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May 21, 2018

Brian O'Connor

Durham, North Carolina

BRIAN O'CONNOR: We're honored to be in the Tournament. We're in a situation that it's clear that we need to go there and win the tournament to win the NCAA Tournament. We're excited, first and foremost, to be in the field and look forward to playing tomorrow at 3 o'clock and certainly the way pool play type stuff works, we need to win both of our two games to advance on. We are going to take them one at a time and hopefully have an opportunity to continue to play after the pool play. That's it.

Q. Curious how you see Jack Weiller and Evan Sperling working their way into this tournament?
BRIAN O'CONNOR: Yeah, Evan Sperling I don't anticipate being available until a potential Game 3 or Game 4 in the tournament, semifinals or finals. We'll just kind of see how that plays about. Certainly we need to be successful in our first two games to have that as an option probably to see him again.

Jack Weiller, I don't know yet. A lot of that depends on who the other team's starting pitchers are and things like that. You know, if he doesn't start -- who the starter is, certainly he's an option off the bench like he has been.

So we'll just have to see what the matchups look like. Certainly he had a great weekend for us and provided a little bit of a spark for us, so we'll see.

Q. With McCarthy back, how do you view his career, given it could end after this season? Do you view it as successful, incomplete? How would you describe it?
BRIAN O'CONNOR: I think it's very successful. The young man can't do anything about the two injuries he's had. His starting year, he was in the starting lineup right out of the gate and ran into the left field wall and missed the rest of the season, and certainly this year we know what happened with his wrist. It's nothing that Jake can do anything about.

When he's played for us, he's made a huge and serious impact for our ballclub. So I'm thankful that he's here. I'm thankful the way that he's played when he's been able to play and certainly it's unfortunate and everybody feels for Jake because he's such a great kid and serious competitor and I think makes a big difference in our ballclub, but hopefully -- we're glad he's back and hopefully he can make an impact starting tomorrow and in this tournament.

Q. You guys have been using a lot of lefties in your lineup. You mentioned Jack Weiller depending on the matchups. Does it help you having a left-heavy lineup? How do you look at those matchups?
BRIAN O'CONNOR: Oh, I don't know. We're not -- I think our offensive production against lefties, certainly not all of them, but it's been good, as well. So I don't know who they are starting. I haven't heard that. I haven't been on these calls.

We'll see. I don't know that I feel any different whether somebody is pitching a righty or lefty but certainly we have more left-handed hitters in our lineup than most, and so we'll see how it affects it.

Q. How do you make the decision to go with Daniel Lynch in the opener? What are you looking for in terms of matchups that leads you that way, or the way he's been throwing in take us behind the curtain a little bit.
BRIAN O'CONNOR: It didn't have anything to do with matchups because when the decision was made to hold him out of the way for a series, we had no idea who we would play.

Going into the last weekend against Wake Forest, I had a pretty good idea that we would have to win the conference tournament to be playing the following week.

So with him starting on Monday night against Georgia Tech in the last home ACC game, it was either pitch him on Saturday or -- we already knew we were in the tournament or safe him for the opener.

We're in the scenario that we have to win the first two games to advance on to the final four in this tournament. I wanted to make sure that our two guys who have been consistent for us all year, Lynch and Casey, that they have an opportunity to pitch in this tournament and that they have a chance to get to the final four. I think that the way it lines up, they are both going to have that opportunity.

Q. The teams in your pool, you haven't played them in the regular season?

Q. Is there an advantage to both pitching staffs in that these lineups haven't seen them or is that overblown?
BRIAN O'CONNOR: I think you can look at it that way or you can look at it as we haven't played them and each other hasn't figured out how to get each other out. So now it all just basically goes on video and scouting reports.

I don't know that it's an advantage either way, whether you've played somebody or not. Both of our opponents, Florida State and NC State, they are both having tremendous years. There's been separate times where both of them have been ranked in the Top 10 teams in the country, probably the top five in the country.

So no matter who the opponent is, either one of them, I think we're going to need to go out and play great baseball, and the fact that we haven't played them, I don't know that it factors into much at all.

Q. I'm not sure I heard your opening remark clearly. What are you thinking about the NCAAs? Do you feel you have to win this tournament or what is a scenario that you're looking at?
BRIAN O'CONNOR: Well, I believe that we are in a situation that we've got to win the tournament based on where our RPI is and how we -- our league play and our record in the league and whatnot, all those things combined. We're in a scenario -- our players know it -- that we have to go into the ACC Tournament to win it to have a chance to play next week. That's the situation we've put ourselves in this year, and you know, it's a situation that we really haven't been in before in our 14 years here.

It's exciting and it's a new opportunity for us, and we're going to have to play well tomorrow for us to have a chance to advance on.

Q. But it is something you do talk to about the players? You don't shirk from it at all?
BRIAN O'CONNOR: Well, I haven't talked to them about it up until this point. I will today. We didn't do anything as a team -- yesterday as an off-day.

So today, I will address it with the team that we're in a scenario that we need to go down there, and we've got to take them one at a time, but we're in a scenario where we need to win the ACC Tournament to play the following week.

They are bright kids. They know what's going on and they have been through this before. They will take that as a challenge and an opportunity to go out there and hopefully be successful.

Q. Daniel Lynch, what type of pitcher is he, and how do you plan to attack a Florida State lineup that does its best to run up pitcher's pitch count, draw walks, and put the other team in bad positions?
BRIAN O'CONNOR: Well, Daniel Lynch has been in our starting rotation for three years. He's a junior now. He's your classic, 6-5, left-handed pitcher that's got a good arm and has continued to get better and better. He's pitched in a lot of pretty big ballgames for us in his career and has got pretty good stuff.

Certainly we're familiar, although we haven't played Florida State this year, we are familiar with the type of ballclub they have and how competitive they are with two strikes. That's always been a trademark of Coach Martin's team, that they are very, very difficult to strikeout.

Typically your pitchers are going to have that high pitch count, so we're fully aware of that and it looks like to me that Florida State has an excellent lineup that's balanced between power and they have got some speed, and they have got some guys that can steal bases. Certainly they have some veteran cogs in that lineup that have done some really good things in their time at Florida State.

Daniel Lynch or whoever follows him is going to have to be efficient. Florida State has been a team that if you walk them and give them free chances, they are really, really good at executing and making you pay for it. Lynch is certainly going to need to be at the top of his game to come out on top tomorrow.

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