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May 24, 2018

Elliott Avent

Patrick Bailey

Josh McClain

Durham, North Carolina

Virginia - 4, NC State - 2

ELLIOTT AVENT: I thought we played good tonight. I just thought we ran into a Virginia team that played very well. I mean, you saw their Florida State game Tuesday. They had so many opportunities to win that game, and you're talking about a team -- somebody told me, I don't know if this is accurate or not, but I've seen them on film a lot this week, and I've said, that's a good ballclub. You saw the pitching from Abbott and Lynch the other night, and then what we saw from Casey and Sousa today.

But I think they have lost like 10 one-run ACC games. That might be some kind of a record. That will drive you to do a lot of things if you're Brian O'Connor. But they've got a heck of a coaching staff, they've got a heck of a team, and tonight they were better.

Q. Patrick, obviously for you, going up and hitting that double and then you also had the home run, for you how comfortable do you feel at the plate, obviously when you have to play a couple pretty crucial games?
PATRICK BAILEY: Yeah, I've been seeing them pretty well here lately. It was nice. The first at-bat, he started a lot of guys off-speed so I was just looking for something up, and he left it up there, and I was able to put a pretty good swing on it. I've been seeing it pretty well.

Q. Josh or Patrick, what has to improve when you look at playing Florida State tomorrow in order to advance to a semifinal?
JOSH McCLAIN: We played them last week. They threw a lot of off-speed. We've got to be ready to hit off-speed tomorrow night. It's going to be a big game. It's like -- like Coach said, it's like the third game of the super regional; you've got to win this game to advance so we've got to figure things out, go off what we did last week and get better and be ready to go tomorrow.

Q. You guys left five runners on base today in a couple key situations with runners in scoring position where you just couldn't get that big hit. What was missing at the plate for you guys today?
JOSH McCLAIN: Like Coach says, good pitching. They had a good staff tonight. Those guys threw their best when they needed to, and it's tough when you're hitting against good pitching. The hits will come. They're here and there. It was good pitching tonight. Tomorrow night might be a different scenario.

Q. Elliott, I wanted to ask you about the tournament format, if you think there's an improvement out there, or are you happy with the way it is, considering that Duke played today, you played today in games that have no impact on whether you advance?
ELLIOTT AVENT: Yeah, I've seen a lot of stuff being said. I don't know. We sit there as coaches, the ACC, all of us, we all try to figure out a scenario, and we've gone back and forth. I mean, the double elimination I've always thought was the best thing because then every game means something. You've got to play to advance. But then you wind up playing six or seven games, five games, whatever. You run your pitching ragged from a year that's already been 56 games. And then you get to the regionals, got them beat up.

We tried a couple different scenarios to possibly not play so many games and use so much pitching, and this one seems kind of interesting to me. I'll be honest with you; I kind of like this so far, and I've seen some people say there's some meaningless games going on. I don't know if I've ever played in a meaningless game in my life. We went out there and tried to win. If you don't try to win at everything you do -- you can't turn a switch on and off. They talk about it as you're going to the playoffs for professional football, and you're going to rest this guy. I've seen Bill Belichick, who might be the top of his profession, and I've seen him play his guys getting ready, and he's gone to a lot of Super Bowls and he's won a couple. I don't think you ever play a meaningless game, and I think right now we may be on to something that works pretty good. It gives the higher seeds an advantage in case you're 1-1 to advance, and if you're a guy like Pitt or a team like Virginia who could lose 10 one-run games this year and they almost had the Florida State game, so had they won that one and won this one, next thing you know, they may be rolling to an ACC championship, and the year they won the national title, they might have been like an 8 seed or something, I can't remember, but I think we may be on to something here. And I don't believe in meaningless games.

Q. Elliott, Reid Johnston ends up going less than three innings. Just wanted to ask if that was planned beforehand or if that was based off the situation.
ELLIOTT AVENT: No, that was actually not planned at all. We actually were hoping to get his pitch count up a little bit. He's been a guy who's pitched a lot of big games for us this year. He just -- he had it in the bullpen. It's the one time this year I've seen where his command just wasn't that good. He gets by with command, kind of like Greg Maddux, and he just didn't have his command today, so we felt like we had to get him out of there to keep the game close.

Q. I wanted to ask you your potential starter for Friday, if you have that planned at this point?
ELLIOTT AVENT: This Friday, tomorrow?

Q. Yeah.
ELLIOTT AVENT: Oh, it's Brian Brown. I can tell you that one.

Q. Do you foresee Johnston potentially being available later in the weekend with having only thrown a couple innings today?
ELLIOTT AVENT: Haven't got there yet. I'll let you know when we get there.

Q. We all remember the days of double elimination and four games a day, but with the new format, did you approach this game any differently knowing in advance that Virginia would not eliminate you and that the game with Florida State meant everything? Would it have been different --
ELLIOTT AVENT: You want an honest answer?

Q. And would it have been different had Virginia won its first game and then you would have been in the same -- in a position of elimination?
ELLIOTT AVENT: It would have been different, yeah. Okay, but we -- it ain't like we didn't come out -- it's nothing like that. They beat us flat out. They just beat us. Did I do some things different? May have tweaked the lineup a little bit because I'm still trying to search some things for next week to see what's our best lineup on the field right now against a righty, what's our best lineup against a lefty. Bringing the infield in in the fourth inning, even though it worked out, not sure I would have done that, although I realized Casey may keep us from scoring a lot of runs today, so I may have done it. But yeah, I probably did a couple things differently, trying to figure out some stuff had this been an elimination game, but not with coming out to play. Not with the starter we used. Maybe with the bullpen we used possibly, but no. I did a couple things different.

Q. Elliott, just your thoughts on Florida State again; with a chance to go to the semis, and you're getting that one step closer to the championship?
ELLIOTT AVENT: Yeah, I don't know why you want that box to match so quick the last weekend. It's really funny, you go out and you play Florida State two tough games where they have walk-offs and a dog pile at home plate, that's tough to watch. And then you go out Saturday with high humidity, high heat, which we hadn't seen all year, and I thought our guys may have played their best game of the year, and you've got to face their guy. He's really, really good. We saw him last week, and we had a lot of trouble with him. So we're going to have to be at our best tomorrow night. But I think what you've seen in our guys, if they come out, they give you not only a competitive effort, they give you a smart effort every time. We'll be here. I don't know what the outcome will be, but we'll be here, and I hope it's a fourth great game like the other three games were in Tallahassee.

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