Patrick Johnson Q&A

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. -- Inside Carolina caught up with Patrick Johnson after his complete game shutout of No. 1 Virginia on Thursday. The senior right-hander struck out nine of the 29 batters he faced in securing a critical series-opening victory for No. 13 North Carolina.

What is it like from your perspective as a senior to be able to go out and shut out the Cavaliers and ensure that this is not your last start at Boshamer Stadium?
"It is awesome. You really could not ask for a better way to go out as a senior against the No. 1 team in the country in Virginia. It was pretty awesome."

Did you have to sell Coach Fox on being able to go back out for the ninth inning?
"A little bit. It was not that hard but I did have to put in a little bit of work. He just asked me if I was having to tax at all and I stated that, no, I was fine and that was how it went. I was good."

Can you discuss the 8th inning when your pitch count was climbing and you ended up striking out the side?
"I think I went full count on all of them or at least two of them. I was just trying to make pitches and they were battling me and I was able to make a good pitch with a full count."

How were you able to translate the scouting report on Virginia into your performance this evening?
"It was pretty much on point with what Coach Forbes went over with us before. The guys to go inside on and the guys to stay away from. He pretty much had it to a T. Well, I did not have any walks tonight and that was a big thing for me, but basically, I threw fastball or slider the whole night. I did not throw one change up and I threw like two or three curve balls. I was able to locate my fastball down... they stood right on top of the plate and don't miss over the plate and keep throwing inside."

Can you talk about your confidence throwing your slider with Jacob Stallings behind the plate?
"He does such a good job of framing it and I know that Ido not have to throw it down the middle and I can throw it a little off and he brings it back. It definitely gives you a little more confidence."

Can you discuss the pickoff attempt and how you have worked on your move?
"It was the same pickoff it always do. He was just leaning the other way. To be completely honest I have always had fast feet. I have worked with Coach Forbes on my balk move to maybe get the runner jumping the other way. But that is the only thing I have done."

What did you think of Jacob Stallings' home run in the eighth inning?
"It was nice. He had not hit one in a while [March 9th against St. John's] and it was nice to see him swinging at will."

Last weekend Levi Michael and Jesse Wierzbicki combined for two hits over the entire weekend. Tonight they tallied five. Can you discuss their turning it around at the plate tonight?
"Just coming back and working with the coaches and stuff. That happens and you will have off weekends. They are not going to have an off season or something like that. They have been our best hitters the whole year."

Can you discuss Greg Holt's opportunity to pinch hit when Virginia brought in a left-handed reliever and knock in a run?
"Greg has been great all year. I do not really know how he does it. But he gets in there, puts his nose on the ball and takes a hack every time. It seems that good things happen every time he is in the box."

How is the team looking forward to getting back into the ACC Tournament and having enough pitching depth to make a run at the ACC Tournament and still be fresh for the Regionals the next week?
"Well, [for] the guys that were here last year and we had to go through not making the ACC Tournament and barely getting into the Regionals, it is really exciting because we know how it feels to be on the other side and I think we are going to go and take advantage of it."

How much pressure is there on the team with the next two games having national seed and regional implications in this series against Virginia?
"We feel that we can beat anybody anywhere, so we are not going to put too much pressure on ourselves, but we would definitely like to win the next two games. We have been even keeled all year and we don't get too high or too low. Things like the Saturday game at Georgia Tech we try not to let it bother us too much."

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