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May 25, 2017

Brian O'Connor

Derek Casey

Ernie Clement

Louisville, Kentucky

Duke - 4, Virginia - 3

BRIAN O'CONNOR: Quite frankly we didn't play good defense. We walked a few too many guys, and we didn't execute. You know, for whatever reason, I accept responsibility for it. I thought the way we played very, very soft. That said, that doesn't take anything away from Duke. I think their starting pitcher did a tremendous job. They got some big clutch hits, especially in the ending where they scored three runs, but we're consumed right now with the way that we play the game, and I'm very, very disappointed, not in the loss, but the way that we played the baseball game, and that is not Virginia baseball, and those players know it, and we've got to make an adjustment moving forward.

Q. Ernie, this was obviously a game where there was title contention type of things riding on it. You guys advance to the semifinals -- you can treat it almost like kind of a regional type of game. What things did you see that you guys were short on? This was also a game that had a lot of pitching and defense for the keys, and that's something that's going to be important next week.
ERNIE CLEMENT: I think for as big of a game as it was, we didn't have enough energy, it's as plain and simple as that. If we come out and play with the fire that we usually do, things might go differently.

But I mean, we obviously didn't, so next time around we're going to have to make some adjustments.

Q. Ernie, you had plays at shortstop and second, so I guess you could have gone either place. Describe that ball.
ERNIE CLEMENT: Usually Andy picks me up on that. I know I threw it away a little bit. We're aggressive in that style, and we're going to try to turn the double play there.

Q. Derek, the first couple innings a lot of pitches they had one run and started to get into a groove. What was going well for you in that point, and then in the sixth inning the pitch count was in the 80s. Did you feel tired at all, or what do you think was an issue there in the sixth?
DEREK CASEY: I wasn't really getting tired yet. I knew going through the first couple innings that if I didn't start hitting my spots that my pitch count was going to go through the roof and I would take myself out of the game earlier, so I just tried to buckle down and hit my spots.

Q. Derek, going forward, pitching in the first spot here this weekend, do you feel any more comfortable with the load you're taking on?
DEREK CASEY: Yeah. I mean, coach told me I was pitching, and I said okay. I mean, I wasn't nervous for it. I felt like I was ready. I felt like I was prepared, and the first couple innings were rough and then obviously that last one I gave up a couple hits and a walk and whatnot, but I feel like I'm prepared.

Q. Does a game like this, do you think it will help you going forward?
DEREK CASEY: Yeah, you can obviously always learn from games like this and try not to make the same mistakes again, so yeah, I think it will.

Q. Ernie, despite everything else that happened, you guys in the eighth and ninth inning you guys get the lead-off man on with a walk. You guys have shown the tendency throughout this year in the later innings to come back. Those are kind of ideal situations. Felt good each time that happened? Did you feel like that was opportunities for you guys to come through and then describe not being able to get that done.
ERNIE CLEMENT: Yeah, I mean, it seems like all year we've gotten the job done in that situation. You know, when you've got a guy in scoring position in those late innings, down by one, you're just waiting for somebody to come up with that big hit, and I guess it just didn't happen.

Q. Brian, what's your strategy going forward tomorrow?
BRIAN O'CONNOR: Oh, I mean, we'll do everything we can to win the game tomorrow. And I am sure Clemson will, too. They've got a great ballclub. What I am going to have our team concerned with tomorrow is playing the game the right way. You know, we can't have swings at the plate with no strikes on us that look like they're two-strike swings. We had way too many of those today, and it's unacceptable. Part of it's a credit to Duke and the nice job that they did on the mound. Part of it is the lack of a good plan in the batter's box. We just need to go out and compete a little bit better, and we may not win, but we need to go out and our approach needs to be a little bit better tomorrow.

Q. Did those things you're talking about at the plate, did you see those in those eighth and ninth innings when you had those opportunities?
BRIAN O'CONNOR: Yeah, I saw them throughout the whole game, and again, I think Day is a very, very good pitcher. You look at his statistics, he doesn't give up very many extra base hits, and you know, he changes speeds really, really well. He locates the ball, and he did a terrific job. That said, I felt like we could have done better. I don't know if that would have led to any more hits or any more runs. I just think it's an approach thing that we've got to be better at.

Q. To anyone who doesn't see a lot of ACC baseball, how would you describe how good this league is?
BRIAN O'CONNOR: Well, I think if you look at last year and the fact that there were 10 teams in this league that were in the NCAA Tournament speaks a lot, and you know, it's just got really, really good depth. There's a lot of great players and great pitchers in the league. You know, I mean, Duke, we've played four games this year. They've won two, we've won two, and so they've got -- they're the 9 seed in this tournament, and they've got a very, very dangerous ballclub. They've got some really good athletes, position player-wise, they make the plays, and they've got a number of different options out of their bullpen, right-handed and left-handed, and so it's a fantastic league, and you're going to see that showcased for the remainder of the week.

Q. The situation there with Casey in the sixth, obviously that's the spot to put in Bettinger; anything more credit toward them or him in that situation? Obviously a tough spot. He only allowed the three runs out of it; what did you see in that --
BRIAN O'CONNOR: Well, I thought Miller had a really nice approach against him when I brought him in with bases loaded. Derek Casey was at 93 pitches. You know, he was starting on a day short rest of a week, which happens when you turn around for a tournament. I thought Derek did a terrific job, but Alec Bettinger is 8-0 on the year. He's been our guy. He's done the job for us all year long. I figured it was time to call on him to go out there and give us a couple innings, and to their credit, Miller did a great job, and then they battled with two outs and got another clutch hit that we just couldn't put them away that inning.

Q. Brian, I think you won six series this year when you lost the first game. Talk about the sense of urgency today; was it there today?
BRIAN O'CONNOR: I mean, through my eyes, you know, I didn't see it in that -- for whatever reason, I accept the responsibility for it. I'm the leader of the program and I've got to get our team ready to play, and I thought we were ready to play, there were just some situations that we didn't do -- we didn't execute that we normally do, and so, again, a little bit of that certainly to Duke's credit, and they did a terrific job. It's one game. I don't want to make too much out of it. It's a big game, though. Obviously there are implications. You don't have a chance to win the championship now, and that's how important it is. But Duke earned it, and they have the right to go to the semifinals, and we play tomorrow.

Q. Personnel-wise, do you do anything differently because you're not --
BRIAN O'CONNOR: Not much. You know, I mean, I'll look at our pitching tonight and what the right thing to do there is. Certainly we know we've got one more game. We don't play again until next weekend, and so we need to try to certainly win the game, but can you win the game with running guys out there to get them ready and get them sharp for next weekend, because if they don't pitch tomorrow, they won't pitch again until the following weekend, and certainly next weekend is a very, very important weekend for us.

Q. All the things you're talking about, had you seen this at all from this team like prior to today? Like other games?
BRIAN O'CONNOR: Yeah, sure. Absolutely. I mean, nobody is -- you know, nobody is perfect. I'm just being honest and telling you what I see. I'm disappointed because I want to win. I know the players want to win. You're here to win a championship. That's why we come out here. And when we've been here since Saturday and we were here to have a chance to win the championship, and I don't handle losing real well most of the time, and this is honest on how I feel and what I see. Every team goes through this. We've had many games this year that I've felt like our overall approach hasn't been there, but we've been able to out-talent some teams with doing that, where somebody all of a sudden gets a big clutch hit or somebody really steps up on the mound, and we just didn't get that today, and that was because we were playing a really good ballclub.

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