This Week With Mike Fox

Inside Carolina caught up with head coach Mike Fox after UNC’s first series victory at Georgia Tech since 2009. The Diamond Heels are 14-9 (5-4 ACC) and head into a four-game week hosting Appalachian State on Tuesday and then Miami this weekend.

Can you discuss the difficulty and importance of winning a road series in the ACC and in particular at Georgia Tech this weekend?
"It is obviously very important. You get five opportunities here in the league to go on the road and winning on the road is obviously very important as well as taking care of business at home. We've had our troubles at Georgia Tech - to be able to come back and win the game on Friday night after they tied the game late and then to lose a heartbreaker in the first one [on Saturday] and then to come back and win the second one was a credit to our kids, their toughness and resiliency."

What was the key to win the series?
"I think the big key for us at Georgia Tech and really in the league games we have played is that we have played much better defense and pitching much better. We got three quality starts with a great start from Zac Gallen on Friday and we got nine hits - but we were able to capitalize on those and get guys up there in scoring position and move the ball. I think we only struck out I think four times on Friday night and really only 14 or 15 during the weekend as compared to 30 of theirs. Playing good defense, getting good starting pitching and putting the ball in play are the little things that certainly help you win."

Can you discuss what Adam Pate brings to the table?
"Adam is probably the leader of our team. In the locker room, the dugout and he is the ultimate and consummate team player. He is always ready and I think his teammates have a great deal of love and respect for him. When we called on him he has come in and produced. He does create havoc on the base-paths. He can really run and other teams know that. He dropped that bunt down against Davidson late to give us a chance and he is a really hard worker and he is glad when the team has success. We are doing everything that we can to get him on the field as much as we possibly can because I think he makes a difference for our team."

In addition to Pate, who you just mentioned, what other position players are the leaders that teammates look to for confidence and support?
"Well, again, you have to start with Adam. He is just always the same every day. Encouraging and exciting - even the same when he plays as when he doesn't play. Adam just gets it. We have other players but I think that Adam stands out certainly above the rest. I think Korey Dunbar has done a good job of talking to players and obviously he had a terrific weekend at Georgia Tech and led us down there offensively and I think his teammates have a great deal of respect for him as well."

Can you discuss senior Benton Moss's return to the mound and how effective he has been so far this season (striking out opposing batters at a 14.47 per 9 innings rate)?
"That was really nice to see him back out there. It certainly made a big difference in the series down there to have a senior and a veteran going out there to pitch game three with the series on the line with that experience and the calmness that shows. The start he got was huge for us. We were not sure how he was going to throw after not pitching for three weeks, but he looked like the same old Benton to us. He was really locating his fastball early on and his breaking ball was very effective and he was throwing it for strikes. He did get some key strikeouts for us making guys chase. First pitch strikes are the key for every pitcher, but really, really important to Benton so they can't sit on his fastball and they have to respect that breaking ball when they are behind in the count."

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