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April 24, 2014

Coming down the stretch run of the regular-season, the University will jump out of conference this weekend with a trip to Arkansas Pine Bluff before concluding the season with ACC series against Boston Collge, Maryland and Notre Dame. Head Coach Joe Jordano shares his thoughts on what the Panthers will have to do to finish out the season in winning fashion.

How do you feel coming down the stretch of the season?

Prior to our win against Clemson, we have struggled these past couple of weeks and have not been able to break out of it. With that said, we have not played well against our mid-week competition but have played fairly consistent on the weekend.  We just finished a very difficult part of our schedule, in particular the ACC schedule competing against four of the five top teams in the standings. Currently, we sit in a position to potentially mark a solid run at a playoff spot in the ACC Tournament and we need to pick up our intensity during mid-week games. In the ACC, every weekend is an incredible challenge and you must bring your "A" game or you will get beat. We have to keep working hard and competing.

How has the ACC compared to the Big East?

The ACC is arguably the best baseball conference in the country.  From top to bottom each team is very good.  I say to many folks that this is the "big leagues" of college baseball.  The stadiums, the fans, the excitement surrounding the games are big time. There were a few teams like that in the Big East but it is every weekend in the ACC. I also believe the margin of error is much smaller. In the ACC, if you make a mistake on either side you will pay for it. If you have runners in scoring position with less than two outs and don't move the baseball and score you may not have another shot at scoring for a few more innings. Likewise, if you make an error or walk a few guys, next thing you know there are three runs on the board.  Mentally and physically you have to be locked in on every pitch. This experience is certainly helping us.

You have several freshmen playing for you, how has their transition been? 

It has been pretty decent. There is no substitute for experience and we need to continue to get those young players as many reps as possible. They need to get a feel for the level of play that we are at and understand that this level of intensity is going to be there every weekend. These guys were playing in high school last spring and now they are facing some of the best in college baseball as freshmen. It will pay dividends in the future for sure.

Overall what is the biggest thing that has to happen down the stretch?

The easy answer is to just win. We just have to continue to do the things that we know every day. When we get away from our core principals we are not very good, but when we execute our plan we can compete with anyone.  We need to get more consistent at the plate and continue to minimize free opportunities for our opponents. If we get that corrected, we can be in the mix at the end of the regular season.  We definitely have a lot of work to do and I have a great staff that is working very hard and to every man on this team, we all feel we have a lot of good baseball to play ahead of us. Not to be cliché' but we have to take it one pitch at a time.

Stretch Run Q&A With Head Coach Joe Jordano

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