Around the Bases with Tommy Coyle

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. --- Inside Carolina caught up with sophomore second baseman Tommy Coyle after UNC's victory Sunday over Miami. The soft spoken sparkplug from Chalfont, Pa. leads the Diamond Heels in stolen bases (14), runs (43) and is tied for the team lead in base hits (55).

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While shooting some photos during the game I happened to run into your grandmother - what was it like to have family here to support you?
"It was fun. All my grandparents came down this weekend along with my uncle. I think it is only their second time being down here. So it is fun having them down here. They are my biggest cheerleaders and they are right above the dugout."

They mentioned that your brother, former UNC 2010 signee and current Red Sox farmhand Sean, had the day off and was watching you play today on the CSS broadcast in Florida. Have you had a chance to see how he is doing and talk with him about his experiences in the minor leagues?
"Yeah, I have been in contact with him. He is starting in low-A in Greenville, South Carolina and he is doing well and he is still adjusting. He has some power numbers early but is still trying to figure it out with his starting in pro ball. It is really cool and I am happy for him and everything but I was looking forward to playing with him -- but things worked out and he could not turn that kind of money down so I am happy for him."

Colin Moran appears to be the big beneficiary of your brother's decision by taking over the open position at third base.
"He has been doing great. He has been swinging the bat and playing great defense. Third base is kind of a tough position and for him to slide right in there pretty smoothly ... he is doing a great job and doing everything we could ask for."

Can you discuss your comfort level in your second season starting at second base?
"I think that (the errors were) kind of a fluke over at State, but I felt a lot better this year than last year and I feel like I have improved a lot. I am trying to stay positive and keep my confidence up and try to stay consistent out there."

What is your relationship with your double play partner Levi Michael at short on and off the field?
"I think we have good chemistry. We are always talking and joking around and trying to keep it light out there. I think we mesh pretty good and we have a feel for each others' game. So it makes a big difference when you have someone out there that you can trust and kind of rely on."

How was the move to shortstop when Levi Michael was out earlier in the season?
"I think I was pretty prepared. I have played shortstop all of my life. I would not say that it was my primary position but I feel pretty comfortable over there. You know that he was hurt a little bit over the fall so I got some work in over there so that is how I was prepared for it. It was not a hard move over."

What kind of glove did you use in high school and what was it like to adjust to a Nike glove here in college?
"I used a Rawlings Pro Preferred in high school. They are a little different but they are fine. They do a nice job with how they look and everything but you know they are not really a huge baseball glove [manufacturer] when you first think about it but they do a pretty nice job with the gloves."

Jesse Wierzbicki has been starting at first base this season after catching last season. How has he performed in your view?
"He has done a great job. I do not believe he has made more than two errors over there. He is pretty smooth for a big guy and again he is doing everything you could ask for over there."

What has it been like to see freshman pitcher Kent Emanuel succeed right away and then to see him pitch a gem in such a big spot against Miami after struggling a little bit previously?
"That was huge. We have all the confidence in the world in him and he is the guy we want out there in the situation we were in today after losing two games. He is a hard worker and probably one of the hardest working pitchers that we have got. And he is real mature and knows what he is doing and he has got all the confidence in the world in himself and that is what you need. You saw him at his best (Sunday) and it is fun to be out there."

There is going to be a contest for the Gardner-Webb game where the fans get to vote on walk up music. What would you campaign for with your walk up music and what would you like to avoid?
"I like rap music so it would have to be one of those. I would probably say [avoid] country. I know it sounds weird being in the South now but I am not a huge country fan."

What's your perspective on Jacob Stallings's play -- as he is approaching the single season caught stealing record currently owned by Colorado Rockies backstop Chris Iannetta with 24 -- since you are on the receiving end of some of those throws at second base?
"He is a real good catcher. He has real quick hands and has a hose for an arm. On top of that he handles our pitchers well. Throwing out the runners you can tell he loves to throw the ball and he is pretty good at it. It is a good combination to have."

Can you discuss the middle infield's job in trying to slow down runners on pickoff plays at second to keep them from stealing third with a running start?
"Usually for pickoffs me or Levi [Michael] will signal to the pitcher. We have not really done a lot of that this season. Usually the coaches preach that it is kind of up to the pitchers to look back and look at the runners feet to see that they are stopped. Me and Levi just try to hang in there depending upon the batter for which of us is holding them. Just try to slow their feet down to try and make sure that they don't have some momentum moving over there to third."


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