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May 25, 2017

Mike Gambino

Jake Palomaki

Louisville, Kentucky

North Carolina - 10, Boston College - 0

MIKE GAMBINO: Well, that wasn't really how we drew that one up, but Metz and Rapp have been so good for us all year. We don't have a chance to play in this tournament if it's not for what those two guys have done for us all year.

I also just want to say quickly, Kris Pierce and her staff did an unbelievable job. I thought this was a great experience this whole week, especially considering eight months ago, whatever it was, we didn't know where this tournament was going to be. The venue was awesome. The grounds crew, I thought the field was amazing. The venue was great. The experience was great. Our boys have had a blast. We didn't love those two results, but just I can't thank the conference enough for putting on such a great event.

Q. Jake, two hits today, you guys faced five pitchers from North Carolina. On the offensive side, how difficult is it to get anything strung together having to face five different pitchers when they're rattling them in for two or three innings and then pulling them out?
JAKE PALOMAKI: Yeah, they have a really good staff. They mix it up pretty well. They're always working ahead, so they come right at us and attack us and make it pretty hard on us to get hits. They're a good staff, and it's a challenge every time we play them.

Q. Certainly not where you guys wanted to finish, three games under .500, but can you give some thoughts on the season?
JAKE PALOMAKI: Yeah, we didn't start how we wanted, but we finished exactly how we wanted to. We went 10-5 in the last 15 in the ACC, and no one ever gave up. This whole ballclub is a bunch of tough guys, and we always go at people hard-nosed and never give up. We're never out of anything, never out of season, never out of the game. We love the challenge, and we love attacking people every day.

Q. This is your third year in the program; just talk about what you've seen of success the last two years and how you've built on that momentum as a program.
JAKE PALOMAKI: Yeah, dating all the way back to Eddie Pellagrini, he always went with the motto, left it better than you found it, so all these seniors have done a great job and really put this program on the map, Johnny Adams, Luke Fernandez, Bobby Skogsbergh, they all have done a great job, so now it's my job to take that role and make it better than I found it when I got here.

Q. How would you assess your season as a whole?
MIKE GAMBINO: Well, you know, Mak touched on it. The start wasn't exactly where we wanted to be. It was -- you know, I can say this now that he's not here, but losing Mak in those, whatever, six to eight weeks is a massive, massive loss, and you see what happens when he comes back into our lineup. You know, we lost Scotty Braren early on. There was a bunch of kind of stuff all happening at the same time, and then you also match up that we went and played four weekends in a row we were playing teams in the top five, and it's a tough mix.

The thing that I'm so proud of this ballclub for is, like Mak said, when you're 1 and 14, a lot of teams just go away. It would have been real easy at that point to kind of pack it in, start talking about next season, and they didn't. And it's a group of guys -- you spend five minutes with them, you'll see how much they love being together. The idea of a brotherhood is an important word and an important term in a Jesuit education, and that's something that these boys really believe in. You know, it really is a family. It really is a brotherhood in there, and that's why these guys fight so hard for each other. They talked about it the whole time, get these seniors a couple more games, let's be with these seniors one more week. And when you're around a group of guys that that's their rallying cry, that's pretty special and it's pretty fun to be around.

Q. First year under the new format, what did you think going through it?
MIKE GAMBINO: I loved the format. It's really complicated. There's so many factors into what you want the conference tournament to be and what you need to accomplish, but you look at our -- talk about any year, our 9, 10, 11, 12th place team in our conference has a chance to -- are going to be tournament teams. Virginia was in seventh place in the conference when they won the national championship a couple years ago, and North Carolina was our 11th place team last year and I think at the end of the year were like a 13 or 14 RPI.

So you know, having 12 teams in the conference tournament I think is critical, and you don't want to devalue the regular season, so you have 12 teams in the tournament, but our top four are greatly rewarded going in to the tournament, like they should. If you're in the top four in the ACC you should be rewarded. Some team want to say that sets up meaningless games. I don't think there is such a thing as a meaningless baseball game, especially when you have teams fighting to be national seeds and regional hosts and bubble teams trying to get in. There's no such thing as a meaningless game. They're all important games.

And then you look at what it does for this weekend. There's three games with major playoff implications on Friday, Saturday and Sunday are going to be a blast here. You know, I know it's the first time through and we're only halfway through, but I think the format so far is setting up to be great. I'm pretty excited about it.

Q. Can you just kind of talk about what Jake was saying about the program and where it started when you got there seven years ago and where it is now?
MIKE GAMBINO: Yeah, you know, those guys that are graduating committed to a vision that we thought, this is a program that we believe could compete at a national level, that we believed could go to Omaha, and hadn't really shown that that was possible, and that's the seniors came here at a time when -- and I mentioned it two days ago, when they were going to be thrown into the fire right away. The seniors that graduated last year, and the boys came in here and they embraced it and they believed and they stayed, they worked together. You know, we were one win away from Omaha last year, you get back to the postseason this year. They showed that they can compete at a national level, and when we talk about going to Omaha and competing for a national championship, when we talk about wanting to now with the new stadium opening up next year and we want to host a regionals, host a postseason, it's something that is a reality and it's going to be the reality.

Now, the result today showed that we're not quite there right now with this ballclub yet, but I believe we will be in the next three to five years. That's so much because of what the senior class has done and what they have invested in this program.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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