How good is it to follow up two strong efforts back-to-back, as you've done the last two nights?
Any time we can come out here and get a good victory, and wind up with no errors, that's always what Eleven (head coach Mike Martin) preaches. We played a solid game, like we practiced. He's happy, and so are we.
The game was quite a pitcher's duel, until you hit a two-run double in the fourth. Walk us through that at-bat.
He started off with a curveball in the dirt. Eleven always preaches to us to spit at that stuff and make him give us pitches that we want to hit. Don't swing at that kind of crap. Then he pitched the fastball, and I got a good swing on it, hit it down the line. Luckily, Jerrod Brown – I don't know how he scored, but he got there from first.
You took extra fielding practice during pregame – is that a big emphasis for you?
I stayed out there for probably about half of our whole round – just working on ground balls, getting in the right throwing position. I'm just working real hard with Link (Jarrett) who is our infield coach.
Another quality start for you – how good was your command tonight?
It was funny – right before the game, Coach Shouppe (pitching coach Jamey Shouppe) found a little flaw in my form. I was starting to lean back too much. We had to fix that, and in the first couple of innings, I felt a little shaky out there. Finally, in the third, I was able to come up with it.
You only threw 96 pitches in eight innings. Did you think you might get a complete game?
I don't know. I was just trying to get through the eighth inning. Whatever happens, happens.
What was your strategy like on the mound tonight?
Well, normally the changeup is one of my big pitches, and I really didn't have it tonight. I had to spot my fastball real well, and make sure I got that curveball going. I was able to do that.
Coach Martin said before the game that you've really improved your composure, being able to pitch out of tough spots and put trouble behind you. Has that been a conscious adjustment?
That's something I've definitely worked on, during the summer in the Cape (Cape Cod League) and out here in fall practice. My freshman and sophomore year, things would start to go bad, and I wasn't able to stop it. There was a kind of snowball effect. I've been able to stop the bleeding this year.
How good does it feel to win your first start of the season in conference play?
It's always good. I'm going to go ahead and give a shoutout to Blake (Balkcom). He's helping me out big-time out there.
How has the adjustment been, after being sidelined with a quad injury?
I'm just trying to step up on defense. I know my hitting's been struggling here lately – I've been struggling to get back from injury. I feel my defense is pretty much the way it should be.
Can you talk about your play in the field – some of your catches were pretty tough.
I just felt like I was getting good jumps. I was seeing the ball really good off the bat. I've been working a lot, the last three games, on watching the flight of the ball. Like I said, my hitting's been struggling, so I've been trying to pick it up on the defensive end.
Obviously, anytime you can shut out an ACC opponent, it's pretty big. How impressed were you with Trent Peterson's performance?
Trent had a great outing. I think he really showed what he's about, because his changeup was not effective tonight. But he was able to get his fastball and curveball in spots, that really showed me that he is able to make adjustments on the mound. You're not going to be able to go out there every single night with all three pitches effective for you. At that point, you've got to bear down and make the other two work for you. Trent has gone out and been very effective with all three pitches. But, with the changeup not in his repertoire tonight, he really showed me that he can make adjustments. I'm very impressed, and very proud, for him. That's a young man that is pitching very well for us.
This is the fourth shutouts this season by the pitching staff.
They deserve a pitchers' game, which they got the other day, and now we owe them three. I guess, at N.C. State, we'll have two or three pitchers' games for them. It'll be cold, I can tell you that – everytime I go up there, it's cold.
I'm very proud of our young men. We played a solid nine innings of baseball, and there's a zero in that (error) column for us, and that's very important to us. Trent Peterson was obviously the difference for us in the ballgame. I'm very proud of the fact that we got some timely hitting – hitting that was very impressive. Chris Hart's (two-RBI) double was huge for us. Eddy Martinez-Esteve singling up the middle was another good at-bat by a freshman. We've just got to keep battling. We've got to understand that we're playing outstanding teams. Virginia is a very good baseball team. They're as good as a lot of teams we've played that have big names. That's a good-looking club. We just had an outstanding pitching performance.
Trent had a lot of praise for Blake Balkcom's defense. How impressive has Blake been?
Blake gave us such a big lift. When you make plays like that, it makes the pitcher feel so much more relaxed, comfortable with what's going on. Let's face it, ol' Trent hasn't had a lot of support. We've kicked the ball around for him. To go nine inning tonight, and play the game the way it's supposed to be played says a lot for the way our guys approach games like this. We have to come out tomorrow and be ready. Virginia's a club that can get it done. We just happened to pitch well tonight.
Virginia served notice tonight that they have some strength in their bullpen.
I'll tell you what, that lefthander (Greg Hansard) just went through us like Sherman did Atlanta. That was boom, boom, boom – see you later. (Hansard struck out the side in the XX inning.) I know they took him out of the ballgame, because that's in the back of his mind, I'm sure, to bring him back.
Daniel Davidson is making the first ACC start of his career. What are you expecting from him?
I'm anxious to see how he does. He's a young guy that has command. Let's hope he can get the changeup going for him, because these guys are very, very aggressive. They're a very good hitting team. What we accomplished tonight, you don't expect to go out and do tomorrow. For them to get five hits – you know they're going to get more hits, because they're a very aggressive team.
What is Marc LaMacchia's status?
He's done for the year. Losing him is a tough blow for this team, right?
It's very disappointing for him, and certainly for us. He's an outstanding person, but as a coach you just have to do what you can. We just have to move on. We know he's gone for the year, so we just have to move on. (LaMacchia will undergo Tommy John surgery.)
How important is it to establish a Sunday starter, with LaMacchia sidelined?
We're looking tomorrow at getting five good innings out of Daniel Davidson, and then turning it over to the bullpen. At the same time, we've got to be able to get on the board and keep the ballgame close. Virginia is a good team – a very aggressive offensive club. Matt (Lynch) and Trent have put us in a good spot regarding our bullpen – our bullpen has not been used. We just hope we can get five or six good innings out of Dan. If we don't, then of course we'll just have to go to the bullpen earlier. We do have a lot of confidence in our bullpen.
How impressive has Chris Hart been this series?
Well, Chris is hitting in a good spot in the lineup – hitting right behind Jerrod Brown and right before Martinez-Esteve. You've got a chance to get some pitches, and he's been very disciplined, had some good at-bats. I'm very proud of what he's accomplished so far.