VIDEO: Pack Players Talk Raleigh Regional

RALEIGH, NC-- Several NC State players met with the media Monday after the NCAA Tournament selections were announced. The Wolfpack will host the Raleigh Regional and welcomes Coastal Carolina, Saint Mary’s and Navy to Doak Field.

How worried were you about whether or not NC State would get to host a regional?
There was some doubt that a lot of the media has put out there about us losing the Clemson series, the Louisville series and then obviously losing the first two games of the ACC Tournament. There was some doubt put out there by the media but personally our team stayed confident. We knew we had the hardest schedule in the country, really strong RPI, we beat a lot of teams in the top-50 so overall we were confident that we were going to host here.

Is the ending of last season extra motivation now?
Most definitely. You always want to do better than the last [season]. We came up short last year. It was still a fun Regional down there at TCU. We are just hoping we can pull it out this year and keep on moving forward. I think we will so we will be good.

How is this team different from last year?
Obviously, it’s the players. We just have different leaders this year. Different guys have stepped up and taken leadership roles. We had a lot of seniors last year and this year we don’t have that many. Overall, we still have the same chemistry. We have always been a real close team.

How nice was it to hear that NC State would be hosting a Regional?
Great to hear. We play well at home. Having our own fans here and playing in front of those fans is easy for us. We are definitely excited to be one of the top-16. It is a good feeling and we are ready to go.

What do you know about the other three teams in the Regional?
Obviously, Coastal [Carolina] is the two-seed. We beat them earlier this year so we kind of know what they have. That should be, if it comes down to it, a good matchup for us. They are a very good team.

Saint Mary’s, the three-seed, I think this is their first postseason appearance ever. I really don’t know anything about those guys. Navy is the four-seed, I think they have got a pretty good pitching staff.

It is definitely not an easy Regional but it is postseason baseball. Nothing is going to be easy.

At what point do you start studying up on Navy and their number one starter?
Probably right now. I am sure Coach Hart is probably already trying to find some film on those guys. We will probably try to see who they have and what they have and set our game plan early as possible so in our mind we can know how to approach that game. I am sure we will start right away.

Has anyone ever told you what it was like at NC State in 2013 during the Regionals and Super Regionals?
Yeah, I have talked to some guys. They said it is unreal, having a Regional here and then eventually hosting a Super Regional here. It should be fun, it is postseason baseball which is always fun.

Is it helpful that you have played Coastal Carolina this season?
Yeah, that is a really good team. We are looking forward to playing them but we have to get by Navy first. We don’t really know much about Navy right now but we are going to find out really soon.

NC State hosting a Regional during your freshman season. How does it feel to get to once again as a senior?
I wasn’t on that postseason roster so I am really excited to be a part of a Raleigh Regional. We are ready to go.

How well do you think the schedule prepared NC State for postseason?
Especially down the stretch we played so many good teams and even in the tournament with Miami and Florida State and Georgia Tech, it doesn’t get much better than the teams we have played lately. We are ready to go. It has prepared us as much as we can be prepared.

How are you feeling physically?
I feel great. Nothing when I am, obviously, not pitching. When I am not doing any baseball-related activities I am fine.

Has Avent talked to you about possibly starting this weekend?
Yeah, we are actually going to try to come down to a final decision as if I am going to keep pitching or shut it down. The doctor read the MRI and said that this didn’t just happen. I didn’t just tear this ligament. I have been throwing with it for a long time. I have had some pain in my arm all season. I am just fighting through it.

What are impressions of the other three teams in the Regional?
Coastal [Carolina] is a great team. Even Navy the four-seed—that is probably the toughest four-seed that got announced in the bracket. We are ready. We are not afraid of anybody. We don’t fear anybody and we are just going to play to the last pitch. 

A couple days ago, Georgia Tech in the ACC Championship, routine fly ball to the center fielder and he missed it. We were really fortunate to win that game and if we won more game, if we beat Miami we are probably a national seed right now. Nobody might have saw that happening. We got the nine-seed so that is the difference between one more win. If we had one more win we could have been an eight-national seed.

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