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ACC baseball is making things interesting

The Adam Gold Show / Adam Gold
The Truth Network Radio
June 7, 2023 3:43 pm

ACC baseball is making things interesting

The Adam Gold Show / Adam Gold

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June 7, 2023 3:43 pm

Duke is making waves in their series and Chris tells us a little more about what it’s like behind the scenes. Alex Stone has meant a tremendous amount to this team and Chris explains what he’s done and why he’s so proud of him. How does he manage the emotion and the anxiety with this group? What does the team do as a whole going into the game that has proved to be so successful for them? Do they have a plan or are they figuring things out on the fly? What does Chris want the guys going into each game with?


I do know that coming up this weekend, the Duke Blue Devils will be playing baseball up at Charlottesville against the University of Virginia, something that went well for them about a month ago, maybe a little bit more than a month ago, and Chris Pollard is back. Maybe I'm good luck, I don't know, but I'm happy to talk to you again. How you doing?

I'm great, happy to talk to you too. Yeah, I mean that's because we have more baseball to play. Obviously it went well in Conway. Talk to me about what Alex Gow did in, really for this, at least the second time this year, but giving you four innings of one hit ball at the start of that one allowed you guys to get out, get a bunch of runs, and get out in front of the game. Yeah, just an incredibly competitive effort coming back on short rest after pitching on Friday versus UNC Wilmington, and I really thought, Adam, that his stuff was as good as it's been all year.

He felt great. In fact, he asked to pitch on Sunday. He said, I'm ready, I'm available, I want to throw if you need me, and said, no, just be patient. You're going to pitch if we need you tomorrow, and came out. He came out, had the four pitch walks to start the first, and then really settled in, and after he came off at the end of the first, I said to Brady Kirkpatrick, our pitching coach, I said, man, it looks like his stuff's about as good as it's been all year, and sure enough, he went back out and put up three zeros behind it, and it was a tremendous outing for us. It was by far, by I think five outs, the longest outing you had from any pitcher in the regional.

Did you consider either not letting him go as long as he did, or when he got through four, did you go, well, I mean, why can't we let him keep going? So, you know, the formula that's worked well for us with Alex this year has been when he's gotten us two times through the lineup. You know, we on two different occasions sort of rolled the dice with him going a third time through the lineup, once at Clemson and once at Boston College, and in both occasions, it kind of blew up on us, and so we've been content to get two times through the lineup, whether that's, you know, whether it winds up being three innings or four innings or a couple of times, he's been super efficient, and he's gotten us five innings going twice through the lineup, but, you know, they were at the eight non-spot in their lineup, and I was a little tempted to, you know, to run it back out there and tempt fate, but especially with Charlie Beilenson having already thrown three times in a regional, but we kind of stuck to our script, and it paid off. Chris Pollard, Duke baseball coach, is joining us here on the Adam Gold.

So these are all temptations. I'm glad you resisted the temptation of doing something like that, and meanwhile, your team continues to hit, and I remember the series in Charlottesville, and I think you guys posted well over 20 runs in the series in taking two of three. I thought that was a pitcher's ballpark.

You know what? It's interesting because it can play either way. Depending on what direction the wind blows, it can be a really good hitter's park and lend itself to home runs, and, you know, on some days it is a pitcher's park, but certainly hope it plays like a hitter's park this weekend. You know, a big part of our offense has been the ball leaving the ballpark, and so, you know, I'd like to see it play small. You hit like seven home runs there. Alex Stone, I think he homered in every game there. He just homered on Monday. Is he already there? Did he just like leave and go right up ahead of you guys?

We should. We should have given him the last two days off. He never gets a break. We should have let him go up there and just put his feet up for a couple of days, but instead we got him catching bullpens and hitting BP this morning. Just, I can't say enough about what Alex Stone has meant to this team. His toughness, his leadership, you know, he's handled, you know, we've thrown 19 different pitchers live in competition this spring, and we're routinely running four, five, sometimes six guys out on the mound in the same game, and the way he's juggled our staff and handled our staff and still provided great offensive punch, and we're not giving him any days off. He's just been a workhorse, and, you know, I'm proud of him. I mean, do you have to introduce him to the pitcher each time? Like, here's a new guy.

You might not have ever met this guy, but here's a new one. I tell you, he's done a really good job of kind of learning each guy's individual tendencies and quirks and understanding how to put each guy in a position to be successful, and you know, it's a lot easier on a catcher. It's a lot easier on a pitching coach and a coaching staff when you just, you have a starting pitcher that you know is going to go six innings and you run him in there and say, hey, we'll see you at the end of the sixth, and, you know, to do what he's done and to manage the staff and the way he has it, and not to mention, you know, so many of these innings are coming from true freshmen, and so, you know, he has to manage those guys and their heart rate and their adrenaline and their nerves, and it's been fun to watch, see him manage a game.

How do you use, and we're talking with Chris Pollard, Duke baseball coach here on the Adam Gold Show, they will take on Virginia in the Charlottesville Super Regional with a trip to the College World Series on the line. How do you manage the adrenaline and the emotion and the anxiety of your players heading up to a situation like this? Well, Adam, it's been an easy group because they're easy to coach in that regard. They have a really relaxed energy about them. They keep it very loose. They keep the dugout very loose. They don't let things get tight, and they've kept the focus on us. You know, they don't worry about the moment. They don't worry about the opponent.

They don't worry about the umpire. They just keep the energy and the focus on each other, and I think that's really allowed this group to be really, really good at staying in the moment. They don't get out of the moment, and, you know, so we haven't talked about that going into regional play. We haven't talked about that this week.

We just haven't needed to because this group does a really good job of managing that themselves. Chris Pollard is with a Duke baseball coach, and the last time we talked before the regional in Conway, I asked you if your team and the way you handle your pitching staff and really relying on your bullpen gives you an advantage in this format in this time of the year, and whether or not it's true or not, I am curious about this. I know you go into every game figuring maybe we just want to get, you know, six outs, or in the case of Alex Gao, get us twice through the lineup if you can, but do you have, this is the way I want it to work. We're going to use him, and then this guy is going to be the second, you know, the first guy out of the bullpen.

Do you have a plan, or are you super open-minded going in and just kind of figuring it out on the fly? We have a best case scenario, but then we have guys that we consider to be the best guys that we consider to be bridge guys. So, you know, we may, going into a game, we may say, look, in a perfect scenario, we want Gao to turn the ball over to Charlie Beilenson, and we want Charlie Beilenson to turn the ball over to Fran O'Shea, and Fran O'Shea turns the ball over to James Talon. That's kind of been a perfect formula for us this year, but then you've got really good bridge guys if something happens that you can't stick to that script, and, you know, Owen Prosh, who's a freshman left-hander, has been really good at coming in and matching up left-handers, and Adam Boucher, who's been a stalwart in this program and a captain, has been, you know, and actually started the year in the rotation and moved to the bullpen and handled that with so much class and so much selflessness. He's been an important bridge guy. So there's a lot of, there's a lot of guys that just really understand and embrace their role, and there's no ego to it. You know, we threw nine different pitchers in the regional, and it won't surprise me if we use nine again or maybe 10 or 11 this coming weekend.

Nine is nothing. You said you've used 19 different guys over the course of the year. Final thing, and I know that it doesn't really matter in terms of, you know, whether or not you win the series, what you guys did in Charlottesville back at the end of April, but it has to give at least some of the hitters some confidence that Breshears, Stone, Storm, Mets, I mean, everybody, everybody raked up there. Yeah, you know what, we should go in there with a comfort level. We're familiar with the ballpark. We know how the ballpark plays, you know, and we had a really good series with those guys at the end of April. Now, that being said, UVA is playing is playing exceptionally well right now. They've been one of the best teams in the country since May 1st. They're very well coached. They'll be prepared. That atmosphere will be amped up a notch or two without question. So, you know, we can take some comfort from the way we played there at the end of April, but at the same time, we know we've got a tremendous challenge in front of us, and we're excited about that.

Chris Pollard, good luck this weekend. I know we're going to have some of these games on the radio, and I can't wait to listen and to watch, and we'll talk to you next week. Cool? That sounds great. Thanks, Adam. You got it, Chris Pollard, Duke Baseball coach here on the Adam Gold Show.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-06-07 17:31:17 / 2023-06-07 17:36:16 / 5

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