PC: Pack Talks FSU Loss

DURHAM, N.C. -- NC State's Elliott Avent, Logan Ratledge, and Andrew Knizner discuss the loss to FSU.

NC State PC

HEAD COACH ELLIOTT AVENT:  Just really a great tournament put on by the Durham bulls.  The ballpark and the City of Durham, just really great.  Great thing for the ACC.  Congratulate Florida State they played extremely well.  They played not saying as good as they played, but very, very well. 
We played well today, just a couple of opportunities we didn't take advantage of and a couple other things, but you can't mistake the way Florida State played, very outstanding.  Very proud of our ballclub, we played well all year basically, we've never really played bad all year, it just seems like we're playing a lot better.  We got tougher, a little hungrier, a little smarter as the season wore on, which is what you're supposed to do.  Want to congratulate our team.  They played well from start to finish.  And very proud of our guys, just very disappointed that we're going home without the championship.

Q. Can you talk about, describe what Boomer did well, he's got a change-up that was working well for you today?
LOGAN RUTLEDGE:  Obviously he's a good pitcher.  He's had a lot of success.  Flew fastballs early, trying to get guys taking fastball, and obviously the command he has of all three pitches, he got guys worrying about his fastball.  He did a great job keeping them off balance. 
ANDREW KNIZNER:  Yeah, same thing, what he said.  Boom was locating all speeds, change-up, slider, he threw a pretty good game.  We've got to give him some credit. 

Q. What is it like to be named to the ACC tournament team?
LOGAN RATLEDGE:  Obviously it's a great accomplishment, but at the same time it's not something to worry about.  You come out every day, and support the game, but it's not anything to worry about.  Two.

Q. Logan, is this just a time to tip your cap or do you feel you left something out there tonight or lost an opportunity along those lines?
LOGAN RATLEDGE:  I wouldn't say we lost any opportunities.  Obviously he made a lot of good pitches when he needed to but at the same time we needed some swings at the time we needed it, and today that didn't happen.  Early in the game we had a couple of opportunities ask didn't take advantage of it.  But at the same time that's baseball.  It's not something you can come out every single day and be pretty successful.  It's just baseball, and we'll get ready for next weekend. 

Q. Logan or Andrew, what did you guys learn about yourselves, your team this week, obviously today's result wasn't what you wanted, to go 3 and 0 to be in this position, what did you guys learn this week? 
ANDREW KNIZNER:  This team has been, all year we've been playing very well.  And I think this weekend it kind of showed everybody on the team that we can win the tight games.  When we play with confidence we can compete with anybody in the country, beating Miami, the top 5 or whatever they are.  It gives us confidence going into a Regional that we can play with the best teams in the country. 

Q. Coach, we had two really unusual plays, the drop fly that resulted in a run scoring.  And then, for lack of a better term, Fielder's choice double play that got you out of the next inning.  In your years of watching baseball, have you ever seen any one of those.  And how unusual to see them both in one game?
HEAD COACH ELLIOTT AVENT:  You know, if you stay around baseball long enough you'll see something you haven't seen before.  And in Miami's game I've gotten commented on, I haven't seen that.  And today with the infield fly, it was just -- I'm not sure what happened there, I'm not really sure what happened (laughter).
I do think they got it right, I'll give them credit for that.  They got together and got it right.  Sometimes that's hard to do when it looks like maybe you should have made the call.  But evidently two of the guys did make the call.  First and third I heard did make the call.  I don't know, it just seemed very unusual. 

Q. Coach, you mentioned that the team has played pretty well all year long.  From where you were maybe five or six weeks ago, when you're playing well, but just losing those tight series to where you are now, what's the difference?  Can you put your finger on exactly what has helped this team figure out how to win those games?
HEAD COACH ELLIOTT AVENT:  I think it's leadership.  And I've said it over and over again.  It's leadership.  Guys that were sitting here today, Preston Palmeiro, Bobby Riley, Chance Shepard has grown so much this year.  It's -- today's athletic world, it's all about -- a little bit about me and a little bit about what I can do.  And what can happen good for me.  And Howie get rewarded.  And these guys have been about the bigger picture for the whole year, instead of themselves and that's because of people like Logan Ratledge.  What he said last night I thought was one of the great statements, when you asked him how he was such a great leader, and where he got that and he said he learned it from the World Series team.  And that's what you hope happens.  You follow for a while and then you learn how to lead.  I don't think you're born to lead like some people say.  I think you have to learn how to lead.  And you can't learn how to lead until you learn how to follow.
I don't think anything changed.  Most people quit when things stop going your way, quit and blame somebody else for it.  This club understood how it is.  I've seen teams that lost a lot of close games in baseball and football and they continued all throughout the year.  They turned it around with the same players and win all those close games.  And I think it's about confidence and believing in yourself and not giving up.  And that's what this club did, about the leadership that allowed that to happen. 

Q. Coach in the fourth inning you took Johnny Piedmonte out, was that always your plan or were you just going with the flow of the game when you made that change?
HEAD COACH ELLIOTT AVENT:  No, Johnny actually pitched very, very well.  He had a little better slider going today than he normally does.  He didn't have great command of his fastball, had a good fastball.  But the main thing is just the loaded bullpen. 
And I think when I took him out we had a guy that we could throw a breaking ball to, and we get the ground ball, looked like it kind of skipped up on Joe.  Joe is about the best third baseman than I have ever coached, looked like it hopped up, probably end in a double play. 
But it's funny, when you make about three mistakes on pitchers all day, and they hammer every one.  You have to tip your hat to Florida State, that's unfortunate, but like you said, tip your hat to them, they were very good today. 

Q. You talked, you liked the way this team was playing all year overall.  And obviously things have clicked coming into the tournament.  How much better do you feel after seeing it in this kind of a situation, this kind of pressure in pool play, regardless of what happened today.  How much better do you feel going into the ACC tournament having seen what you've seen this week?
HEAD COACH ELLIOTT AVENT:  Yeah, we thought this would happen.  I thought this would happen.  But you always want your thoughts to come realistic and come true.  And that's what I thought would happen.  We've actually always played better this year the bigger the stage, the bigger the crowd, the more important the situation.  Some people turn that into fear.  We've been able to turn that into a little better focus and do a little better.  And so I was glad to see that we did that, especially that Miami game. 
I talked to Chris Barr today, the great first baseman from Miami, talked to him yesterday, and he kind of commented the same way I felt about that 18 inning game a few years ago to Carolina, and a lot of our players have said the same thing.  But Chris said, he told me, Coach, I really hated losing that game.  Even losing that's the best game I ever played in, been a part of, so much fun.
So you grow from all things.  I'm just proud of our guys.  And if we learn -- we played very well.  But you always want to get better.  The better you play the better you want to get.  And if we can take a couple of lessons from this week, and a couple lessons from this year as we've gotten better, we'll get a little better, hopefully we're celebrating a championship next Sunday instead of being on this end. 

Q. I know you felt good coming into today.  How much do you share with your guys?  I know it's been 23 years since you won this tournament?
HEAD COACH ELLIOTT AVENT:  You don't talk about that at all.  You don't talk about that at all.  You can't tell somebody to want it more than they want it.  How much they want it you might talk about.  But they wanted it.  There's no question about it.  So nothing was said at all.

Q. You mentioned the crowd a little bit.  Can you just talk about how great the crowd was the last three nights?
HEAD COACH ELLIOTT AVENT:  Yeah, I think our fans just -- it's amazing.  I mean talk about having it here in Durham and the amount of people you can draw.  It seems every time ACC was playing, they had the biggest crowds.  We had a loyal fan base.  But I think they're loyal to NC State, no matter what sport we're playing.  They've proven they'll come out and football, basketball.  But I think they get closer to certain types of ball clubs.  I know in basketball this year, I got close to this club the way we played basketball.  NC State, you're going to support them, but sometimes you get a connection how hard they play and the energy.  I think the fans got drawn into this ballclub, not only about how well they play, how hard they play, but over and over how they're carrying themselves.  Because you want to be proud of your ballclub.  When they win you want to be proud of your ballclub, when they lose.  And I think this ballclub has earned the respect of all their fans. 

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