Around the Bases with Jacob Stallings

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. --- Senior catcher Jacob Stallings is batting .350 with 12 runs and 9 runs batted from the cleanup spot for the No. 8 Diamond Heels. Inside Carolina caught up with the team leader after Tuesday's win.

What has it been like to handle a deep and young pitching staff?
"We have a lot of new arms. We had Luis [Paula] out there today. I have never caught him in a game yet I think as his first outing I wasn't in the game. He came out and did really well. In times like that you don't have the chemistry like I have with Kent [Emanuel]. So it is nice to be able get into a game with them and get that chemistry with them. In the fall it is a little different than in a game as the energy is a little bumped up. You have to know how to deal with each one and what their personality is. How to encourage them or get on them or something like that."

How do you balance your time with Coach Jackson working on your batting and offense and with Coach Forbes on preparing the pitchers for the upcoming games?
"Something that helps that is that Coach Forbes will put a scouting report on my wrist card of every hitter in their starting lineup that day. That really limits the time that I have to spend with him in contrast with Coach Jackson. Me and Coach Forbes have been calling pitches together for four years now so we are pretty much always on the same page. He will give me the option of calling a pitch or another pitch. He has confidence in me and usually we are on the same page. Then with Coach Jackson we don't get really in depth with our scouting reports of their pitchers as we like to stay with our approach and we don't like to change our approach just because of what the other pitcher does..."

How do you keep your swing honed with all your catching work?
"Coach Jackson makes himself available at all times. Wright State - that Sunday we came in at 8 in the morning and hit until breakfast. He is available any time and I credit that last hit to him because he really helped me make an adjustment that I did not realize I was doing. Obviously it resulted in a good outcome for the team."

A couple of weeks ago it came to light that Coach Woodard was going to have the opportunity to be the pitching coach for Orleans in the Cape Cod Summer League. What is your opinion on this opportunity for him?
"He told be that he might get that job, then he told me that he did get it. That is exciting for him to go up there and run his own pitching staff and get that experience under his belt. I know he will do a great job with it."

What has it been like from your perspective having the opportunity to use any bat with the waiver that Nike provided schools under contract with them?
"We brought a lot of different bats in this fall and used a lot of different ones. Everybody settled on the Easton or the Nike bats. It was what it was. I didn't mind the Nike and I still use it but a lot of guys like the Easton so if it helps them hit better then good."

Can you discuss the improvements that junior pitchers R.C. Orlan and Chris Munnelly have made this season on the mound?
"R.C. was really good for us at the end of last year too and kept getting better and better. His freshman year he hardly pitched for us - he has made tremendous strides. Chris obviously has been great so far this year too. His first two starts have been great. I don't think you can ask for anything more out of him. He is a guy that is going to bring it every single time he comes out. He works hard every day just like R.C. I think that is why they have continued to get better since they work hard every day."

Thoughts on approaching this five-game slate during Spring Break?
"It is something we have not done yet. We came out a little flat tonight for whatever reason. It definitely is taking up our Spring Break time. We go to Elon tomorrow then leave for Clemson the next day. But it is nice to do something like that with no school so you don't have to worry about a bunch of tests that week or something like that."

How does the team pay attention to what is going on around the ACC now that conference play has begun?
"We don't really talk about it that much to be honest with you. I know Clemson played South Carolina tough so I expect them to be really good like they always are. Miami played Florida tough this past weekend but they might be a little better than we might be expecting. Those teams are traditionally always going to be good and every weekend it really does not matter who is ranked higher. Anybody can beat anyone on any given night. We swept Virginia last year and they were ranked No. 1 in the country and N.C. State swept us. It is just one of those things and you have to bring it every night in the ACC."

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