 15 in the ACC to kind of get us in this spot.

The other thing that's awesome is getting to match back up with N.C. State, because we're very much tied with them, unfortunately, because of the battle of ALS. But to be able to match back up again and be in the ACC Tournament where a whole lot of people are going to talk about Chris Combs and his fight. So that's something that's extremely important as well. So also, if possible, when we do questions, I like to make sure we start with the students, if there are any students on before we get to, I guess, the grownup media.

Q. Talk about your team, and what are the keys for you guys to bring home the championship back to the Boston metro area for this week?
MIKE GAMBINO: The keys for us, honestly, it's fairly simple. Probably the key for most of the teams, it's going to come down to pitching defense. That's kind of how we're built. When the team, you're not going to look at offensive numbers and be staggered by them. You're not going to look at home run numbers and be staggered by them. But when things good are going great for us, we pitch it, we play defense. We play good, hard, sound, fundamental baseball. It's not any type of a magic recipe, but that's what it's going to come down to for us.

Q. Talk about playing against N.C. State. What do you guys have to do to back them off and keep throwing in this new format there is for baseball there?
MIKE GAMBINO: Yeah, I love this format. I think a lot of the coaches, I don't want to speak for other coaches, but just in the last year, talking about a lot of the coaches, really excited about the great format. It makes the regular season very important to become one of those top four seeds and get rewarded. But it also gives everybody a legit chance to win an ACC championship.

So for us, N.C. State, that's a good ballclub. I know they have some (Indiscernible) in the building here. But going into the season there was a lot of talk that they'd have a chance to win a national championship. I really do believe, especially when you have Coach Avent running that ballclub -- I've played with great coaches, and he's got a thousand wins and a trip to Omaha, the guy's a Hall of Fame coach, so they're a team that's got a chance to win a National Championship. So for us, they keep that lineup. We find out a way to fight and scrap and get a couple runs. That will be what it comes down to.

Q. What does last year mean in terms of helping this team? I understand you got beaten early but still made the NCAA Tournament. I'm thinking big picture with your program and the continuity of what you're trying to build there. This season to get into the tournament, you mentioned the tough start and the strong finish. That's got to be something that you look at comprehensively, not just in this 2017 season, right?
MIKE GAMBINO: Yes. If you look back, five years ago I would have told you that two years ago we'd be really good. Last year we'd have a chance to go to Omaha. This year would be a touch of a step back, as far as -- I don't want to say a complete rebuild, but you knew how many guys we were graduating, and how many guys were drafted, that we'd be a bit young this year. Last year's team I thought high end was Omaha, and we almost did that. This year's team, I thought high end was a chance to get into the NCAA Tournament, and then who knows what happens after that.

So for this team, the awesome thing about this team is we're 1-14 halfway through. Everybody else around the country is saying -- or anybody that's paying attention is saying BC's gone, they're out, last year was a fluke year. If you walk around this team, you would have thought we were 14-1. The boys are going: We know we're going to the ACC Tournament. We know we're making a run at this thing.

They also knew at that point an at-large bid was probably out of the question, unless we did something special at the end of the year. Now we're making a decent case as far as the hottest teams in the country in the second half.

You know, the closeness of this group and the belief of this group is awesome. The other thing that I think is cool that they've talked about a ton, this team, building off of last year's team, these guys love playing together. They love being together. They love being here. And more than winning an ACC championship, and more than going to a regional, the thing that drives them that they talk about is they just don't want to go home. They want one more week together. We talked about it last year and talked about it this year, we're not going home. That's all. We want to hang out together some more. So that's a pretty cool thing, and a cool rallying cry, I think, for a group of guys.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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