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May 23, 2018

Mik Aoki

Durham, North Carolina

Clemson - 21, Notre Dame - 4

MIK AOKI: I'm not sure what the opening statement would be there. I'm not sure that I've ever seen anything like that one inning.

You know, I think to me, and I'll go back and talk to our club at the end of the day, even in something as difficult as that, I think that there are good lessons for our kids. And so we'll try to impart those lessons and then move on.

I don't know if we ended up on the bad end of like some sort of an NCAA record for runs in an inning or something like that, but you know, I think that I'm not going to let that sort of color a year in which I think we had some really positive moments, so we'll just kind of move on and try to focus on the positive.

Q. You knew that Clemson had the firepower to come back up 3-0, but not something like that. Just what were you telling your team after you were up 3-0 there early?
MIK AOKI: Not a lot. I mean, I think the thing -- for us I feel like the thing that you have to do against Clemson is you have to pitch ahead, because they take -- they are really good in plus counts, in hitter's counts. Just about -- outside of a couple of balls that sort of fell in in two-strike counts, every one of those pitches with the exception of probably Davidson's grand slam, they were in a plus count, and they get the barrel out there and they get it out there and they're looking to do some damage with it, because I think one of the things that jumps off the page for me with that club is how many runs that they've scored, their slugging percentage, but if you look at their batting average, their batting average is like relatively pedestrian.

So when they get their opportunity and when you get behind in the count as a pitcher, they typically make you really pay for it, and they did.

Q. You kind of alluded to the fact that there have been some really good moments over the course of this season, and of course started out with such promise that first week back at LSU. It seemed like you kind of knew there were going to be some growing pains with this young team. When you look back at the course of the season, how do you kind of put it all in perspective, and are you satisfied with the growth that you saw from those young players?
MIK AOKI: Yes and no. I mean, I think it's like -- there are times where I think we took like really, really positive steps forward and then sadly we would like kind of take a couple steps back. I think if you look at the overall trajectory of the season, I think those younger pitchers -- and that's where we were youngest. We were youngest on the mound, and that's a bad place to be young, and so outside of Scott Tully, we're throwing freshmen and sophomores and sophomores that didn't see a whole lot of game action last year out there.

We had a crew of guys that went off into pro ball and had pitched a significant amount of innings for us over the last three years.

I think that there was some real growth here and there, in spite of how it ended up for Cam Brown, I think Cam Brown pitched well down the stretch. In spite of last night, I think Andrew Belcik threw the ball well throughout the course of the year. Cole Kmet threw the ball well. There were guys that I thought made really substantial moves forward. And so I think the message from me to them is like, look, reflect on the season. You're going off into summer ball for most of them; take some of the lessons that you've gleaned from both the good and the bad and probably more the bad than the good, and try to get better.

And I think they will. I mean, I think that over our time here at Notre Dame and BC before that, I think that sometimes it takes our kids a little bit longer perhaps. We're not getting like the perfect game top-50 players all the time. But I think that we have a pretty decent trajectory of being able to develop kids, and these guys will get better.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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