This Week With Mike Fox

Inside Carolina caught up with head coach Mike Fox after UNC’s series defeat at the hands of Miami. The Diamond Heels are 16-11 and 6-6 in the ACC as they hit the road this week at Elon on Tuesday before a three-game series at Clemson.

What positives do you bring out of the series loss against Miami - the team has continued the pattern of strong starting pitching and improved defense...
"Those two phases of the game we did excessively well and we have been doing that well for the past couple of weeks not just the Miami series. You know we are unbelievably disappointed that we did not win all three games but we certainly could have. That is that fine line between winning and losing in our league and you have to give Miami some credit. We certainly played well enough to win but it just did not happen for us. There are some great positive moments for our team and I'm proud of how we came out and won on Sunday."

Can you discuss getting sophomore Joe Dudek back out to play first on Sunday after showing a very patient approach pinch hitting in the prior games?
"Joe was a great story for us yesterday. He has had limited at bats since the season started after the first four or five games and he stayed with it. We put him in there to pinch hit and he looks at the ball good and he has drawn some walks. I had a hunch yesterday and we had a little chat and I felt like he was ready to put him in there and boy he probably got the biggest hit of the game with the double over the bag at third to extend the lead by two more runs. He also made a great pick at first base and I love seeing kids that have not had a chance to play stay with it and are ready when their name is called."

In ACC play the Diamond Heels have been fielding at a .984 clip as compared to .964 for the entire slate. Can you discuss the statistical improvement in league play?
"It is always an emphasis for us and we were disappointed as the season started with how poorly we were playing defensively and we have solidified ourselves a little bit for one reason or another and it has fallen into place for us with some different players out there. We played [Zach] Gahagan out there at third yesterday and he made a couple plays for us and Elijah Southerland our backup shortstop played second for us and played well for us and Warmouth has been terrific at short. We hope to keep seeing these guys play at a high level to give us a chance."

Junior outfielders Skye Bolt and Landon Lassiter have been performing more consistently at the plate recently. Can you discuss their offensive contributions?
"Landon has really been hitting the ball hard all year but he didn't have anything to show for it during a stretch there at Georgia Tech. Landon doesn't strike out and he moves the ball of course and his day for us the other day and Sunday getting six hits in eight at bats was crucial for us getting us back in the game in extra innings on Saturday. He is just a good hitter and he has shown that his whole career. Skye has been a little bit more consistent and he had a nice line drive to left for a sacrifice fly. He moves the ball and does not strike out a lot either and takes his walks. It is all about on base percentage and RBI for those veteran guys hitting in the middle of the order. We certainly need that kind of contribution to continue from them."

NCAA baseball has introduced a new ball with lower seams that could create more carry on batted balls. Do you feel that the new ball has had more of an effect on the college game than the effect of the winter weather on the team's preparation?
"Oh boy, that is a good question. I just read occasionally the statistics that home runs are up in college baseball and I think people are going to attribute that for the ball but I'm not sure about how the weather has played a factor in that or not. It could have a factor of preparation and guys getting into a rhythm and guys across the country have been playing in brutally cold weather. You can debate what that does and if it helps the pitcher help restrict the long ball, I don't know. I know from our experience watching our games I have seen more home runs in our 27 games than in seasons in the past. I think that that the ball has had more effect in my opinion."

Inside Carolina Top Stories