Matt Clements/Inside Carolina

This Week in UNC Baseball with Mike Fox

Inside Carolina talks with head coach Mike Fox after the UNC baseball team lost its series to NC State and did not qualify for the ACC Tournament. The Diamond Heels are practicing and scrimmaging before hearing their NCAA Tournament fate next Monday.

Recent Games
5/19 - NCSU 6, UNC 4
5/20 - UNC 16, NCSU 4
5/21 - NCSU 10, UNC 1

This Week
No games

Can you recap the series against NC State?
We just lost a great opportunity, as you know, with not being able to score more (Thursday) with only getting two runs in the first two innings and it came back to hurt us even though we made a great run there in the last inning to get it to 6-4. I thought Zac Gallen pitched great and we just had the opportunity to get up 3- (or) 4- to nothing which would have put a lot of pressure on them the rest of the game. Great response by our team Friday, another great effort by J.B. Bukauskas. We got the lead and had a couple of big innings. Just a complete performance by our team. Saturday we went over and you have to give State credit for responding after Friday night. It is short lived and you have to turn around and play less than 24 hours later. They got a good start from Williamson and then their bullpen was really especially good against us. It was a disappointing loss of course.”

After the game on Saturday, UNC needed help to qualify for the ACC Tournament - and didn't get it. How do you think the Tar Heels' resume stacks up for consideration by the NCAA Selection Committee? And can you discuss your postgame quote in reference to the chances to be selected?
“I regret making that comment when asked about our chances. I had not even thought that we would not play in the ACC Tournament. That is something that I had not really given thought to because I was obviously hoping and believing that it would not happen. So I have no excuse for that - it was a very frustrating and emotional [moment] right after the game, standing on the field. I’d like to take that comment back as long as my players know how much I believe in them and we have said all along if we can get in a regional we could be a dangerous team. We have a lot of great attributes going for us. Our RPI, our non-conference strength of schedule, our overall strength of schedule. We’ve got 14 wins over the RPI top 20 which is in the top 10. We have a lot going for us. The glaring thing is our conference record and not making the tournament. But, those may be enough but we have a lot of good positives to offset those two. We are going to go back to work and prepare to get a bid on Monday.”

Could you elaborate on the resume for consideration?
“We have 14 wins against the RPI top 50 - tied for 7th most nationally. We had 22 wins versus the top 100 - which is 8th most nationally. We have top 100 series wins over UCLA, Oklahoma State, Pittsburgh, Duke, Notre Dame. We have top 100 ACC wins over Georgia Tech, Virginia, Louisville and NC State. Top 100 mid-week wins over East Carolina, High Point, South Carolina, Wilmington and ECU. Our final regular season run differential is plus-157 which is third best in the ACC behind Miami and Lousiville. Our final ACC run differential of plus 23 is fifth best in the league behind Louisville, Miami, Florida State and NC State. We rank in the top 10 nationally in walks, pitcher strikeouts per nine innings, shutouts. We rank in the top 50 nationally in scoring, runs, stolen bases, walks, triples, ERA, strikeouts per 9 innings, hits allowed per 9 innings, on base percentage, walk/strikeout ratio, WHIP and shutouts. When you start breaking it all down it is not as bad as it looks. We hit 22 points higher as a team than we did last year so our batting average has climbed the last three years. I know we are being criticized for our offense and rightly so in our league, but the numbers show a little bit of a different story so maybe that will help put a positive outlook on it.”

How hot is Logan Warmoth is at the plate heading down the stretch run?
“Unbelievably hot. He is just seeing the ball well and hitting for power with people on base. We have wanted and needed that and it is why we wanted to keep playing because we had some guys swinging the bat well - with him being one of them. It is great to see - he carried us there for a few games and we hope that will continue even with a layoff.”

The Diamond Heels have a very young roster with only five juniors eligible for the draft in Tyler Ramirez, Zac Gallen, A.J. Bogucki, Spencer Trayner and Adam Pate. What's the process for them as the season winds down with scouts for Major League Baseball checking in on those players?
“First of all all those guys have certainly been a big part of our program, played a lot and pitched a lot and been very valuable members. I am not sure about the draft. You hear certain things but I don’t know how true they are. The draft is always a mixed bag. I don’t really know and that is the trick in recruiting. Trying to figure out who is going and who is coming. We have a general idea but sometimes it is not accurate because we are not privy to a lot of that information. We try not to talk about the draft with these kids during the season and kind of what they are thinking but we have had to do that more and more just to get an idea with our incoming class as well. I always anticipate losing some juniors but I don’t think we will lose all of them which would be a good thing for us.”

What is the team’s schedule this week with getting prepared for the chance of a postseason berth?
“We met yesterday and gave our kids the option of going home until Thursday and I think some of them after giving some thought and talking to families decided to do that. Others have remained on campus. We will get back on the field officially Thursday late afternoon/evening. Then we do plan to scrimmage Friday, Saturday, Sunday to get our pitching lined up and our starters out there and keep them on schedule as best we can. In the meantime we are at the stadium the majority of the time and the players that are still here can come in and work and we will be on the field for the players that want to be there for the optional afternoons to work on some things and keep improving. There will be some recruiting done and some other things on campus this week but that is the plan with our players.”

How is the process going for getting placements for summer leagues for the players and undergraduate coaches this summer?
“I believe we have every one of our players placed for this summer with the exception of one. Right now we have nine players in Cape Cod League, we have eight in the Coastal Plains League, two in the Florida Collegiate League and three in the Cal Ripken League at this point. Chaz Frank is going to coach in Thomasville this summer. That will be a good thing as I think he wants to continue his coaching career. We feel good about where these kids are placed. We have four in Holly Springs close by and we’ll be able to see them play a lot. My assistant coaches did a great job of getting all of these kids placed in great situations.”

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