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May 23, 2017

Chris Pollard

Jimmy Herron

Nick Hendrix

Louisville, Kentucky

Duke - 6, Clemson - 3.

CHRIS POLLARD: We played really good defense behind him. Nick Hendrix came in and competed like he has for us all year. We were opportunistic with our hits. We were fortunate in some ways. We had some soft contact that fell in and found holes, and that's baseball. We'll take it. We beat a really good baseball team tonight. Those guys are a very complete club and a team that's capable of making a very deep run in the postseason, and certainly a team that deserves to host a regional. So we know that we beat a good club, and I was really impressed with Barnes. I thought he threw the ball great. I thought he was as good as advertised. Coach C has done a tremendous job with their staff, and again, we were fortunate to have some balls fall in at the right time.

Q. Jimmy, you guys keep digging and battling and something happened there for you in the seventh and in the eighth.
JIMMY HERRON: Yeah, we've really just been trying to play loose. I think that's something that's helped us, and timely hitting wins games, and that's what we did, we had a couple big two out hits. Proctor had a big at-bat there against Eubanks, and he left me a decent fastball, put a good swing on that and then you have Jalen come up with a huge two RBI knock there to good us a little bit of cushion. And then obviously, Hendo comes in, bullpen has been great, shut the door on them, which was pretty awesome.

Q. Jimmy, from an offensive perspective, when the team you're facing commits two errors like that that help extend an inning and give you guys extra opportunities, what is that like as a hitter? Does it put more pressure on you to try to capitalize on that?
JIMMY HERRON: I think it's a little bit of momentum. You kind of see the door go open there and smell blood in the water and try to get up there and make something happen because they're kind of let up a little bit there, so just try to take advantage of it really.

Q. Nick, as far as coming into the game, was there anything that you found that was working most effective for you today?
NICK HENDRIX: Not really. I think most of it was Coach Maki's pitch calling, really enabled me to just settle in, trust what he's calling and just make the pitch because you know anything about these guys in the lineup, very talented. Rohlman, Beer, two of the best players in the ACC this season. Had to trust that strategy and just execute that pitch, really makes it a lot more simple.

Q. Nick, just talk about the defense, a couple plays that they had for you there.
NICK HENDRIX: Yeah, unbelievable. I mean, a couple of those out of the hands, man, I wish I could have that one back, and then I see Max and Jack diving across the infield, Jalen picking up a throw from Kone there short, and it makes it a lot easier to pitch and gives you a lot more confidence when you have guys like that behind you.

Q. Jimmy, just talk about how some teams turn around, it's so different in this tournament until Friday, but you guys, talk about how big that game is for you.
JIMMY HERRON: Yeah, it's a big one. We've got to win it just like we have to do today. We have an off-day tomorrow, which is nice, recover a little bit, have a good practice, and then come out, we've got UVA, played them before, kind of have an idea of what they'll try to do to us, and just come out again, play loose, have fun, put our best game together.

Q. Along those lines about defense, obviously Clemson has the two errors in the outfield, you have a couple of great plays in the infield, and then you had the play from Kenny there that while it was a great catch, an out later they hit the home run. How big is y'all's defense? Is that kind of how you've played all year?
CHRIS POLLARD: We anticipated going into this year that this was going to be a really good defensive team. We feel like our coverage in the outfield is as good as anybody's in the country, and Kenny showed that off in center field that he went and got at the wall in right center. We got off to a slow start this year with our infield defense, but we've progressed and gotten better and better as the year has gone on, and I think we're fielding right now right around .980 in ACC play, and we showed that off today. And the stabilizing factor for us and our infield defense has been Max Miller and the job he's done. He's fielding close to .980 playing middle infield in ACC play. Really three tremendous plays tonight. The two diving plays but also the play to hold the bag on the ball that Labosky backhanded to somehow kind of tiptoe around and find the bag with his foot right there was a huge play because they were getting ready to have some momentum. We had just hit Beer and it looked like that ball was going down the line, and then looked like it had a chance to maybe get away from Max, and he corralled it and got the out, and that was a big moment in the ballgame.

Q. The same thing about they had three home runs but they were solos. Your guys both did a good job with runners on base.
CHRIS POLLARD: We really did. We had two guys on the mound for us tonight that are very adept at controlling the running game, and I thought we really limited their opportunities to start runners. We didn't give them a lot of free offense, either. We had the one walk, we had the one HBP, so everything they got they had to earn. We have a saying in our program, solo home runs don't beat you. We're going to pitch to contact, we're not going to shy away from contact, and I thought that was a big part of the ballgame tonight is that Mitch Stallings after giving up the solo home run in the first inning didn't shy away from contact. He kept going at guys, and that's what we do. We're going to try to pitch to guys with nobody on base, and if they hit baseballs they hit them, but we have a philosophy that solo home runs aren't going to beat us.

Q. In that format how vital is it to get that first game and get a victory under your belt?
CHRIS POLLARD: Yeah, for us, it was -- I mean, it was essentially an elimination game. Because of the seeding factor, if we don't win, we're playing for pride on Thursday. And we knew that. We didn't talk about it. We didn't feel like we had to talk about it. We got smart kids. They're a lot smarter than I am, so they know the bracket. We knew we just needed to go out and play, and I think sometimes when you dwell on things like that and you talk about a game being a must have, guys put pressure on themselves. Our focus coming out of the exam break has been to play loose, as Jimmy mentioned, and not play with feeling a lot of pressure or feeling tight, and I thought our guys did a good job with that tonight. Even early, even when we got down, there was no press, and knowing that it was an elimination game, and part of that -- I'll tell you, when you've got two guys on the mound that competed as good as Stallings and Hendrix did, that helps the team relax, and that helps a team play better defense because they know how good that guy on the mound is competing for them.

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