Postgame Press Conference: NC State

OMAHA, Neb. - Elliott Avent, Carlos Rodon, and Trea Turner met with the media following the Pack's loss to UNC.

Opening Statement:
Just Hobbs Johnson, he's been a problem for us last few times we've seen him. I think he gets better and better. His last two times, especially.

We try to lay all fastballs off, especially in this ballpark, but he makes it difficult. He's tough to see. And he was good tonight. Carlos was-- Carlos appreciate his effort, appreciate him wanting the ball. His teammates respect it and really appreciate it. He was really, really good.

And we thought it was going to be a 2-0 game until the 8th or 9th, and we thought we'd have another comeback where we'd win it. And the 8th just unravelled us.

Anyway, proud of our team, proud of their effort, and proud to be at North Carolina State University.

Coach, yesterday when we talked you said it was a no brainer, starting Brad Stone. Could you take us through how you changed your mind?
It might take a while. I know Bill's on a time clock here, so...

Carlos, he's got-- he told me yesterday he was ready to go today if I needed him. I wanted to make sure he was thinking with his head instead of his heart. He's got such a big heart. He's always been about winning a national championship. He's never been about Carlos. Ever. That's the thing most amazing thing people will not realize about Carlos Rodon. They will one day. He's Bob Gibson as a pitcher and he's Pete Rose as a position player because he also hits for us. He just likes to win baseball games. He's no different than the little kid who wants to win.

The acclaim and all the stuff that goes on about him and how highly respected he is in the draft world has hit him but doesn't change the way he wants to play the game. He could have gone the pro route two years ago. He wants to win a national championship.

He almost fought me last year in Florida where we wouldn't send him back out there. And Tom and I talked this morning. Tom said you know he's gotta get a bullpen today, and it's an extended bullpen, but we're not going to throw him a bullpen because he's gonna throw tomorrow.

I said, Tom, you know that's not that's not going to happen. He said, well, if you're not gonna throw him bullpen, then-- I said, let's throw him in relief. Tom made a good point he's only been relief one time in his entire life. He's never come in relief but once in his life.

So if he's going to pitch, then why not let him follow his routine and talk to Brad Stone. We got to the ballpark, talked to Carlos, and Carlos texted me earlier in the day said he was ready to start, and so I just changed my mind.

Elliott and both the players, I know the emotions are fresh after this right now, but could you guys put into perspective what you all accomplished this year, making it here for the first time since 1968, and just maybe the foundation is set going forward.
I think you said it. We laid a foundation for future classes. Hopefully we can get some good classes next year, and the years following that and make some trips back here and win it for the ACC and for North Carolina State.

We've never won one, and the ACC hasn't won one in 50 years. So we definitely want to come back and try to change that.

Trea, Hobbs was throwing so many fastballs today. When you know a guy is just going to come after you with fastballs, what made it so difficult to hit?
He kind of turns a little bit and hides it pretty well. And then, like he said, as soon as he hides it, it's hard to lay off the high ones, and that's kind of what UCLA did to us and also what Hobbs did to us. And we just couldn't make the adjustment in the past two games, and it obviously hurt us.

Carlos, Elliott described I guess what led up to the decision to start you. If you could take us through it maybe from your perspective and how did you feel out there and how do you think the arm held up and all that kind of stuff?
Obviously I definitely wanted to pitch today. I felt good. I felt good yesterday and the day before, when we were catching.

I felt good out there. I had some vilo. It came and went, I guess. And the slider was-- it was pretty good and effective. I felt overall pretty good.

Elliott, if you could address the question I asked earlier just about the foundation you all set and getting here and what that means to you.
I know these guys, they're proud. We just talked in the locker room a little bit. We've got a proud group of men in there. They're extremely proud of their accomplishments, 50 wins. Kinda how they did it down the stretch. The last 40 games, you know, we dug a hole early with some injuries and sticking together in such a tough league and such a tough nonconference schedule, the way they hung together, horrible spring weather, just-- they know where they were and they know where they ended up.

And I think they're very proud of themselves, and we got so close to the'68 team, and so they kind of relieved NC State's history through them and also the 30-30 thing that Wit put out, that they got a little bit of NC State history that I relish but they really don't know.

And so I think if they came out here, they understood that they represent so many people that played at NC State. And our fans have been tremendous. A lot of them came out here and spent a lot of money to enjoy this great city as we did.

And I think they understood the torch they carry for so many people and so many fans and how well they're loved in the city of Raleigh, and I think they're very proud.

Coach, the play at the plate there in the fourth inning, were you satisfied with the explanation that you got, and how big of a momentum changer do you think that was given the emotions of that play?
I wasn't satisfied with the explanation. No, not at all. It was a terrible explanation.

But actually, I didn't really get one. Kind of hard to talk to. But with that being said, I certainly didn't want to get thrown out at this stage, at this great event. And I don't know how long Carlos would go if I don't stick around. May not come off the mound.

But I just-- obviously, maybe the guy's hand got in. The ball just beat him. For me, you know, the dugout is so far from home plate. The ball just beat him so much that obviously maybe we didn't block the plate good enough. But with the rules, it says you can't block home plate. They put those rules in a few years ago. You can't block home plate.

So if you can't block home plate and the guy, Mike, can get his hand in, then I've got to make a decision. I told Brett Austin make sure you always block home plate and we'll talk about the rule later.

I don't know whether he got it right or not. I don't know. Instant replay will always tell you. Maybe they get their hand in. That's the beauty of baseball for me. Please don't ever have instant replay in baseball. That's one of the great joys still of this game and just one of the beauties.

Golf is a pure game. This is a pure game. Let's leave it alone. But if he got his hand in, fine, but, no, the explanation I wasn't too fond of.

Carlos, how disappointing is it that maybe the first two runs with the error and center field and the hit by a pitch, kind of uncharacteristic for you?
Those things happen. Just a bunt, pretty easy double play. They're in the center. That happens to any baseball player. I wouldn't call it uncharacteristic at all because everybody does it. So there you go.

COACH AVENT: I would like to add to what Carlos just said. You asked if it changed the game. Obviously that's a big run. But I'm pretty sure I'm right, because I know Carlos so well. He's such an emotional person, and I bragged about how he channels his emotions, but he has great pride. Obviously he was very upset at that call.

And my first instinct was to keep him in the game. They can do without me quite well. But keeping him in the game was important.

But I think it was the next inning he goes out and hits the first player. And he hadn't had-- I think he maybe walked Stubbs. Hadn't hit a batter or come close. His command was impeccable. And I thought maybe he still carried that emotion of that call out to the next inning.

Final Statement:
We'd like to thank the city of Omaha, everybody, everybody that's touched us from the Hilton Hotel which was phenomenal to everybody with this organization, to all the sports writers.

Kendall Aaron, you know what you all mean to us and how well you've covered us, and all the sports writers from Jeff Gravely, to everybody that came out here from my hometown, from Raleigh, we appreciate it. And you know my friend, you have been awesome.

And we appreciate and this city is wonderful, this event is wonderful. And we hate we gotta go home but we have thoroughly enjoyed it. Thanks for having us.

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