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May 23, 2014

Nick Howard

Whit Mayberry

Brian O'Connor


Virginia: 3
North Carolina: 2

THE MODERATOR:テつ We welcome Virginia, Head Coach Brian O'Connor, student athletes Nick Howard and Whit Mayberry.テつ Comments from Coach?
COACH O'CONNOR:テつ Yeah, I'll tell you, that was a great college baseball game, really, between two really good clubs.テつ In our three games in Charlottesville that we played North Carolina, all three games were terrific ballgames.テつ They've got a very good club.テつ I'm just proud of our team, you know.テつ We had a discussion before batting practice today that they're mature men and they understand coming to the ballpark today that we didn't have a chance to compete for the championship.テつ Our opportunity for our championship would be tonight and tomorrow night, that we're going to come out and play good baseball and show that we can respond even though we don't have a chance to win the title here.
I'm just really happy and proud of our guys, the two guys sitting here, the way that they pitched and grinded it out against a very good club and we will get that opportunity again tomorrow night against another outstanding team.テつ Hopefully we can do a little bit of the same and continue to play good baseball.テつ Obviously the game 1 loss was difficult to Maryland and it put us in this situation but the guys that wear our uniform certainly showed what they're made of in tonight's ballgame, and I think they handled the situation really well.

Q.テつ Nick, did you feature your breaking ball a little more?テつ You got Lassiter there in the 9th.
NICK HOWARD:テつ As far as the breaking ball, trying to change, get something going over the plate before they caught on to my fastball, but other than that I was trying to attack hitters and get outs.

Q.テつ How tough of an at‑bat was Wood Myers, that 3‑2?
NICK HOWARD:テつ I can't remember the last time against these guys, it wasn't a game like this.テつ But he's a great hitter.テつ He made three low, he was battling, made me keep throwing strikes and I tried to get one in there and make him make a mistake.

Q.テつ What about the emotions?テつ Did you think you might have hit a home run there at the top of the inning?
NICK HOWARD:テつ I knew I hit it well but there wasn't much to worry about.

Q.テつ Did you get a good play?テつ It looked like you kinda one‑armed it?
NICK HOWARD:テつ Yeah, I was just trying to get the ball in play.

Q.テつ How important was the 8th?テつ You had a walk and then it looked like you got comfortable.
NICK HOWARD:テつ That's what Coach told me to do is have a four‑pitch walk right when I came in.テつ I knew I had to buckle down after that so that's what I did.

Q.テつ Were you available yesterday?テつ Fully healthy?
WHIT MAYBERRY:テつ Yeah, ready to go.
COACH O'CONNOR:テつ I'll address this, okay?テつ When I was speaking yesterday in the press conference, Whit Mayberry may have felt like he was available, but he was not.テつ We've got some kind of virus running through our team, quite frankly, and we've got player that hasn't even come to the ballpark since we've been here in town.テつ It is what it is, everybody deals with it at different times and, you know, Whit gutted it out tonight and I can tell you he's still not feeling good but it shows what he's made of.

Q.テつ Is it hard to play so many 1‑run games?
COACH O'CONNOR:テつ We're all right with it.テつ Certainly we would like to beat people by four or five runs, but there is something to be said for that, that our guys understand what it takes in a really tight ballgame, the execution it takes on the mound, defensively.テつ So there is not a lot of panic.
We've lost a few of those 1‑run games as of late because when you play so many, odds are a couple of them are going to go against you.テつ When you have pitching like we have with these guys at the end of the ballgame, you're going to win your fair share of 'em.

Q.テつ People indicate that you're probably going to get a national seed regardless of what happens.テつ Does this make you any more comfortable with that?
COACH O'CONNOR:テつ I haven't thought about it, Doug, but probably.テつ It wasn't a concern of mine coming down here at all.テつ I believe our resume of what we have done over the entire season speaks for itself, and it is certainly nice to get a win.テつ We're going to do everything we can in our power to win again tomorrow night, and I'm sure Florida State is, too, but this team has earned a great position because of what we've done all year long and they're not concerned about it.テつ They don't even think about it.
We don't even talk about it.テつ They're consumed with competing and playing good baseball.

Q.テつ Whit, what happened on the game time home run what did you throw?
WHIT MAYBERRY:テつ The pitch I left up in the zone, I think it was a 1‑1 pitch.テつ I wish I could take it back.テつ I'm proud of the way my teammates picked me up in the next half inning and I couldn't be more grateful for that.

Q.テつ Kind of a weird deal you play one game and already you're going to the championship.テつ What was that like?
WHIT MAYBERRY:テつ Like Coach said before the game he told us we take what's on our plate right in front of us, any given day.テつ There are new challenges that arise and today the challenge was to treat this game like our championship game, and I think we did a good job doing that.

Q.テつ Nick, how important was it to get back on the mound and return to your former form?
NICK HOWARD:テつ Obviously it's good to get out there and get back on the horse, but that wasn't part of my thought process, honestly.

Q.テつ Brian, 6 out of 9 times they got a lead‑off guy on, very unlike Virginia.

Q.テつ If you would have known they were going to do that, would you have thought you were going to come out with a win tonight?
COACH O'CONNOR:テつ No, Brandon Waddell, I wouldn't say he was the best he's been all year, but he really buckled down and made big pitches and some big strike‑outs with that slider in on those lefties and righties and bouncing it on them.テつ I felt after five innings he had been threatened in every inning, whether it be‑‑ he had two walks, a hit batter, he gave up 6 hits, you know, North Carolina did a really good job with him, but the kid all year long has made big pitches when he need to do.テつ So you wouldn't think that the amount of runners that they had in scoring position that we're looking at a 3‑2 ballgame, but it seemed like it was that kind of a game.テつ I think we left 10 or 11 runners on, too, and that's a credit to Moss and the guys they threw in relief.

Q.テつ Brian you said you were concerned about middle innings in your bullpen.テつ Is that a concern going forward?
COACH O'CONNOR:テつ No, it's not.テつ It really isn't.テつ Those guys have done the job all year long and it's two ballgames.テつ Other than the home run, you know, I think Whit pitched tremendous baseball for us tonight.テつ We didn't do it in the middle innings yesterday.テつ Hopefully we will tomorrow, but I'm not concerned about it at all.テつ We've got a lot of confidence in those guys, and they're a huge reason why we're in the position we are.

Q.テつ Do you like this format, this pool play format, where it can happen where you can play one game and be eliminated?
COACH O'CONNOR:テつ I can't tell you that I like it, for that fact.テつ Do I like that everybody that cheers on our team and cheers on North Carolina to know that back on Monday that we're playing North Carolina on Friday night at 7:00 and the same thing tomorrow night, Florida State?テつ I think for the fans it's a great benefit.テつ As a competitor, you know, it's tough, because you like for your tournament to be ended on the field, whether you win or lose.
I don't think there is a perfect formula, but it's what we have, and it seems like it's worked pretty good historically.テつ Part of what I talked to the team about was in 2010, 2012 and 2013 at this tournament there has been a game that we have played in each of those tournaments that fortunately we have won that really didn't determine whether or not we were going to get a chance to go to the title game, so we have been used to it.テつ I feel for a club like Clemson that wins the first two ballgames and they happen to lose one and they're going home.
This is the format that we have determined is the best for everybody in this league.

Q.テつ Coach, what about Benton Moss and his game tonight?
COACH O'CONNOR:テつ Benton Moss pitched well against us two times this year.テつ He gave us fits up in Charlottesville, and fortunately we were able to scratch a few runs against him.テつ He has a good arm.テつ He has a breaking ball that he went to more than he did when we previously faced him.テつ He does a good job of pitching both sides of the plate.テつ I think that young man has a very, very bright future.
I like North Carolina's chances with that guy on the mound next weekend, hopefully advancing on.
THE MODERATOR:テつ Thank you, guys.テつ

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