Elliott Avent Opening Statement:
I thought we played very, very well tonight. I thought Virginia played well tonight. Haseley is really good. That's a guy that played centerfield all year, and due to the injury to Kirby, they had to pull him out and pitch him down the stretch. He's competitive and a really good baseball player. I thought we hit the ball hard, right at people. But our guys stuck with it, didn't complain. They knew he was pitching good. And they just stuck with their approach and stuck with what we've done pretty much all year, that we've gotten better at things that we worked on. They just kept sticking with it and the next thing you know the big inning happened. I thought we played really well. I thought they played well. And we this that one inning.
Q. Ryan, this was your longest outing by a good 30 pitches. How are you feeling now, and what did it take to keep delivering this quality innings for the team?
RYAN WILLIAMSON: I felt great. After the first inning I felt like I slowed down a little bit and got a feel for my change-up and fastball. We're playing together right now. We're pulling for one another. We're playing as a team.
Q. Ryan, how does it feel knowing that you had a task to get as deep in the game as you could to set up for tomorrow, and you were able to deliver.
RYAN WILLIAMSON: Yeah, Coach Foxhall he just told me that this was my game. I was fortunate to pitch more than five innings. It was good.
Q. Bubby, can you just talk about your grand slammer? What you had and what it looked like and how it felt?
BUBBY RILEY: Well, my at bat before I felt like I got a little bit big with my swings. I went up there, I was actually striking the other way, and I was able to put a good swing on it.
Q. Bubby, obviously you kind of got it started with that home run in that doubleheader against Virginia. What was the feeling like on the team at that time contrasted with the way you guys feel collectively now?
BUBBY RILEY: Well, it's definitely -- there's a lot of excitement I guess in different ways. That home run against Virginia, I guess, kind of kick started us to where we are now, and with the win tonight. And this game -- it wasn't meaningless, but just had to keep that momentum going to tomorrow, to that championship game. It was nice to get a win tonight and we'll be ready to go by tomorrow.
Q. The coach always preaches about your leadership on the team, just give me your perspective as a leader of this club. And to kickoff the eighth inning with your double?
LOGAN RATLEDGE: I thought a lot of guys in front of me really showed me a lot, those guys were unbelievable leaders. And that team came together like this team has. But it was nice as a sophomore to be able to sit back and watch the way guys led, and it's really helped me to how I lead now and just try to lead by example. It's been a good year, and good things have happened.
Q. Can you talk about the big inning, how you got started and then what it was like being over in the dugout watching all that?
LOGAN RATLEDGE: We always say try to score every inning, and eventually it will lead to a big inning. Brock did a great job leading off the inning with a walk. When he's on base he's a huge threat, no matter what. He started off with a walk, and luckily pitcher was worried about him and got into a deep count, and he left a pitch on the plate and put a good swing on it and kind of went from there, and just kind of one after another.
Q. Questions for both seniors. Talk about what point in the season, just talk about at what point in this season do you feel like you got this going on the right track?
BUBBY RILEY: Well, I guess we were never really out of it. We had a lot of one run games. The key was never panicking, realizing that we were never out of it and we had the ability to come out of that hole and just we've had contributions from everywhere. Guys like Ryan's been doing it all year and Jake Fincher Ryan tonight was unbelievable, and that's been the key, contributions from everybody.
LOGAN RATLEDGE: And Bubby's home run, that definitely kick started us. But at the same time as he said, all year long, Florida State, all the good teams in our league, every team is good, but the elite of the elite. We weren't getting those big hits, we weren't executing when we need to. Now like he said we've got guys up and down the lineup, it doesn't matter who you are, we have confidence in everybody right now. That's been the big difference, everybody is contributing.
Q. Coach, it feels like even in a game that was "meaningless" you guys still played with energy. How do you define that and how does that happen? How does that start? And what displaying with energy mean? Is it hustle but not false hustle, that kind of thing?
HEAD COACH ELLIOTT AVENT: Yeah, it's kind of a doggedness and determination. If you play any game in baseball it's meaningless, or any game in life that's meaningless, I don't know if anybody can turn a switch and say this game means something, you have to play well.
What we've done all year pretty much is we've fought weather. The weather has been unbelievable. We lost five big games to weather. Two against Wilmington, home and away, and one against Iowa, that was ranked 14th in the country. We put a schedule together, but the weather didn't cooperate. We had a bad preseason. These guys hung with it.
But I think when you play the game it's supposed to be played, then you stay even keel. Tonight's game didn't have an impact on whether we played tomorrow or not, but certainly not meaningless. And if you take any approach to baseball that you just kind of play when you want to, you're never going to play well. I think this team has taken the approach that you play as good as you can play every day, and you play as good as you can every I think, whether you're down 9-2 or up 9-2, you've got to play the same.
Q. Can you just talk about the big inning, and what was like watching that?
HEAD COACH ELLIOTT AVENT: Well, it was such a good game, I mean -- we were just trying to figure out -- we knew we were going to hold pitches back from tomorrow. No matter what the outcome, we knew we weren't going to dig into tomorrow's pitchers. When he hit the ball to centerfield, McLain almost made a great play, but when they scored that run, I was hoping to get one or two. We made it 4-2. I hoped we had enough to finish this thing off. But when it got to 9-2, 10-2, I guess the great thing about that inning was the fact how it happened. We had a lot of balls, like I said, on the screws early. And always right at somebody or leftfield made a great play on the Shepard ball that had top spin, that I thought could get by. So they were making plays. And just stuck with our approach, okay, it's not going our way, they're not following, we'll do something different. They stuck with their approach.
Q. Talk about Williams and how meaningful that was, and how well it set you up for tomorrow?
HEAD COACH ELLIOTT AVENT: Ryan Williams is the best pitching -- he's unbelievable. This is who we expect him to be. And he hasn't always been like that. He's had great outings throughout the years. But he's been good in spots. And tonight was a very big stage because it's a game when he knew he had to go five or six innings for us. And that can be as much pressure as any game, no matter what is riding on it.
That's who he is. That's who he needs to be. That's who he needs to be for us the rest of this year and next year. This guy has really good stuff. You saw him. Good breaking ball, good change-up, and he throws 88 to 90. That's pretty good. I'll take that every day. We recruit that every day and it's hard to get. So I think he grew up a lot tonight and hopefully it's a sign of more to come.
Q. Do you know who is starting tomorrow?
HEAD COACH ELLIOTT AVENT: Right now we're leaning toward Piedmont. But Miami, like I said, they can just really hit. Miami really took a lot out of our bullpen last night to that 12th inning. But maybe not as loaded as we'd like to be, but we feel like we have enough there. So we've got to make a decision who is going to start, and it will probably be Jonny Piedmont.
Q. Your guy, Coach Gottfried, loves to say, have a hunch, get a bunch. Bubby Riley was on ice for you a month or two, and you set him up to pinch-hit against Virginia and 15 games later you have 13 wins in and you're vying for the ACC Championship. Did you see something in practice with this kid or what did you decide to unleash the fury with the Bubbs?
HEAD COACH ELLIOTT AVENT: Two years, we've seen a lot of Bubby Riley. He was drafted out of junior college. He made one of those SportsCenter plays last year against Florida State and ran to the fence. He came back from that a little banged up and missed a lot of playing time.
And so last year you've got to write that off. But there's been times when he may try to do too much, you know what I'm saying? And when he doesn't try to do too much he's a very good good ballplayer, like he said on that one ball, he was trying to get one run in with bases loaded there. And very big hit to right centerfield.
But this guy can really play, has a lot of tools. But it wasn't necessarily playing a hunch. Players I play, mostly, are players that are locked in and committed to the team. That's who I'm always going to play if I'm confused on anything. When I see an if you're a good teammate and you're committed to a bigger cause than your cause then I'm going to play that hunch, and that's what I did about Bubby, and it paid off.
Q. I don't think you could play Virginia again, maybe you can at some point, do you tell Bubby, every game now you're playing Virginia?
HEAD COACH ELLIOTT AVENT: Yeah, it's kind of amazing. But, no, I don't think it had anything to do with the orange uniform or anything like that. I think he believes in himself. But he had some big, big base hits waiting for us when we swept them. Two strike, two out hits, and catapulted us to sweep that series. He's been good down the stretch. Believes in himself in right field and doing a lot of things well.