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May 26, 2017

David Lynch

Brian O'Connor

Louisville, Kentucky

Virginia - 10, Clemson - 2

BRIAN O'CONNOR: I'll be brief and to say extremely proud of our guys, and the response that we had today. I know the players, and certainly the coaching staff was disappointed in the outcome yesterday. I was very honest in the press conference about how we felt, and I've never been more proud of a team in how we responded.

So I'm a big believer that every game counts. I think we can gain a lot of momentum from this ballgame and this team all year long has responded after difficult losses. Today was no different and certainly the first inning had a lot to do with that, and then I felt like Daniel Lynch was terrific today. He was in complete control, mixing his pitches and just really, really proud of him. He rose up this team. Collectively as an entire group, we were absolutely engaged from the first pitch, and certainly the results showed that.

Q. Ernie, how did you kind of take that message yesterday and apply that?
ERNIE CLEMENT: Yeah, from that first pitch, it was a different energy in the dugout. I could just feel it going up to the plate, and you know, we gave up that run in the first inning and we knew we had to punch back. It started with me getting on base and I definitely did that a little bit more today than yesterday.

Q. Even in the eighth inning, you tag up on a ball hit to pretty shallow right field. Seems like the opposite approach there, taking that and coming home in that situation. What was the kind of aggressive mind-set in that situation? Does that help prove the message of today in responding from yesterday?
ERNIE CLEMENT: Definitely. It was just a different mentality that we had today. We came out with the fire that we had all year and we just got back to playing Virginia baseball, which is good.

Q. Daniel, could you talk about your motivation coming into the game, the confidence level, and what you felt this performance meant for the team going forward?
DANIEL LYNCH: Coming into the game, I just kind of felt like now that we're in the post-season, everything that happened before kind of resets. We had a pitcher's meeting and talked about that; that all your numbers reset. Everybody is 0-0. So I just tried to go in like it was the beginning of the season with the same confidence and the mentality. I've been struggling a little bit as of late, and I try to just erase that and go in like it's a new season.

It was really important for us to get the win and know we weren't going to fold. Having guys like Ernie come out with that kind of energy in the first inning, gives you a lot of confidence for rest of the game.

Q. What about in your previous performance against Clemson?
DANIEL LYNCH: Honestly it was so long ago and I haven't been having results like that recently. I obviously remember it and remembered what I did well in that game. But I just tried to go and do what we needed to do for the team and exactly what Coach asked me to do.

Q. Along the same lines, Pat Krall -- you faced them over two months ago and they had success against you and obviously it's a different story today. What was different --
ERNIE CLEMENT: Yeah, we jumped out and were aggressive early. I think that was huge. We didn't take many strikes early on in the game. I think we just were able to jump on a bunch of fastballs and really come out of the gate hot.

Q. Last night your coach talked about the approach at the plate --
ERNIE CLEMENT: Just have definition. Have a definition in your plan when you go up there. Don't Chase balls out of the zone I guess -- paid off.

Q. Tag up on something that shallow -- earn Ernie saw it going back -- would be a tough play if I was out there. It would be a tough throw to me?
Q. Talk about the motivation to go into the post-season and how important was it to win this game today. You're going home anyway, but to have some positive feelings --
DANIEL LYNCH: I think it's extremely important, just like from a team standpoint. But on a personal level it's me reminding myself that I can do it. I never really lost confidence and thought that I couldn't do it but there haven't been great results recently. It's just nice to have a reminder to know that I can go out there and do it. It's just a lot about finding consistency now.

Q. You're kind of in a unique situation, because you were obviously involved in yesterday's game, and knowing that there's a message for you guys to play with a different approach, as the pitcher, what was your sense about that -- improving off yesterday's performance?
DANIEL LYNCH: I think just going in and attacking. I think the message was that we needed to attack at the plate or know what we needed to do, and I thought when I got behind in counts, I knew what I needed to do. I didn't give up on the plan. I sort of just took away what we learned yesterday at the plate and tried to apply it.

Q. How much did you guys -- not just you personally but how would you guys pay attention to all of the NCAA stuff and whether you'll be hosting and all that stuff. You guy didn't pay much attention to that.
ERNIE CLEMENT: Obviously we're taking it one game at a time. But we know the implications of winning each and every game. We weren't going to come out and play the game as if nothing mattered. We knew we had -- hopefully that helps in the decision.

Q. What do you expect Sunday and Monday?
ERNIE CLEMENT: It would be great to host. It would be nice to sleep in my own bed.

Q. We had a debate on who your No. 1 starter was. How about Daniel's performance today and the fact that going forward, you have more confidence in him?
BRIAN O'CONNOR: Daniel Lynch was terrific today. You know, he says that he hasn't pitched very well as of late. You know, a lot of those games he's given us a chance to win. He's kept the game in check. It has not gotten out of hand. I think he's getting better. You know, from this point forward, who we pitch has everything to do with matchups. You know, who you're playing, the type of offensive style of the ballclub you're playing. I'm not concerned about who our No. 1 is. From this point forward, we've always matched up from a pitching standpoint that we feel gives us the best chance to win. So I thought Derek threw the ball really well yesterday, and so did Daniel. Certainly that gives us a lot of confidence moving forward. I'm just proud of him.

Q. What about Haseley?
BRIAN O'CONNOR: I'll continue to look at those situations. You know, I don't anticipate Murdock's going to pitch for us next weekend -- or I don't know whether it will be the rest of the year. We'll see. I'm not ready to make a final statement on that yet. But hopefully will be soon.

And then Haseley feels good. He's throwing the ball well in the outfield. So certainly he could play into it. We'll see how this week goes.

Q. What are you debating? What are the issues?
BRIAN O'CONNOR: Of Adam Haseley?

Q. Pitching or not pitching.
BRIAN O'CONNOR: I had made the statement, what, two weeks ago that he had a bone bruise, which is nothing significant, other than, you know, the kid's got a really, really long future in this game, and my responsibility is to first and foremost protect his future.

He's been a very, very unselfish player his entire time in our uniform. He's lined up and he's towed the rubber every time we've asked him. It goes more based on how Adam feels, and so we'll see this week how it looks.

Q. You've got to feel much better after today.
BRIAN O'CONNOR: I feel great. I do. I mean, I know what it's going to take for us to win a regional, and you know, what we saw yesterday and today from a pitching standpoint, I feel really good moving forward into this next weekend.

Obviously we've got a very special offensive club, and that's going to have to play a big factor in it, as well.

Q. Obviously that's the kind of message you want delivered to your team --

Q. But that play that Ernie -- the game is decided -- he still takes that chance there. Is that when you talk about, you went away from Virginia baseball? Is that more along the lines of what you're talking about?
BRIAN O'CONNOR: Let me say this about yesterday. We're not perfect, okay. This is the game of baseball, and some days, it's just not your day. And yesterday we lost a baseball game, and a 4-3 game is a baseball game. That said, I'm very emphatic and I still am about what our approach was.

You mentioned the ball where he tagged up. I look at the plays Ernie Clement made. I look at the plays that we made on the infield. I look at the job that Caleb Knight did. I look at our hitters, how they battled with two strikes. I look at the 0-0 count swings that we had were way more aggressive today than they were yesterday.

So those are the things that if you want to play championship baseball at this time of the year at this level of college baseball, you have to do. Our engagement on those things were much better, were as good as it could be today and they weren't there yesterday. I accept full responsibility. It's my job to make sure that those players are engaged every day, and we certainly weren't yesterday.

Q. You didn't want that to happen. Is that good timing that you get that message right the week before a regional begins?
BRIAN O'CONNOR: I tell you what, I'd much rather have it yesterday than next weekend. Yeah, you know, hey, they are 18 to 22 years old. There's lessons that they can learn all the time. Yesterday we learned a hard lesson and it cost us a chance to compete for an ACC Championship. That said, you always have a second chance in this game, and that's why I started this off, saying that I'm as proud as I've of been as a team that we didn't go out there today and just lay down. We responded and we showed what we're made of, and that gives us a chance moving forward.

Q. What was different -- very accomplished pitcher whatever role he's been in. What did you like about the approach tonight?
BRIAN O'CONNOR: He's tough. Krall is a really good pitcher in our league and I was just proud of our guys that we were aggressive. We didn't try to do too much. You know, we have a saying that we try to get the inside part of the baseball rather than get around the baseball.

Yesterday we were around the ball a lot. Today we are -- it was a lot more consistent, and that's what you have to do on a guy like Krall. If you're up there trying to yank the ball and hit the ball out of the ballpark, he's going to have a day with you. I was just really proud of our guys and that's how we took it.

Q. Your knowledge of the NCAA selections being what it is, do you think that this got you over the hump as far as hosting?
BRIAN O'CONNOR: Well, you know, I don't know. Certainly we've been hosts for many, many years. I believe this team is certainly worthy. If the fourth place team in the Atlantic Coast Conference is not worthy of a host site with 42 wins, I'm not sure what is. So certainly we'll take whatever --

Q. Kind of an emphatic point, your performance today.
BRIAN O'CONNOR: Yeah, I think so. But I would have hoped that it wouldn't come down to this. I would hope that our body of work, especially what we have done as of late over the last month and a half, two months, speaks for itself.

And so we'll see. Sometimes when you don't host, it's a blessing. Sometimes when you go on the road -- listen, we made the College World Series four times since 2009. Two times it's been coming out of home and hosting regionals, two times it's been on the road. Our guys will be excited either way but I think our resumé is pretty darned good.

Q. Ten batters, nine hits -- three-run homer. What was it like --
BRIAN O'CONNOR: No, I don't want to -- it's them. Certainly our job as coaches is to get them back online and thinking about the right things and have the right approach. Certainly I was excited about how aggressive we were and how opportunistic we were. You know, that word really kind of sums up that first inning that, you know, we just weren't satisfied with two or three or four runs. We continued to have a good approach at the plate and we were rewarded for it.

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