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May 29, 2021

Elliott Avent

Charlotte, North Carolina, USA

Truist Field

NC State Wolfpack

Postgame Press Conference

NC State 8, Georgia Tech 1

ELLIOTT AVENT: It was a good ballgame. Two great teams. Georgia Tech is really, really good, really dangerous. They've got a lot of guys that can get the ball out of the ballpark, and they hit a couple balls tonight that I thought may go, and Robby did early in the day, but tonight the wind seemed to be blowing in a little bit, and anyway, we got a couple breaks and made the most of it and Sam Highfill was really, really, really good and we played a pretty good ballgame.

Q. Going on Sam there, he's obviously been good for you all season, but he's never really pitched in a game quite like this with a crowd this big. How big was that performance from him today?

ELLIOTT AVENT: I think huge. I think these guys, that's what I'm saying. We haven't played in front of a crowd this big all year, and it's a shame because that's what we do at NC State always. Our fans really support us, and they're used to playing in front of these number of fans, but if you're really committed to what you're doing and you're really playing the game for the right reasons, then you block out all that kind of stuff, and that's who Sam is.

Even though he wasn't used to pitching in front of a crowd this size, he could actually obviously block it out. He's more committed to his teammates, and if you're committed to your teammates, then you don't give a lot of concern to the things surrounding you.

Q. I know Tresh had the long ball, but how big was it for Jarrett to get to that Georgia Tech pitcher early and get some runs on the board for you early and get some confidence?

ELLIOTT AVENT: Yeah, he did the same thing against Pitt. Second and third he hit that same ball down the line, and did he it again tonight, and I think Mike Bell said it very, very well: He might be in the nine hole, but he's not a nine-hole hitter, so to speak. He's a competitor, and when you compete, good things happen, and he's been kind of like our Bucky Dent this series.

Q. Elliott, obviously Georgia Tech was you guys' first ACC series and they swept you as part of that tough start. Does beating them to get to the ACC championship a game after the run that you guys have had the last couple months of the season kind of feel like a full-circle moment for this team?

ELLIOTT AVENT: Yeah, I know we're better than we were when we played them. We just weren't ready to open the season. I thought Danny and I talked after that series, Danny and I have been together for so long, and he thought they played a complete weekend, and they've got a really good ballclub.

I think a lot of teams are tired a little bit, too. I'll tell you, this tournament, it taxes you a little bit. We've had a couple night games which turned into later games, puts you in the locker room for two or three hours and we're going to bed at 2:00 in the morning. I thought there were some tired bodies out there on both teams.

But you test your emotions and you test what you can bring to the ballpark, and I thought our guys did a great job.

Q. You didn't get to play Duke this year. What do you know about the Blue Devils? What are your impressions of them? I guess aside from you guys they're probably the hottest team in the league.

ELLIOTT AVENT: Yeah, I came over and watched their game today, which is kind of unlike what I want to do. I'd rather stay in the hotel watching on TV, but I came to the ballpark before our game because I wanted to see how the ballpark was playing and all that kind of stuff, because it seems to play differently at different times of the day. It turned a little cooler today and I wanted to see if that made a difference.

So I came over here and I watched them, and they looked awfully, awfully good. They're a really good ballclub. They're playing very, very well. I talked to Chris Pollard early. They're playing really well with a lot of confidence and they've got a good team and we'll have to play very, very well tomorrow.

Q. Love a great Bucky Dent reference. This isn't unfamiliar territory, but what's it mean considering everything that's gone on not just last year but as you've tried to play through this year to have two triangle teams meeting up in the ACC championship tomorrow?

ELLIOTT AVENT: I think they'll publicize it back home with exactly what you said, two triangle teams playing for a championship, but I think it's more a testament to Duke University and our guys at NC State and what both teams did: Start out a little rough, stick with things, and good things usually happen if you stick with it for a long period of time, especially in baseball.

If that is the last question I'd like to say one more thing if I can. You mentioned Bucky Dent. Bucky Dent is a good friend of mine and a class act, but I'd like to talk about another Paul Mainieri retired today after 15 great seasons at LSU, and I got to listen to his press conference this morning, and I haven't spoken with him yet, but I will. A good friend, great competitor and one of the great coaches of our time. Just want to tip my hat to Paul Mainieri and wish him and his family well.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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