After sweeping BC - the first ACC sweep of the season in the midst of a 35-inning streak of not giving up an earned run - what are your takeaways from the weekend series?
"That is kind of hard to believe in this day and age. Our pitching this week was sensational and certainly this weekend with Zac [Gallen], J.B. [Bukauskas] and Benton [Moss] just went out there and pitched at the highest level. Very, very impressive - I don't know that I have ever seen a weekend of pitching like that in all of my time."
Joe Dudek had a spectacular play this weekend at first to cement the 1-0 victory on Friday night. He's batting .290 while slugging .484 with a .500 on base percentage. Can you discuss his performance so far in his second year with the Tar Heels?
"Again I talk about great stories because coaches are always looking for players that they can use for examples. Joe certainly has improved from last year and he played for us early in the year then went a stretch without getting on the field and now at this important part of the season he's back on the field for us and playing at a high level. That is a credit for Joe and his character, just being a good teammate and continuing to work. He certainly made a couple of sensational plays this weekend. Obviously the one on Friday probably saved the game for us. Who knows but I have never seen a game end with such an exciting defensive play."
With two conference series remaining, the Tar Heels have the 3rd best record in conference play in the ACC, are in second place in the Coastal behind Miami, and have the No. 8 RPI and No. 15 strength of schedule according to WarrenNolan.com. What does your team have to do to continue to vie for a post-season berth?
"Well, we certainly have to continue to pitch well -- maintaining the level of the last 35 innings is probably a little unrealistic, but certainly we can pitch well down the stretch, which we will have to. It is amazing how well defensively we have played I think since [Logan] Warmoth has been at short. We are fielding almost .980 over the last 29 games and only made 22 errors so we certainly have to continue those two phases of the game and continue drawing our walks and looking for an opportune time for a base hit. We need to maximize our scoring opportunities as best we can. We need to continue to get guys healthy and playing at a high level."
Looking over the team leaders for sacrifice bunting this season - Logan Warmoth has 10 and Korey Dunbar and Alex Raburn are tied with 8. Which of the Tar Heels are you most confident in getting a bunt down to move runners over at this point of the season?
"Alex Raburn probably has to be at the top of the list. He is good at it and has good technique. He has the right attitude, which is important, and he understands the importance of getting a bunt down. We are getting better at this phase of the game but we are not where we need to be. But, Korey Dunbar has improved greatly. Our guys that can run a little bit - [Brian] Miller, [Zach] Gahagan, [Skye] Bolt all those guys you saw. And Landon Lassiter finally dropped a bunt down for a base hit, which is something that we have encouraged him to do and improve on throughout the course of his career since third baseman just play way back there on him. It was nice to see that happen and for him to get a stolen base - because we have to take advantage of what the defense gives us and bunting is a big part of that."
Trevor Kelley has led Division I pitchers in appearances for much of the season - can you discuss his record-setting pace and importance to the Tar Heels?
"It is probably overstating it but Trevor Kelley has been our savior. He has been phenomenal. I don't know how else to describe it. He is enjoying it and having the time of his life. He is a senior so it gives you a good feeling having a kid like that in the program doing everything possible to help his team. He is a team-first kid. There is no way of getting around that. He cares for his team. I am having fun watching him and just watching him have some success. I don't care if he breaks the record or not I just am enjoying watching him have success, having fun and smiling."
This Week With Mike Fox
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