COACH AVENT: Well, we played very, very well, I'll say that. Obviously a great ballclub. They've been number one in the country pretty much all year and deservedly so. We've had several battles with them and everybody remembers the epic 18 battle, but it's a good ballclub, and that shows how well we played.
We played well -- I think we're 32-4 Kavin told me in the last 36 games, and we played very, very well today, with a lot of confidence.
Elliott, we've talked a lot about Carlos and everything that he's done against UNC in some of these games, but what more could be said and how do you describe what he did out there today?
COACH AVENT: I just -- when it's team -- and I don't mean to be sappy or whatever -- but he's a lot more than what people see. You know what I'm saying? Our ballclub loves Carlos Rodon because he's Carlos Rodon. He's one of the best teammates on this team, and we have a lot of great teammates. He just happens to have a powerful left arm and he's learned how to control the emotional side of the game and channel the emotional side of the game.
I think going into the ninth inning, he might have had 94 pitches against arguably one of the best hitting teams in the country. And that's not even arguably. It might be the best hitting team in the country.
So he's just -- I don't know. But when I think of Carlos Rodon, I've always told every player I've ever coached, you say that name and I'll give you two quick things. If you said Carlos Rodon, I think of the person way before I think of the pitcher or the baseball player.
For any of the hitters, you guys were really able to get to their ace, Kent Emanuel, what were you seeing and what wasn't working for him that you were able to take advantage of?
BRETT AUSTIN: I wouldn't say he was really struggling or something wasn't working for him. I feel like we did a great job with our approaches today. Trying not to let the big stage amp us up too much, trying to stay within ourselves and do what we've been doing all year. And I think we did a really good job of that, swinging at the pitches in the zone and getting the barrel on it and finding holes. Just worked out really well for us today.
GRANT CLYDE: Pretty much backing what Brett said, just getting something in the zone, seeing a pitch we were looking for. I mean, he was not really all that wild, but we could look one location and rip from there.
BRETT WILLIAMS: Yeah, Kent, he's a great pitcher. I think he's helped us out a lot this year seeing him quite a few times and figuring out how they pitch you. You kinda just remember that in the back of your head. And like Brett said, we stuck with our approach and put good pitches swings on good, didn't chase anything out of the zone.
Carlos, you kind of have a reputation, I guess, now for pitching your best in the biggest games. Why is that? What is it about a setting like this that brings out the very best in you?
CARLOS RODON: You know, this is the College World Series. It doesn't get any better than this, so why not bring your A game? Of course I try to bring my A game every time. When I come out, I'm going to compete. And stages like this, I'm going to compete even more, give it more than I can. But you always give it 100 percent and things go your way.
Carlos, obviously you've pitched well against UNC several times before, but you haven't had the run support as you did in the game today. How much more comfortable did that make you and did that change your comfort level out there having that?
CARLOS RODON: Yeah, it's nice to have eight runs on the board. Pitch comfortably. Offense did a great job, and defensively, flawless. So all around we played great baseball.
Question for position players. Everybody's geeked up in Raleigh about what's happened, it hasn't happened in so long. Did playing Carolina, the familiarity of it, did that help or hurt or how did that play into today's game?
BRETT WILLIAMS: That definitely helps. Like Brett Austin was talking about earlier, we kind of have a good feel for how they want to pitch us. And having seen Emanuel earlier in the year and going through the lineup a few times against him, he pitched pretty much the whole game. We had a really good idea what to do at the plate and how we were going to approach it.
And just that rivalry and having seen them three times already this year, it definitely helps tone us back and kind of remember what we had success with and what we didn't have success with and try to do the things that worked for us.
BRETT AUSTIN: I think it personally helps because, like Brett said, we know exactly -- not exactly, but we know what they want to attack us as hitters and we know what they want to do as hitters off of Carlos or whoever we throw out there.
I also think it helps because like when you get to Omaha, you'll have pregame jitters. But when you see someone you've played three times on the other side of the field, takes those jitters away a little bit because you're more comfortable playing somebody that you've already played three times.
GRANT CLYDE: Like they all said, I was glad personally to come in here and play those guys. We played them quite a few times this year. We're familiar with them. And when Carlos is on the mound, you know he's going to come out against those guys even more amped up because it's a big rivalry and it's a big game, and Carlos came out and did his thing and was very dominant.
Carlos, the hitters here have mentioned the hitter can have an advantage when there's some familiarity. How do you overcome that from your end when you're seeing guys? Do you vary the approach any, or how do you overcome that?
CARLOS RODON: Well, there's also familiarity for me, too. Like I know what's going to work on this guy. I know I can get this guy out with a slider. But sometimes you pitch backwards.
I don't really -- Holliday calls the pitches. I don't really wipe off, so he does a great job calling the pitches and I just roll with whatever he calls.
Carlos, was there any disappointment at all when you lost the no-hitter there in the fifth inning, and was that what you were striving for going into this game?
CARLOS RODON: You know, you don't really try to -- you try to be perfect but you're not going to go out there and say: I'm going to throw a perfect game today or I'm going to throw a no-hitter today. It doesn't work like that. I thought it was going to be either Cody -- or Stubbs to get a hit or Holberton to get a hit. One of them did, but it happens. It's baseball.
Coach, two-part question, sir. What was the atmosphere like after the game? Was it really tempered or was it like a typical: We beat Carolina type of thing? And the second part, you described this as your dream job. How happy are you to be doing this at NC State and to see the success?
COACH AVENT: Oh, gosh. You know, I don't know -- the dugout, I think, for what I could hear -- I didn't really watch that -- but I don't think it was -- they knew they played well and that's important. And winning your first game in the World Series is important. And I don't think, but I wanted to shake the other coach's hands, so I have no idea what happened behind me, but I didn't hear a lot, so I assume they handled it the way they've been handling it the last six or seven weeks of the season.
And, yeah, it is my dream job. I've loved NC State since I was old enough to know a basketball from a baseball and grew up an hour away from Raleigh, and my dad's loved NC State. And, I don't know, it's just -- it's kind of cool.
Carlos, the first batter you faced, you walked on four pitches and you retired something like the next 14 in a row. Did you just need that first batter to kind of take a breath or how would you explain that?
CARLOS RODON: Yeah, you know, I pitched against Chaz Frank about a zillion times. So, I don't know, four-pitch walk, not much you can say about that. You just gotta get to the next guy. And luckily I got Lassiter out and didn't get the bunt down and some good things went my way.
Brett Austin, you've caught Carlos a lot. How good was he today compared to maybe some of the best that you've seen?
BRETT AUSTIN: I think he was sub par. I don't think he was that good today. No, I'm just kidding.
I mean, he was as good as I've seen all year. Both pitches were working for him, commanded -- after the four-pitch walk to Chaz, then he settled in a little bit. Maybe the pregame jitters got to him, I don't know.
But he's as good as I've ever seen. And he stepped up for us big today.