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May 24, 2018

Tom Walter

Griffin Roberts

Durham, North Carolina

Duke - 6, Wake Forest - 2

TOM WALTER: Obviously disappointed in the way the season ended, going 0-2 in the tournament. Certainly not our plan. But obviously happy with the way the guys competed today. Griff obviously threw the ball really well. Rayne Supple right behind him threw the ball really well. So two great outings, gave us a chance to win. We just didn't get it done offensively. We had chances in the first five innings off of Day, the lead-off hitter on four of the first five innings, and just couldn't really push anything across.

We'll build on it and come back a better club next year.

Q. Griff, it looked like once Matt came out to get you, you had a moment with all the infielders and then came off the field. Just take me through what you're feeling and the emotions there.
GRIFFIN ROBERTS: Yeah, just kind of taking a moment to appreciate all the hard work all those guys put in working behind me every week. Those are your brothers. I've been here with them for the last eight months, so you grow relationships with those guys, and that's who you fall on. Might be my last one with them, so you get emotional. I'm going to miss them, all of them, each and every one of them. Tough goodbye.

Q. Griff, it looked like you were throwing a lot of changeups again today. Was that the case? I know that was the case last week.
GRIFFIN ROBERTS: Yeah, I think I made something like five or six. Not really as heavy as it has been in the past few weeks. Lots of fastballs today. I didn't throw an off-speed pitch until the third inning, the last batter in the third inning, so that's a little bit atypical of me. Usually I rely on the off-speed and then kind of the fastball, but today was fastball heavy and then off-speed later in the game.

Q. We spoke last week, Griff, about if you were going to come out of the game, it had to be Coach Walter come out to get you, but that wasn't the case today, it was Matt. Why the difference today?
GRIFFIN ROBERTS: Yeah, so obviously you know we're not advancing after this game, and I was at a low pitch count; I was at 80-some pitches and could have kept going, but for me, as far as a perfect game, no hitters, I think for me more important was just giving Rayne the opportunity to pitch. As a teammate and as a friend, he deserves the opportunity after all the work he's put in to pitch in front of the crowd that was here, and I wanted to make sure that he got that chance, and he did, and did well with it.

Q. Tom, what is your feeling about this tournament format? This is the second year you guys have used it. Is there a negative, positive, what you like or don't like about it?
TOM WALTER: I think there's probably a consensus among the coaches that we won't stick with it. I don't think anybody is in favor of it quite honestly. The problem is there's no perfect format really. I'm not sure what the answer is. None of the coaches, especially the coaches that are secure in their postseason fate or they know they're going to be in the tournament, they don't want to get into a tournament where they play five or six games. So that happy medium between being able to play three or four games and having a format like this where there's a lot of meaningless games like today, I don't know what the answer is, but I think in general, I'm guessing we're going to vote something else in this coming fall.

Q. What direction do you think you'll go?
TOM WALTER: I assume we'll go back to some sort of pool play that will be just a little different, I imagine. I don't think we'll get away from pool play, but that's just a guess. I'm not sure what'll happen.

Q. What was the mindset coming into today's game? It seemed watching you and the guys prior to the first pitch, y'all seemed like a loose bunch.
TOM WALTER: Yeah, we were. You know, and any time Griff is on the mound, we feel like we're going to win, so we certainly wanted to compete for him. He's gone out there and battled each week for us on Friday and given us a chance to win every single Friday. There wasn't a single game this year where Griff didn't leave the game and we had a chance to win, and today was no exception. So certainly we're not going to lay down when we've got this guy on the mound.

Q. Griff, how would you characterize this season as a whole and as a team?
GRIFFIN ROBERTS: Yeah, I mean, it's disappointing. One through 30 or whatever our roster ended up being, it's disappointing. Ups and downs, with seniors, you know, being friends with them, being teammates with them, it's up and down for everybody. To not have your team there at the beginning and kind of get it towards the end is tough. That's not how you wanted it to -- not how you paint the picture at the beginning of the season. That's not really how we wanted it to work out, but it is what it is.

I still had a fun time. The reality of it is it's still a game, and it's supposed to be fun. I think today was an embodiment of that. Everybody was having fun. Everybody knew that the game didn't mean anything, but it was probably one of the funner games we've had this year.

Q. Obviously a great kind of final performance here for Griffin and Rayne. When you look at the way that their season has unfolded, Griffin getting the chance to start finally and Rayne taking that huge jump forward as a junior, what do you kind of attribute their success to, and how do you kind of overall evaluate their development this year?
TOM WALTER: Well, it's their hard work, first and foremost. Griffin, nobody works harder than he does between starts. I mean, every week, regardless of how his outing went or how many pitches he threw, he gets his side work in, he gets his lifting in. He doesn't miss any of those days, and he's just dedicated to it. And again, he's a competitor and a gamer. Off the field, it's really good, and then on the field, he wants the ball, and he's a guy he's not afraid to make big pitches in big situations, and if it doesn't go well, he just keeps coming.

And then with Rayne, same thing. I think the closer role was good for Rayne, gave him a chance. I think that outing against Carolina was good where he got a chance to throw seven innings and hold his velocity through there. Griff is going to be a top-30 pick here coming up soon, and Rayne I imagine is going to be a fourth- or fifth-rounder. To have those two guys on your staff in the front and the back is pretty good.

Q. Coach, what led to Christian Long getting the start in left field, and your thoughts on the play that set the game into extra innings?
TOM WALTER: Yeah, Christian has been swinging the bat pretty well. I was on the fence whether to play him yesterday, decided to go with Shane Muntz yesterday, and Shane's at-bats weren't great, so gave Christian the opportunity today. We're a better defensive club with him in left and Chris Lanzilli DH'ing, so that was another factor, as well. When you've got your guy on the mound, you want to have your best defensive club out there.

And it was a heck of a throw. It was a great throw in that situation, and it gave us a chance. We had a chance to walk them off, but give their pitching credit. That's why Duke is really good. Their bullpen is really good. It's hard to score off of any one of their bullpen guys.

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