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May 22, 2019

Mik Aoki

Niko Kavadas

Durham, North Carolina

Georgia Tech - 12, Notre Dame - 6

THE MODERATOR: We have head coach Mik Aoki and third baseman Niko Kavadas. Coach, an opening statement, please.

COACH AOKI: I thought our kids did a good job of, like, fighting and competing and persisting throughout the course of the game.

Obviously made far too many mistakes against a team that's as good as Georgia Tech and can kind of do the damage with their bats that they can, both in terms of walks and then a little bit of a sloppy infield play.

Outside of that, I'm proud of the way that our guys continue to compete in, whatever it was, in the seventh or eighth inning. We've got Gilgenbach, who has a little bit of juice, bases loaded with a chance to maybe put something in the gap and tie it or put something over the fence and go ahead. Obviously it didn't work out. But I think our guys did a really good job of competing all throughout the course of the tournament.


Q. I guess it was tough when you had that big inning and then Tech comes back and scores on you right away.
COACH AOKI: Yeah, I mean, I think that was the inning where we dropped that popup that McCann hit to the moon that scored the two. So kind of a tough play. Played that, I think, probably kind of a difficult play for a catcher in some ways even though he seemed underneath it. I mean that thing, McCann's got some juice, and that thing was to the moon. And to give up those two sort of takes the wind out of your sails a little bit for sure.

Q. Looked like Tommy ran into some trouble in the fourth. What did you see in that inning? He had the -- similarly, they got a lot of pitches out of him. I'm curious what you saw out of the fourth.
COACH AOKI: I think the downside of being an 11 seed is that you're almost guaranteed to play on Tuesday and Wednesday on this tournament. And Tommy had pitched on Friday, the way that the calendar works.

You go from -- he had thrown, I think, the previous week on Saturday and then he throws on Friday and then he throws on Wednesday. So with every turn of the week, he gets shorted a day.

And I think that once he gets to pro ball in a couple years, the four days' rest thing won't be a big deal. But for college guys I think that's an adjustment.

Hall had an at-bat that seemed like it was a 10- or 11-pitch at-bat the inning before. I think Tommy got a little frustrated, rightly or wrongly, I think he got a little frustrated with the strike zone in the one inning.

And we didn't help him out in terms of some of the defense. I thought he did a really good job of negotiating the third inning when they scored with all the free 90s that we sort of gave up via the walks and errors and things like that. To have just gotten through that with the one run, I thought, was really good.

I just felt he was starting to get underneath the ball, and just felt like he looked a little bit tired -- the velocity started to come down. He's not a kid who walks a lot of numbers. If you look at the numbers, he doesn't strike out a ton, but he doesn't walk a lot of people.

Q. Niko, considering the number of hits you had the last two days, did you feel maybe you didn't get enough out of all those?
NIKO KAVADAS: Yeah, we left a lot of people on base, but we also did a really good job of putting guys in position. And we had a few timely hits. In the end it wasn't enough. We gave up too many runs. And a lot of that was free 90s and a lot of that was some poor defense.

So back to the drawing board this summer. Everyone's going to get better and we're going to come back better for it next year.

Q. I'm curious, the turnaround format is obviously quirky, just curious your thoughts on it and are there other options or formats you would want to have considered?
COACH AOKI: I think when we thought up this tournament maybe four or five years ago in the ACC coaches' meeting, I think some of the objectives that we had were to make sure that everybody got to play at least a couple of games when they came down here.

Because the other format that is out there obviously is the SEC format. And those guys are one and done if they lose on one of the first two days, which means that there are teams that are going to move on to the NCAA Tournament the following week who will not have pitched -- they're number 2 and number 3 guys will probably not have pitched a competitive inning in almost two weeks. So we wanted to sort of strike a balance. And this is what we came up with.

To a certain extent, it is a single elimination tournament because eight of us have to go 2-0 in order to get to the next one. The four top seeds are the only ones who can afford to go 1-1 and move on.

So it is, you're right, a little quirky, but I also think that for a lot of other reasons that have to do with television and everything like that, I think it gives viewers and television people an opportunity to promote games. Like the Virginia and North Carolina game tonight will probably be pretty well attended. The North Carolina State game tomorrow night will probably be pretty well attended and probably gain some good viewership. And then you have two games on Saturday that mean a whole heck of a lot and a game on Sunday that means a whole heck of a lot.

I think the downside of a couple of games like this one that didn't really mean anything in the grand scheme of things, I think when you want 12 teams in the tournament -- and I think that we should -- I think this is probably a pretty decent compromise. I want to say happy birthday to my daughter, Brynn (phonetic). And I hope things went okay for Ethan Murray today.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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