This Week With Mike Fox

Head coach Mike Fox spoke with Inside Carolina after the Diamond Heels returned from Spartanburg, S.C. with a series victory over Rhode Island. At 6-3, the team added a Monday game at Liberty, will host VCU on Tuesday and then begins ACC play hosting a weekend series against Duke.

What made you decide to return Trent Thornton to closing this weekend while Reilly Hovis was unavailable to the team - and can you update Hovis’s injury status?
“Reilly just has a strained forearm, just kind of that flexor tendon and he is going to need a little rest and obviously we had the luxury of having Trent Thornton who has closed for us in the past, pitched out of the bullpen and of course started for us. What a great luxury for us to have. Of course we needed him on Friday. It is pretty amazing how a man can be your opening day starter and then three weeks later close two games on one day. It speaks a lot about Trent and his wanting to help out team win.”

Zac Gallen got his first start of the season on Saturday night. How did you assess performance?
“I thought Zac was sensational. He definitely got better as the game went on. I thought it was just hard luck. He gave up five hits but not one of them was hit from our viewpoint hard. Just placed one here and there and the base hit to right field he made a good pitch and the kid just hit it off the end of the bat and that is part of the game. He was pitching under some pretty tough circumstances and I thought he threw well. He had no walks and ended up with [nine strikeouts]. He really pitched well and deserved a better fate we just could not get him any runs.”

Wood Myers has inherited the starting shortstop position and has been swinging a hot bat. What is your perspective on his performance so far during his sophomore campaign?
“Wood is a good player. Everybody saw that last year. From an offensive standpoint obviously he has the ability to move the ball and he does not strike out. It was good to see him yesterday take a couple of walks because he is so aggressive and his on base percentage will continue to rise if he takes his walks. He has a good eye he is just very aggressive and likes to swing. He certainly has been a big catalyst for us offensively. His play at short has to improve, I don’t think there is any question about that. It is an important position for us defensively and it is a new one for him and I think he will continue to get better as the season goes on.”

Brian Miller made the most of his opportunity to start on Saturday at DH. What does he bring to the table for this team?
“Brian is an interesting story in the fact that he was a late addition to our program this past summer. A great surprise for us. He is very athletic and can really run. He is a really, really hard worker and has a good swing and good hands and usually moves the ball. Brought him off the bench down in Orlando and he got a couple of base hit and he gives us a different dimension with a kid who can run, bunt and steal a base. I think he just continues to be a work in progress especially defensively. He played shortstop at Millbrook High and we pretty much have had him all over the field, at second and in the outfield. He transitioned well to the outfield. I think Brian will be a really good player for us and getting an opportunity to play as a freshman is a credit to him.”

You’ve got a new pair of lettermen returning to the program as undergraduate assistant coaches in Matt Spencer and Jesse Wierzbicki this season…
“It is great having both of them back in the program to follow Josh [Horton] and Mark [Fleury] from last year. It is kind of interesting since we went so long without having any and then having two in back to back seasons. We had a taste of it last year what those guys can bring and how much input they can have in certain situations and how they can talk with all these young players. They both played different positions and had different roles when they were at North Carolina. So Jesse is looking at it from a catching and first base standpoint and Matt both pitched and hit and did the same in pro ball. It is great to have them as part of the program and they are willing to help our program in any way they can.”

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