You pitched a great game through seven innings. Were you surprised Coach Martin replaced you to start the eighth?
"I think I had gotten a little tired. I was starting to cast curveballs, versus just throwing them, and throwing them hard. The velocity on my fastball went down a lot from the first few innings. In the seventh, I was just trying to get out, get our hitters up to the plate and score a few more runs. Eventually, it took a while, but we got it done."
You retired Virginia's first 10 batters. What was your plan today?
"I was hitting spots, pitching in, going away with my changeup. My changeup was working really well today, and I was hitting with my curveball. We set them up with that inside fastball, and then threw ‘em changeups away, to get them to swing at pitches away."
The team had gone 20.1 innings without allowing a run, and ordinarily, the bullpen is lights-out. What happened today?
"I really couldn't tell you, today. Hog (closer Daniel Hodges) came in and did a great job, when our backs were against the wall. They put four up on us in the fourth, and Hog came in and shut the door against them. He threw four innings and shut it down. Eventually, in the twelfth we got a run, got out of here with a "W," and that's all that matters."
This was the first weekend start of your career – are you pleased with your performance?
"Yes. Very. I wanted to come out and get five strong (innings). I didn't expect to have seven. You never know what's going to happen out there – it's a crazy game. I came out, gave seven strong, and turned it over to the bullpen. And we eventually got it done."
You had a pressure-packed at-bat in the bottom of the eighth, with FSU down by a run and two out. What was your mindset?
"It was his second pitch that I hit. He opened me up with a curveball inside. I wasn't looking for that. The whole game, they were pitching me inside. My first at-bat, I popped out foul. They were pitching me inside, inside the whole day. He made a mistake, he left the ball out a little ways, and I just swung it the other way."
Were you expecting something outside?
"I was thinking, but I was just focusing on keeping my head inside the ball and making sure I hit a line drive somewhere. We needed a runner on base, so I was just trying to do my job. I wasn't thinking of hitting the ball out of the park, but I was able to."
Are you feeling more comfortable defensively at third base?
"Third base, I told Eleven (head coach Mike Martin) before the game, I said that I feel so much more comfortable at third base. I'm positioning myself a lot better, knowing where to play the ball, knowing where the play hitters."
Third base isn't an easy position to convert to. How pleased are you with your performance there to date?
"The third baseman they had last year (Ryan Barthelemy) was real good. I'm just trying to be myself, not try to do too much."
In your first ACC conference series, you've hit three home runs, and the team has gotten a sweep. How exciting has it been?
"This weekend, I changed my approach a little bit. I'm trying to have less movement up at the plate, trying to make contact with the ball and make sure I hit the ball with the barrel of the bat – just do what I know how to do.
That was a longer outing than you're used to – you pitched 4.1 innings today. How are you feeling?
"I'm tired, that's all I'm going to say. That's what we prepare for all year, doing our condition, just in case. I usually only go for one inning, but in case something like this does happen in an extra-inning ballgame, you have to have enough stamina to do that. Our team just came together real good. Even though we hit into some double plays, no one put their head down. We did excellent today."
They sent most of the remaining pitchers to the bullpen after you finished the 11th inning. Did you think you'd go out for the 12th?
"I played a little joke on them. I called down there (to the bullpen) and said, ‘None of y'all are coming into this game.' I felt strong, and I knew as long as I felt strong and kept hitting my spots, I'd get the job done."
Virginia did score a run against you – what was the situation like, coming in in the eighth inning with some guys already on base?
"When I came in there I think I had a little too much adrenaline pumping, and I left my changeup up. He hit it to right field. You just can't get your head down when something like that happens. You just have to roll through it and go back to pitching."
You had to come through some adversity today – was this a tough adjustment, after really handling Virginia in the first two games?
"Virginia's a great ballclub. They're going to beat a lot of people this year. The first ACC home weekend, the first ACC weekend – to come in here and get a sweep, especially of a ballclub as good as they are, I couldn't ask anything more than that."
Were you concerned that your guys wouldn't be able to adjust after Virginia's rally in the eighth?
"We felt real confident when we went down to the bullpen. We still feel good about it. I think the key was the two pitches – we had a freshman, we're 0-2, and he threw a pitch that was in the wrong spot. Then we went 1-2 to a left-handed hitter, and he just fluffed a curveball up there. That's a part of the growing process. That's what you've got to learn. He learned that. You're now playing clubs that are capable of making that play to beat you. They almost turned it into a tough situation. You've got to credit Hog, of course. Rhett James didn't pitch bad – they strung together some singles."
What contributed to the decision to take Daniel Davidson out, after only seven innings and 69 pitches?
"Well, you're dealing with a guy's first start of the year. Giving him 80 pitches, with a rested bullpen, and then throwing him back out there (next weekend) just doesn't really make sense. We felt comfortable doing it, and we would do it again. The reason the freshman went out was because they had left-right-left, and we were not going to bring Daniel (Hodges) in in the eighth inning. We went to him – he was one of two available left-handers left. I'm very proud of what they did – it's just one of those things that you just learn from – and he'll learn from it."
Virginia held your top three hitters – Stephen Drew, Tony McQuade, and Tony Richie, to 1-18 at the plate.
"Credit Virginia for a lot of things. They were an impressive baseball team. We've played Stanford, Florida – we've played some good clubs. I consider Virginia to be one of those guys that is really, really impressive. Those guys can play."
Eddy Martinez-Esteve had quite a series – how impressive was his eighth-inning home run?
"Probably the key to the ballgame. Certainly the pitching was what it's all about – the pitching enabled us to win, but the key hit was Eddy Martinez-Esteve's home run to tie it up in the eighth inning. No doubt."
How well did he play defensively?
"He played a solid baseball game today. I'm very proud for him. He knows he's got a long way to go, but he's getting there. He's working hard on a daily basis."
You overcame some adversity to earn the conference sweep – that's got to make you happy.
"I tell you what, that's a credit to this baseball team. We had a chance to tuck our tails, so to speak. First and second, nobody out, we've got 1-2-3 coming up, and they get out of the inning with no runs. We get first and second the next inning, got a chance to do it again – double-play ball, inning over. Nobody pouted, nobody felt sorry for themselves – I'm just very proud of this baseball team right now."
Despite the Virginia rally after he left, how good was Davidson today?
"Gosh, what a great game he pitched. Flawless. Beautiful display of all three pitches. Virginia's a very good baseball team. They're going to beat a lot of people in this league."