Matt Clements/Inside Carolina

This Week in UNC Baseball with Mike Fox

Inside Carolina spoke with head coach Mike Fox after UNC's series loss at Virginia. The Tar Heels (25-11, 9-9 ACC) host Coastal Carolina on Tuesday, William and Mary on Wednesday, and then head to Wake Forest for a weekend series.

This weekend the team some control issues on the mound. As a coaching staff how do you adjust to the human element of how the strike zone is enforced by different home plate umpires?
?"Our pitchers have to deal with the strike zone because it is something that is out of our control. So you can talk about it being wide or being small and you can say what you want to about it but the bottom line is that you have to adjust to it. That is something we did not do yesterday. There is very little that you can do … It is the nature of the weekend when you have three different guys back there calling balls and strikes. You would like for them all to be pretty similar in that regard but that is not the case."

Do you have an update on the injury suffered by starting shortstop Logan Warmoth after leaving the game on Sunday?
?"Logan has done that before, sort of popping his shoulder out. I don't have an update this morning but it is not a total dislocation like you see or hear sometimes with shoulders. He has done it before probably two or three times since he has been at UNC. He normally recovers very quickly from it and we hope that is the case this time."?

One of the hot bats was in the hands of senior infielder Eli Sutherland, who transferred into North Carolina from Walters State Community College. The Tar Heels have two other alumni from Walters State in Cody Stubbs and Jesse Wierzbicki - can you discuss their shared path to North Carolina?
?"We kind of got lucky with those three guys. We rely on coaches at these schools for a very complete and honest evaluation of their players before we go see them and that is the case at Walters State. Coaches that have a good idea of what it is like to play at this level and what kids can handle it and which ones can't. It is funny that the history of these junior college transfers for us has been that they have been better in their second year than their first year and we are not quite sure why that is but that certainly was the case with Cody and Jesse and certainly Eli now this year. I think there is an adjustment period but I also think sometimes they put a lot of pressure on themselves coming into our program - a very successful one and juniors are expected to transfer in and you are expected to step right in and play and produce at a high level. Kids lose confidence and put too much pressure on themselves and you saw it happen with how it was kind of relieved by Cody during his senior year. I think it was a little different with Eli - I think that the concussion that he had really affected him last year greatly and he never was 100 percent the whole season last year. He has always had a really, really good swing and he's had some ups and downs so he was hot for a while then cooled off a bit. That's what happens with hitting and now he is back swinging it well again. Everybody knows now that he has a little power in there. It is good to see him bust out this week."?

This weekend was the halfway point for the ACC race to the postseason. Currently Warren Nolan has the Tar Heels at No. 14 in the RPI with give ACC teams in the top 25 in those rankings. Can you discuss the landscape in the ACC and how the Tar Heels are measuring up to their goals?
?"Our league once again is strong and the parity is unlike many other years with everyone bunched right together except for really one or two teams. Again it is about how you finish and we have four series left and more importantly seven games before we break for exams. Seven really, really important games and a tough matchup at Wake Forest with them beating Florida State twice at home last weekend showing how good they are. We have to play consistently and we have a big game tomorrow night with Coastal [Carolina] - we have nothing but big ones left. We just need to continue to work and I still believe in this team very strongly. We have to play more consistently in all three phases of the game. Now that we are starting to get a little more locked in offensively we have to pitch and play defense at a high level to have a chance to win."?

As a coaching staff how do you try to get hitters out of the fly ball mentality and how do you get left handed hitters ready to adjust to and face left handed pitchers?
?"Fly balls are relative. In order to hit a double you have to hit the ball in the air - in order to hit a home run you have to hit the ball in the air [Laughs]. You have to be careful saying ‘hey we want you to hit the ball on the ground’ because if you hit the ball on the ground this weekend you are going to get out because their turf is so slow and the ball flies out of there. So we don't really teach our guys one way of the other - we like them to have a good flat stroke and create backspin but fly balls are not good but balls in the gap or down the line they are. As far as left on left, some kids can do it some kids can't. Look at Brian Miller - he is batting better against lefties than righties because he stays in there a little longer and he can hit the fast ball. I think every hitter is different. Tyler Lynn has not looked good against lefties until this week and then he hits a home run against one of their lefties this weekend. It is a matter of staying in there and not being afraid of that breaking ball and being able to understand that lefties sometimes have a hard time throwing their curve ball for strikes against left handed hitters and laying off of it and getting yourself in a good count to hit."


Inside Carolina Top Stories