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May 25, 2017

Mik Aoki

Michael Hearne

Louisville, Kentucky

Louisville - 10, Notre Dame - 3.

MIK AOKI: Obviously sort of a difficult loss, especially the way that can kind of got away from us near the end there. I thought through the middle innings, the one -- the McKay grand slam, we had a play to get out of that inning and we weren't able to make it unfortunately, and then McKay puts a good swing on the ball. You know, I felt like we were getting a little momentum going back into it, having pretty good at-bats against them, and then obviously we just kind of -- things snowballed a little bit at the end there.

But I can't say enough about Mike sitting next to me. He has been just exactly what we want out of a Notre Dame student-athlete for the last five years now. Great leader, great kid. We're going to miss him dearly. So that's what I've got.

Q. Just talk about kind (indiscernible)?
MICHAEL HEARNE: Yeah. I mean, unfortunately that's -- sometimes that's how the game goes. Give up one bad pitch, and unfortunately it gave them four runs. But yeah, we got back into it, played our deal one pitch at a time, and started to scrape our way back into it.

Q. Can you talk a little bit about your journey back from Tommy John?
MICHAEL HEARNE: Yeah, I guess -- I don't know, I guess the toughest part is mentally, just showing up every day, especially when you're not throwing, convincing yourself that all that tubing work and all that rehab that you're doing is somehow going to build up and allow you to throw a baseball again. So that first, I don't know, six, nine months was the absolute toughest of my career, I think.

Q. Talk about McKay's play.
MIK AOKI: Well, Drew, I think, has been terrific all year long. We played Louisville, what, about a month ago, three weeks ago, whatever it was, so you see a lot of tape on them, right, and you see a lot of video. I mean, he handles all kinds of different guys really well. He squared up the kid McDonald in that last inning. He handled guys like Mike and Brian Brown at NC State, he handles guys that are a little bit harder throwers with sliders. I mean, I think that I've seen him a lot, for whatever the reason is, it seemed like whenever I was scouting somebody else, they were always playing Louisville it seemed like, and so I've gotten a chance to see him, and he's been good all year long. I mean, I don't know what he ended up the year at, whatever it was, .370 or .360 or whatever he's doing, it's pretty remarkable to be able to do that in this conference with the type of pitching that there is.

Q. (Indiscernible)?
MIK AOKI: Well, I think between Mike and Solomon -- I mean, that's a good arm. Solomon is as talented an arm as there is out there, and I think mike kind of settled into it. Like I said, I felt like we had a couple of opportunities to get out of that inning that we give up the grand slam in, and so Drew puts a good swing on the ball, and in a lot of ways you feel like you should have been just down 1-0. Mike gets us through, whatever it was, five and a third, and then Peter comes in and gives us a solid three innings' worth of work or whatever it was that he did, but Pete had kind of gotten to the maximum of what we've used him in the last 10 weeks of the season, and you don't want to extend him beyond something that -- outside of the fact that you want to win the game and outside of the fact that you want to beat Louisville and you want to be able to go out and finish your season on a win, you certainly don't want to put a kid with that type of future in harm's way, you know.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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