Monday with Mike Fox

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. --- Inside Carolina caught up with UNC head coach Mike Fox after the Tar Heels were swept at NC State. With a mid-week game against Coastal Carolina and a weekend series against Miami coming up, the Tar Heels are now 30-8 (12-6 ACC).

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Can you give your impression of the weekend sweep at the hands of the NC State Wolfpack?
"Sweeps happen in this league. They happen and you just have to deal with them and move on. I was surprised how poorly we played for three days. I mean, we were not good. State had a lot to do with that. But we did not give ourselves a chance at all. You can say what you want to about the bad hop over first and if that does not happen we might win game one and you never know if you win game one what happens. But that is part of baseball. We did not do anything to recover from that. We did not defend. We did not pitch well and we certainly did not swing the bat well enough to give ourselves a chance. I am not a little bit but a lot shocked that we walked over here against NC State and not play the way we have played in the first 35 games."

Which of the three losses was the most disappointing? Friday night with poor plate discipline late in the game with an opportunity to win, Saturday night with all of the defensive miscues or Sunday where the team seemed not to be able to get anything going?
"Three losses. Really probably [Sunday] not even showing up and giving ourselves a chance. I mean I thought early on we just flared some balls in the outfield with no bat speed. We had a chance to move a couple balls and it was important maybe for us to get a run or two today. The whole weekend was disappointing."

Can you comment on the Tar Heel fans in attendance and the environment here at Doak Field this weekend with the NC State fans?
"It was a good crowd obviously. It was a pro-State crowd and they cheer for their guys. State plays well at home. I would like to have this kind of crowd at Boshamer every once in a while. It helps. It helps the kids play well. Certainly they might have turned their season around this weekend. Who knows? We all have a tough row to go and a lot of games to play. But it is amazing how a three-game sweep can help a team's confidence."

How does a team that wins a series in Tallahassee get swept by a team that was not on pace to qualify for the ACC Tournament before the series?
"It was simple. Every phase of the game they out played us. They certainly deserved to win and we did not do much right the whole weekend. We did not get any breaks and they made every one of their breaks. They out pitched us, they out defended us and they certainly out hit us. They hit with people in scoring position and they just beat us in every aspect in the three games. It is about as simple at that."

What did you see out of Kent Emanuel on Saturday in one of his shortest starts this season?
"We have to get him back on track a little bit. He did not look aggressive enough we didn't think. He was having troubles commanding his pitches and we have to get Kent back going a little bit."

Can you discuss your ejection from the Saturday night game - was it primarily because of your dissatisfaction with the balls and strikes calls?
"I was voicing my displeasure with my players but I just took it out on the umpire, because I can't yell at my players as that is not good coaching. So I yell at the one person on the field that I can yell at and it is halfway decent protocol."

There are different reasons for a manager preparing to get tossed from a game, either to light a psychological fire under the team or to show that you are willing to fight for them when they are looking flat...
"I know, but I did not want to be ejected. It is a useless thing really. It could be looked at both ways either that I was doing that or I am out of control. I do not really know if I want to be looked at either way. Certainly I am not out of control. You have got to try to protect your players a little bit, but it is very clear in the rule book with balls and strikes and if you are warned you cannot say anything else. It is just one of those things - it will not happen again. It was an emotional game and that is when he tossed me. I was trying to point out that it is an emotional game and when it is a close pitch and in a close situation and you hear a little bit of barking, just let it go."

The Tar Heels looked like they had some early momentum in the Sunday game but could not get base hits with runners on...
"We dodged a bullet the first couple of innings with them. They had the bases loaded twice and we got out of it. We started thinking perhaps it was our day, but we just did not hit very many balls hard today. I thought that Churma was 2-0 to a lot of hitters early and getting halfway decent pitches to hit but then we were hitting balls in the air. The ball did not jump off the bat for us and obviously when we did hit the ball on the nose they were making great plays against us in the outfield. It is just one of those days at the ball yard. I have seen it and you just get it over with and go home."

Can you discuss what Chris Munnelly showed you Sunday after struggling in his last start against Florida State?
"He was ready. You could tell the first inning he had good stuff and struck out three or four of the first five. But then he gets himself in a little bit of trouble with a walk and a base hit here and he got out of two bases loaded situations. And then they lead off the inning where they scored the four runs with a hit then we follow it up with a walk. Chris is just trying to nibble a little too much - we have to trust our defense. We have a good defense - we did not play very well over here but ... That is a good sign for us that he went out there with a little moxie and a little determination out of the gate pounding the strike zone but his curveball he could not command it and that hurt him."

Late in the game on Sunday you cleared the bench and the freshmen helped to break up the shutout, what was your perspective on that decision?
"I was proud of our young guys who came off of the bench and got some base hits. Certainly you prefer not to be shutout. A loss is a loss, whether it is by one run or by ten. They were trying to pick our guy off in the eighth inning in a 10-0 game. That tells me right there that they wanted the shutout. So it was nice to see some of our young guys get a base hit."

What do you make of Tommy Coyle's uncharacteristic struggles throwing the ball to first on a couple of hurried plays on Saturday night?
"We played very well defensively up until this weekend. I played second base here now a long time ago. Those things happen. You go to your left and you don't square up and don't have the ball right. You have to be careful not to overdo things and overplay it. I am not going to go over there and hit him a hundred ground balls and make him make a bunch of throws. Tommy takes a lot of pride in his play and we will be fine."

One of the things that I noticed this weekend was in Jacob Stalling's ability to dig balls out of the dirt with runners on base. Can you discuss his defense this weekend?
"He did not have much choice this weekend. He got a lot of practice in it this weekend."

Can you give an update on Zach Bernard or Jake Cole. Do you anticipate them getting any action this season or are you planning on redshirting them?
"Not sure yet. I am not sure exactly what their status is going to be. We have not made that decision at all about red-shirting anyone yet. Obviously, we do have to make decisions on the travel roster on the road. But, as of yet we have not made that decision yet."

Coming from the heights of knocking off Florida State on Sunday breaking a 25 game Sunday win streak in Tallahassee to being swept by NC State, what do you expect out of your team moving forward?
"I think I am going to find out in a little bit. This is our first and toughest weekend where we have lost three games and got swept. So I think I am going to find that out on Monday afternoon at practice and Tuesday night against Coastal Carolina and see if there is any residual or leftover from the weekend. I certainly hope not and we are going to do everything we can to ensure that it does not."

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