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May 21, 2019
Durham, North Carolina
Wake Forest - 7, Florida State - 4
THE MODERATOR: We're joined by Wake Forest coach Tom Walter, catcher Logan Harvey and pitcher Antonio Menendez. Coach, an opening statement, please.
COACH WALTER: The story today was obviously our bullpen was fantastic. Just got big outs all the way up and down. Tony Menendez came in a 4-4 game, got two big outs and then through a scoreless inning the next inning, got another out or two. The next inning, Carter Bach comes in and gets a big out for us. And then behind him Ty Witt was fantastic. And then Will closed it out.
So, did just enough offensively; I didn't think we had a great offensive game. But Drew Parrish is so good, he's not going to give you much.
Q. Tony, what was your mindset going in? I know Colin was pretty much cruising through the first three and then all of a sudden you're thrown in there in the fourth?
ANTONIO MENENDEZ: Yeah, absolutely. This season has been a lot of get hot quick and get in the game. A lot of times my job is just to keep the game where it is, kind of get my offense some momentum and kind of get them back in there to hit because we're so good offensively. So, just get out there, throw strikes, get out as quick as I can. And get my offense back out there. I just wanted to do that as long as possible today.
Q. What was the mood in the seventh inning when you guys are scoring those runs? And it's not like you guys were doing anything spectacular; it was more let Florida State stay back. Curious what the mood was in your dugout.
ANTONIO MENENDEZ: In the dugout we're always excited when the offense gets going. Whenever we get guys on base we know we'll start scoring whether it's via home run, walk, whatever it is. And when you start seeing the bullpen getting hot over and over again, you start seeing the wheels fall off and that's really exciting for our offense because we know we can really do damage.
Q. Coach, were you anticipating at some point that your team is going to break through with that key hit to maybe break this game wide open? And how do you gauge being aggressive in those situations versus taking what Florida State was giving you folks?
COACH WALTER: That was hard. It's hard in that inning. Again, we had some chances early -- you know, Ludowig up with the bases loaded and a chance, and we got a little overly aggressive there chasing pitches out of the zone. Just feel like we need to have better at-bats maybe earlier than we did and just do a better job maybe sitting on pitches.
But later in the game really happy when they were giving us the walks, we took them. Again, a huge at-bat was obviously Cole McNamee off the bench was a huge at-bat. But another big at-bat was Bruce Steel taking the 3-1 pitch. Conor Grady comes in, has such a good arm, and Bruce takes a 3-1 pitch that he normally would swing at. But it forced Conor Grady to throw another strike. And he couldn't execute that pitch and then he was out of the game. So I thought Bruce's at-bat and Cole's were really the difference.
Q. Logan, obviously Parrish is an accomplished pitcher, I thought had pretty good stuff, 13 strikeouts or something. You had a good day against him and your team got eight hits against him. What was the game plan against Parrish and what was the key to pushing across a few runs early on?
LOGAN HARVEY: A lot has to do with the preparation we have normally. The game plan that's put ahead by Coach Cilento and Coach Hammond, and we saw some tendencies that he had. We saw some things that he does do or doesn't like to do. We work on them in batting practice.
It's really a precise customized approach before each game for the pitcher and things like that to give us the best chance of success. So it all came down to preparation. And then like you say, you fall back on what you know and what you practice. And luckily it worked out for me.
I didn't hit against him in the regular season. I played the Saturday game. So just kind of having a fresh start with him, I don't think he really had the best idea of what I would do based on what he and I had had. And I think that's just a bit of an advantage me to where I can go in with a fresh start and try to be the hitter that I am and do what it takes to get the run across or the base hit when we need it.
Q. Logan, does it seem like kind of a salvage-the-season type of game? And was there a level of desperation or must-win for this tournament but must-win maybe for the whole season?
LOGAN HARVEY: Definitely. Something that we've talked about, I think would have been two or three games ago, we coined the Desperation Deacs term. Guys were getting fired up, electric, excited to play. That's what happens when it comes down late in the season.
A lot of these guys -- we do have a young team, 56 games is a lot, and being able to kind of get the energy back when you take a few-games skid, being able to gain that energy back, come out fighting. And today was a great team win. I think everybody really contributed up and down the lineup.
So it was a really good refreshing time for us to look around, be able to high-five each other and say, you did a good job, you did a good job, and really feel confident in ourselves heading into the rest of the tournament.
Q. Coach, who gets the start for you Thursday? And if you're going to make a run in this tournament, could the scheduling have laid out any better for you in terms of Tuesday, Thursday, potential Saturday, and the fact that basically being able to use your relievers at will through this series?
COACH WALTER: Yeah, for sure the day off tomorrow is going to help get Tony and Ty Witt and Carter and Will Fleming, give them a day, for sure, without question. And we still have Bobby Hearn that we haven't used yet. So, we like where our bullpen is for the Thursday game.
We're leaning towards Shuster at this point. He threw well against NC State in the regular season. Pitched out of the bullpen actually and threw -- ended up getting a loss but threw really well, gave up one run in like three and a third or something like that. So we're leaning that direction.
Cusick is available if we needed him to. But so I think we're going to go with Shuster piece it together like we did. He won't have a long leash, I don't think.
Q. Logan, just to elaborate on the Desperation Deacs terms, who coined that? Was that a senior's thing? Was that a coach thing? Was that a collaborative among everyone?
LOGAN HARVEY: That was actually Coach Hammond. We were doing our dynamic warm-up, and I don't remember the exact occasion. But he just yelled out "Desperation Deacs," and that's kind of what we latched onto a little bit.
Not that it's been kind of our battle cry or anything like that, but we're just trying to be the team we are and that we know we can be, fall back on what we know and just prepare each game like it's our last, because obviously in these tournaments it very well can be.
As a senior, I've seen the highs and lows of this tournament and the postseason. And so it's my job as a leader to be able to impart on guys like Tony and the rest of the younger crowd that this is what we need to do to win, this is what it's going to take, leave it all out on the line, and the things will fall into place if you put forth your best effort.
Q. Coach, I think obviously your bullpen, seems like it's been the strength of your staff this year, and you've had to get some guys like Tony who have been pretty consistent for you. But I'm curious, down the stretch, have you seen that unit as a whole take that extra step? And how have you kind of seen that evolve to the point where they came out and shut it down today?
COACH WALTER: Yeah, so two parts to that. One is Carter Bach has emerged lately as a guy we can count on to get a big out when we need it, with runners on base. And, again, we have certain guys that we trust to come in and bridge. Tony is certainly one of those with traffic in big situations, come in and make pitches.
Ty Witt is a guy we like to start the inning fresh with, quite honestly. We don't bring him in in the middle of innings as much, because again he pitches to contact and he needs -- it's a little bit of wiggle room.
But the emergence of Carter Bach in that role has really made a big difference and lengthened that bullpen and enabled us to kind of put guys in roles they're more comfortable with.
Q. Coach, what's the confidence level in your team heading into Thursday's matchup with the series you had against NC State earlier in the year?
COACH WALTER: We're excited about the matchup. Obviously they're playing really good right now. They had a big weekend last weekend. And they've got a lot on the line, too. We know they're going to come ready to play. They always do. So I'm excited. It will be a 7:00 p.m. start, so the house should be packed and (lost audio)....
FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports