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May 26, 2018

Devin Mann

Dan McDonnell

Durham, North Carolina

Louisville - 5, Pitt - 2

DAN McDONNELL: I mean, I just want to congratulate Pittsburgh. Joe had those guys playing hard, and they believed, and I think it gives every team hope that when you come to this tournament, if you play good baseball, you've got a chance. I think it shows the depth in our league. I keep saying I don't know if we're getting enough respect with our league and how deep it is and the talented players in it, but I think Pitt just showed how deep our league is, so I congratulate them, and obviously our guys.

Nick Bennett gave us another quality start, and this guy sitting next to me is part of our group we're calling offensive. We're trying to be very offensive in this postseason, and this guy is swinging the bat right now, and one of several guys in our lineup to do so.

Q. Devin, again another big game for you here today, but building off yesterday, first of all, how much confidence are you feeling right now at the plate?
DEVIN MANN: I feel good. I feel like I'm seeing the ball really well, having a good idea of approach based and just reading my takes and how they're throwing to me and just expecting what's going to come next.

Q. Could you walk us through the two big at-bats, the first inning triple and the home run later?
DEVIN MANN: The first at-bat, when we played them there, they started me off a lot with first-pitch fastballs, so I was ready for that. Yanked it foul. I knew I'm not going to get another one of those in that position. I'm just sitting outer half, something soft, and he threw me a slider out, and I did what I wanted to, and Yaya I think when Stringer was on base or was hitting and then there was a guy on second, he got three straight sliders. So I was sitting soft, and he threw me a slider for a ball my first at-bat and I thought I had a good take, and I saw it really well, so I was like -- just eliminated the fastball, just thought about a slider and he threw it up right where he wanted it, and I didn't miss it.

Q. Devin, what exactly the last few weeks have been working for you guys that's got you on this run that you're on right now?
DEVIN MANN: Well, I think, like Coach said, it's just us being offensive. As a group, everyone is having a good approach. Everyone is doing their job, and it's about everybody. One day I might not have good day, but there's going to be three or four other guys that are going to be on fire. Stow has been swinging the bat well, Wyatt. Everyone through the lineup has been doing their job really well, and it's been great to see.

And it's the immature hitters that everyone, 1 through 9, was at the beginning of the year and everyone has grown up this entire year, and so now everyone has got the McKay and the Ellis mindset from last year, and that's 1 through 9, and so everyone is mature, everyone is grown up, and it's scary to see that everyone is grown up now and everyone is putting it together.

Q. On that point, I said to somebody, this is like the least familiar Louisville club to me. There's not the names, but you guys have just kept coming, kept coming, and that's easy for me to say, but that's hard to actually execute. From you, you are one of the familiar guys. What's that been like this year maybe during the down moments to try and keep everybody moving forward?
DEVIN MANN: I think it's the best thing that could have happened to this team, honestly. In years past, we've been on teams that have -- guys go out there and guys just do their thing. This year it's been a lot of growing, and everyone has had to grow up a lot. There's been a lot of learning lessons and a lot of hard times, and I think this group has really learned from that.

You know, me especially, I think everyone is -- the learning process has been huge for us, and we're taking it now, and we've learnt from what we're doing, and we're taking every game, and in certain situations we've learnt from those, so we know what's going to happen, and I think it's just been huge for us, and it's only going to be beneficial for us in the postseason.

Q. Coach, Nick Bennett obviously as you alluded to was very good today. Seems like since he's gotten back, it's really kind of made all the pieces click into place for you on the mound. What have you seen out of him this year developmentally as a sophomore?
DAN McDONNELL: Yeah, we went through that stretch in the first part of the season where Nick wasn't starting yet. He wasn't cleared, and so we scuffled a little bit there. We were getting our wins and we were piecing it together, but it just wasn't clean. When he came back and settled into that Saturday role, it was still probably a couple weeks before Bobby Miller settled into that Sunday role, and once those three settled into their spots, as I said yesterday, Adam Wolf, man, 14 out of 15 quality starts. Man, he's been unbelievable. Once those three settled in, even through those tough weekends where maybe we lost two out of three, I just felt like, man, we've got a chance. We've got good starting pitching.

The thing about Nick Bennett, he's a competitor. I heard Mike Martin talk last night in his press conference, and he was describing their pitcher from last night, and I just kept thinking of Nick Bennett. I just kept thinking, this is a guy last year when we wanted to give McKay a week's rest because of a little muscle in his side, we just didn't want to risk it, I just remember we said, Nick, you're starting on Friday. We didn't want to mess with McClure and everybody else on the weekend, and Bennett ran out there on a Friday night as a freshman and gave us six or so innings, and I just remember thinking, this guy is the ultimate competitor. I don't want to take anything away, he throws three pitches, but like coach Martin said last night about their guy, man, you know Nick is going to compete. Doesn't mean he's always going to win. He's won an awful lot, though. In two years he's been really good for us.

Q. Coach, I guess it may depend on who wins the next game, but what's your thought process for pitching tomorrow, who you might go with?
DAN McDONNELL: You know, any time you go into the last game of a tournament, it's always that all-hands-on-deck mentality. We do have Bobby Miller fresh and ready to go. We do have Reid Detmers, who threw on Wednesday. And then we have all the talented bullpen pieces. I'll sit with Coach Williams and I'm sure he'll run down all those available. We trust these guys. That's the thing.

I think where Devin and Josh have really grown up this year is just trying to not do too much, and as Devin said, these sophomore hitters that grew up a lot this year, Fitz and Snider and Wyatt and Lavey and Oriente and Campbell that now I think Josh and Devin realize they don't have to do so much, that they're playing with other really good players, good hitters. They understand each other, so it's fun to see them not put so much pressure on themselves and just be who they are. That's what we've been saying a lot this week. Let's be who we are. Let's know who we are. If that's not good enough, then that's fine, but we're going to enjoy being who we are, and we've been playing like this for about a month now.

Q. Every season doesn't go perfectly the way you script it in the fall, but it feels like from the outside, this season has had more twists and turns for you guys, even where Josh is hitting in the lineup. I imagine from your perspective you've got to be awfully proud of this group?
DAN McDONNELL: Super proud. One of our themes was I dare you, and I really threw it in their face at the start of the fall. And lots of times when I motivate the guys, I'm motivating myself, as well. I did not want to make excuses this year. I did not want to cry the, hey, we-lost-everybody-to-the-draft card. I knew we had talent. Yeah, we knew we were going to be a little young, but I wasn't going to stand on a podium and talk about how young we were. I just didn't think that was fair to this group. I wanted this group to know I believed in them, so I dared them. I dared them to keep it going, and I won't read you our resume right now, but hopefully you know it over the last five or six years, and I dared this group to keep it going, and they did it in the classroom. We just finished our 14th straight semester of a team GPA of a 3.0, seven years consecutive. These kids do well in the classroom, they do well in the community, and here we are, 43 wins and we get a chance to play another day tomorrow before the NCAA starts.

Q. You talked about the resume factor. It kind of feels like you guys were lying in the weeds a little bit in the hosting race, right, with the RPI and kind of the slower starting conference, but all of a sudden you look up and you've got 43 wins and 20 plus in the ACC; do you feel like now you've really got a chance to do this, and especially if you win tomorrow?
DAN McDONNELL: You know, I think when we were 20-11, we looked at the last three national champions and where they were at 31 games in, and they were 19-12, 21-10 and 20-11, and I remember telling our team, guys, I believe we've got a chance to win a national championship.

What I don't do, sorry for all those out there, I don't follow Twitter. I don't look at RPI. I don't care what other people think about us. I don't look at rankings. I know who we are. Let's see what the committee thinks we are.

But hopefully they look closely at our resume. Again, like you said, 20-plus wins in the ACC, 2-1 against the SEC, 1-1 against one of the best teams in the Big 12. They've got the information. I'm sure they'll get it right.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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