Matt Clements/Inside Carolina

This Week in UNC Baseball with Mike Fox

Inside Carolina caught up with UNC head coach Mike Fox after the weekend sweep of Oklahoma State. The 5-1 start has the Diamond Heels ranked in the Top 10 as they host Winthrop on Wednesday, and their last non-conference weekend series against Fairfield.

After winning all three games this past weekend in walk-off fashion -- including a game-winning single from senior Eli Sutherland starting his first game -- what did the sweep mean to this team?
"Well, first of all I am just happy for our team and certainly happy for Eli. He is such a wonderful kid and a senior who is probably the most well liked and respected member of our team. He is humble and you could just kind of feel everyone pulling for him. I had a lot of confidence that he was going to move the ball there. It was a great story and a good inning obviously and an incredible weekend of baseball for us...

I am uncertain if I have ever seen a series where all three games were won with walk-off hits...
"I can't recall that I have either. People have asked me and I would have to think that would be something I would remember in years past but I don't. I certainly will remember this weekend."

J.B. Bukauskas went 4 2/3 innings in his first outing and only 2 1/3 on Saturday. Do you think that his taking the summer off from competition is affecting his performance in the early part of this season?
"Having this summer off I don't think is that relevant as he needed to and he threw this fall for us. I think it is just a matter of J.B. just calming down. I think he has some adrenaline going out there and power pitchers when they try to overthrow they lose that command and that command is priority number one. Any pitcher that gets behind hitters will find themselves in a jam at times and one mistake and they jump on you early. We still have unbelievable confidence in J.B. It happens sometimes and you don't come out of the gate exactly like the way you want to. He's a very mentally tough kid and he will go back to work today and do what he needs to do to be ready for a good start this weekend."

Freshman catcher Cody Roberts has earned every start so far in the season. What has he shown the coaching staff at the plate and behind it to earn that responsibility?
"Cody is very athletic and that always helps no matter what position. It allows you to develop a lot quicker and figure things out faster. It is pretty easy to see that arm strength that he has. We actually had him at third base in the fall and he came in as a catcher, pitcher and infielder so we were not quite sure where he was going to fit. We have not seen him on the mound yet but he was probably an inning or two from pitching for us this weekend. We have just been very excited about him and all our catchers really. I did not start the season expecting to see Cody catching all six games but he is very durable so far and we really like what he has done at the plate. He moves the ball and everyone saw the great bunt that he laid down in the 9th inning. There is a lot there to be excited about, which we are."

What pitchers are in contention for mid-week starting roles and what pitchers would you and (pitching) coach (Scott) Forbes like to get more experience on the mound this season?
"More than likely we are going to start J.T. Rogoszewski - we call him 'Rogo' - against Winthrop. He is freshman from West Virginia and we are excited to see J.T. out there and see how he does. He has had a good preseason for us. He is a strike thrower and has two very quality pitches. We have got to continue to get some guys out there, but you will see the guys we went with for the first two weekends primarily with the guys that we are going to go to if they are ready. Kyle Datres is still in the mix. We are just resting a bit of an arm issue with him right now. If he gets healthy he will be another guy in the mix out of the bullpen and so is Cody [Roberts]. So you know we had Chris McCue if we went into extra innings on Sunday. He was up and throwing in case the game went into extras. We did like the fact that the relievers that we used in Hunter Williams and A.J. Bogucki were able to go out three days in a row and be effective their second and third outings, which was a big factor in our winning this weekend."

The team only had one error this weekend. Logan Warmoth has played very steady defense at shortstop and has showed improvement at the plate to boot...
"He has improved and that is what you want from your freshman to sophomore year. Your sophomore year is always more difficult. I mean it just is - especially when you play a lot as a freshman as [your opponents develop] a scouting report and you have to continue to work and get better. We always thought he was a very solid, very sure-handed shortstop but the play he made on a ball in left field that dropped in between him and Tyler Lynn -- hat was probably the biggest play of the game, to be able to throw that ball over his shoulder and get the force at second there late in the game. Instead of the bases being loaded they go first and third and we get out of the inning. That was an unbelievable play. We feel as good with Logan Warmoth at short for us as we have in a long time that he is going to make plays for us. It is exciting to see him improve and hit in the five hole. He is a good player."

He reminds me of Ryan Graepel at short...
"A little bit, Grapes didn't play early on in his career like Logan had. But you are right, if you hit the ball to Ryan Graepel you were out. [Laughs] He always made a good accurate throw. That is something you are always looking at from your shortstop is accurate throws. He took a lot of pride in his defense and that shows."


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