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May 25, 2017

Tom Walter

Keegan Maronpot

Gavin Sheets

Louisville, Kentucky

Wake Forest - 5, Georgia Tech - 4

TOM WALTER: Yeah, that was a good win for us. We were just talking actually yesterday and today about how we haven't had one of those wins where we've kind of come from behind in the last inning. We've had a couple that have gone the other way, but we haven't had one of those where we were down two or three runs in the last inning and found a way to win. It was good to get one of those, and good to string really quality at-bats together up and down the lineup. That last inning, Stuart singles, Gavin obviously homers, Ben Breazeale gets down 0-2, singles up the middle, John Aiello advances him to second, and then Bruce Steel hits a ball right on the screws to short, and then obviously Keegan Maronpot on my left was the hero today, two outs and 2-1 count, triples over the right fielder's head. We just talked about outside about he did a great job getting out of the box and getting to third base, and I thought that was a big play in the game because it prevented their guy from using his off-speed pitches. He had been throwing most of the backstop, and it got Logan Harvey a fastball after that, something to hang on that he could hit hard, and it was a tough chance for their second baseman, and obviously Colin Peluse threw a scoreless ninth and found a way to get us the win. Really proud of the guys. They competed and found a way to get it done.

Q. Gavin, talk a little bit about the approach you had there at the top of the ninth after your teammate gets a base hit. Was there a particular pitch you were looking for?
GAVIN SHEETS: Early in the count I was looking for off-speed because he had a good curveball and that's kind of the way he tried to get me out the first at-bat against him. I was just trying to stay back a little, but I thought the first at-bat against him I was a little tick out in front, just trying to stay behind the ball, and it was good to get Stewie on base and to start the rally a little bit and put a good swing on the ball that was in the zone.

Q. Gavin, what did Xzavion have working early in the game?
GAVIN SHEETS: He did a really good job of spotting up his fastball. We knew that he likes to throw the fastball. He did a great job of commanding the outside and then using the backstop a couple times, but he did a really good job of commanding that outside part of the plate and flipping the slider to keep the guys off balance enough to be effective with the fastball.

Q. Keegan, I know this game really didn't mean much as far as the tournament goes, but how big is it to get a win, especially in the manner you guys got it?
KEEGAN MARONPOT: I think it's huge for momentum wise going into the game against Miami, and then just confidence wise for the offense to get it going late. You know, show that we can -- we're not rusty or anything. It was a good game to just get loose, get going, and then we showed a lot of fight at the end of the game, which is always nice to see.

Q. The groundball that you scored on, Keegan, what were you seeing? Were you just going on contact?
KEEGAN MARONPOT: Yeah, the two outs I was just going on contact and just praying that it was either through the hole or he was going to take one of the little skip hops or something like that, and that's what happened, so I was just happy we scored.

Q. At what point did you realize that there was an error?
KEEGAN MARONPOT: I was at third, so I could see the play the whole way, so I was just kind of like -- in my head, I was like, come on, miss it, miss it, miss it, and when it happened, I saw it and just made sure that I was touching home.

Q. Keegan, on your hit, did you initially think that you got all of it?
KEEGAN MARONPOT: I kind of -- once I made contact, I kind of just put my head down and started running, so I didn't actually see where it landed or if he missed it. I just kind of heard the dugout kind of explode, and then I just tried to run as fast as I could and get to third.

Q. What was the process like yesterday? What did you guys look at and what did y'all do yesterday? How did you pass the time, and was it frustrating or were you guys kind of chill?
KEEGAN MARONPOT: Yeah, you know, we just tried to stay in the right mindset if we were going to get the game in, we were going to get it in, and we just tried to relax around, make sure we had food, and then later on in the night, when we figured out that it was canceled, we went in the cages and hit and made sure that we stayed loose.

GAVIN SHEETS: Yeah, I think the biggest thing was just to expect to be playing last night. You didn't want to be surprised and them say we were going to have a game tonight. So the biggest thing was just staying in it and being ready to go at any point, and then once we found out it was canceled, it was big to just kind of stay in it, stay locked in and remember why you're here, to win the ACC Championship, and that was big to kind of keep our focus. To get the win today was huge, and off to the one tomorrow.

Q. Gavin, what do you expect out of the Hurricanes tomorrow and what is it going to take for you guys to get a win against them?
GAVIN SHEETS: Well, they're a really good team. They've got some momentum, winning the extra winning game against Georgia Tech, so they're going to come out and they're going to be energetic, and I think Bargfeldt throws the ball really well. We've got our No. 1 guy going in there, so it's going to be an exciting game what you expect for a game that can get you into the semifinal game.

Q. Coach, were you concerned that the bats were never going to get going?
TOM WALTER: No. No. Again, Curry threw the ball really well. Give him credit for that. Like these guys said, he was locating his fastball, he was pitching with velocity, pitching on both sides of the plate. You know, I thought we -- I thought they did a great job of getting him out when they did because I thought we were kind of getting on time finally for him, and then I knew eventually we'd put an inning together, it was just a matter of kind of stringing those quality at-bats together.

Q. I know some people tend to think home runs can be rally killers, but you seemed to think that Sheets's home run there -- did it light a spark under your guys?
TOM WALTER: Yeah, to get us within one because we had got Aiello, Breazeale and Steel coming in behind him I think there's 17, 36 home runs in the next -- so you're one swing away. That home run, they can be rally killers, you're right, if you're down two or three and you need to get two more runners on base to get the tying run. You know, you'd rather see a double in that situation. But when it gets us within one with those guys coming up and you're one swing away, you know, I think it's just a different mentality.

Q. So you threw Colin to finish off the night. Is he still on the board for tomorrow?

Q. What's the thought process there?
TOM WALTER: Well, we talked about it. He hasn't thrown back-to-back all year, and we may need him to do that next weekend, so this is a situation where we can kind of get him some experience doing that, you know, because again, next weekend when it's all on the line in the regionals, we may need him to go Saturday-Sunday, Friday-Saturday, some situation like that, and if he's never done it before, the first time in an NCAA regional might be a lot to ask. I wouldn't be surprised if we saw Colin for a couple hitters tomorrow just so he gets a feel for doing that.

Q. With this weekend, obviously you wouldn't be facing the same team Friday, Saturday and Sunday, but do you still kind of take the same kind of weekend approach with these potentially next three games?
TOM WALTER: Yeah, for sure. I mean, we're going to go -- we're looking at it -- we're hoping it's a three-game series, obviously, because that gets us in the championship Sunday. But we're going to throw our Friday night guy tomorrow in the big game, like Gavin said. He said it perfectly; it's what postseason baseball should be: Two all-conference pitchers locking up with two good relievers coming in behind them. It's going to be a really good baseball game tomorrow. And then we'll have Donnie Sellers go the semifinal game if we're lucky enough to get that far, and if we advance to Sunday, then you'll see Connor Johnstone our Sunday guy.

Q. From a coach perspective, what was yesterday like for you, and when did you finally get the inkling, I guess, that you were not going to play last night?
TOM WALTER: Well, you knew all day there was a chance. You looked at -- it didn't take a rocket scientist to figure out that the weather looked bad. Looking at it, I was doubtful that we would play. I was hoping they'd get two games in and they'd only be one behind. But once they pulled them off the field there in that Notre Dame-Florida State game and then that went extra innings, I think that kind of ruined the chances of getting that second game in.

So I thought the committee did a really great job with the schedule. I thought it was very fair having two games here at Louisville and not forcing anybody to play a double header, which certainly they could have done, and nobody would have had a complaint. So I thought they did a really great job of shuffling things around and making the best of a situation.

Q. However, if you do make the semifinals you lose the day off Friday. Do you chalk that up to being, weather happens?
TOM WALTER: Yeah, and that's something we were counting on truthfully to reset our bullpen, and that's the other reason we threw Peluse today is because we're hoping it's just Dunshee to Roberts tomorrow, we don't use Peluse, and then we have him to close on Saturday if we have the lead, and then we've got Griffin back on Sunday to close if we have the lead there. Our thinking was throw Peluse today and hopefully we get Dunshee right to Roberts tomorrow.

Q. What do you have the team do the rest of the day until they play tomorrow?
TOM WALTER: They'll get something to eat. We've got a couple guys that will go lift. We've got Johnstone and Sellers will go lift, and a couple of our bullpen guys that threw today will probably go get a flush but for the most part relax. This time of year and this format is really good for recharging your batteries. We had such a hectic stretch down the end of the year going to Florida State, played five games headed into Florida State and then on the road there and then the short week with the Tuesday right to the Thursday, we were pretty fatigued in that Pitt series, I thought, so I felt like this format of this tournament gives us a chance to kind of get our legs underneath us and recharge our batteries.

Q. So last night there was no talk that no one from the conference approached you guys about playing a double header today?
TOM WALTER: Well, it was kicked around early. Kris mentioned it the first time we spoke, which was pretty early in the day. She said that that was a possibility, and I had asked about playing games off-site and she said they were going to try to avoid that but that everything was on the table at that point. Again, I knew anything was possible. I mean, obviously they've got things that we coaches don't consider like television, things like that. Coaches, we don't care about television, we care about our clubs, but at the same time, the conference has to make decisions based on what's best for TV and fans, and we get that. You know, something we were prepared to play a double header if we needed to, but I'm glad they found a way that we didn't have to.

Q. Was there any talk ever about maybe not playing if the weather had continued? Was there talk about not playing some of the games that don't factor in?
TOM WALTER: No, I don't think so. I think that in any tournament format, the No. 1 rule is play the games in order, know what I mean, if you have to shorten it at the end then you do that, but it would be a disadvantage to Miami, probably Miami would feel like it was a disadvantage if we didn't play today, if we didn't have to use some of our arms today and have an entire staff fresh for that game.

You know, again, I think tournaments, to keep the integrity of the tournament, you play all the games in order, and then if rain pushes all the way through the weekend you figure it out.

Q. A game like this, regardless of the outcome, what's the benefit of playing a game like this where you know that even if you lose you still have the game against the Canes tomorrow for the semifinals?
TOM WALTER: Well, getting at-bats for our guys. No. 1, we stayed healthy today. That's always -- this time of year headed into the NCAA tournament you want your teams to be healthy, so nothing flukey happened, which is a good thing. Just getting at-bats so our guys are sharp headed into the tournament, getting our arms work so they're sharp headed into the tournament. Last thing you want to do -- that's one of the reasons we wanted to get rid of the play-in game. The play-in game last year, two teams that made the NCAA tournament went home on Tuesday and then didn't play again for 10 days, the following Friday, and that's a long time to sit, for your hitters to sit not having seen live pitching, and your pitchers not throwing in situations that matter where they're amped up and they've got adrenaline going. This format is kind of, again, it's not a perfect format, but I think it was a good compromise for what we're trying to accomplish, and that's to get teams ready to play next weekend.

Q. How much does it help to see your team get going in the ninth inning as you go into tomorrow?
TOM WALTER: Well, it's huge. If you're going to advance in postseason play you're going to have to win a game like this. There hasn't been an NCAA champion I guarantee that hasn't won a game like that somewhere along the way, like a Coastal Carolina last year, they were down to NC State down to their last strike against NC State, come back to win that game, they win at LSU, the rest is history. You can go back in time and I guarantee every national championship there was a game somewhere in there that they won that they maybe shouldn't have won. This gives us confidence headed into the postseason that we can do that, and we hadn't done it yet.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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