Q&A with Mike Fox

Ranked in the top four nationally among all major college polls, the North Carolina baseball team left Chapel Hill on Monday in search of its first ACC Tournament championship since 1990. On the way to Jacksonville, head coach Mike Fox spoke to Inside Carolina's Andy Britt regarding the ACC Tourney and his team's positioning for another run at a College World Series title.

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(4:40)

It seems there are even higher expectations this year, which is amazing considering the season you had last year. Can you talk about that and the way the team has approached this season so far?

The expectations are just part of it. When you reach a certain level and you get to Omaha, well, naturally, people think, ‘Let's go do it again.' And, that's a little easier said than done.

I think when we started in the fall everybody did a pretty good job of putting last year behind us, and realizing this was a big year. We're setting goals and we're working hard towards those.

Our regular season has been as good as we could have had hoped for and expected. Obviously we're going to be judged on what we do from here on out. So I've got to give our kids a lot of credit. They've been a pretty smart and mature bunch and realized we've just had to work a little bit harder and approach this year like we did last year, and we hope that the results at the end of the year are similar.

As well as the team has done already, do you see the potential to peak even higher in the coming weeks?

I think we've played pretty well since we came out of our exams. I've been really pleased with our last nine or ten games. Other than one snafu at Maryland where we made two errors on one play, our defense has been really good.

We've had production all up and down the line, and we've pitched pretty well. You've got to keep playing at a high level – that's for sure. Now everybody is really, really good.

I do think there is better baseball ahead for us, and there is going to have to be some clutch baseball. There is going to be have to be some luck; and we're going to have to make our own breaks.

It's the time of the year where it's going to to come down to one play, one pitch or one big swing of the bat; and you just have to put yourself in a position to do just that and help your team.

How are you from a personnel standpoint as far as health? And can you enlighten us on your pitching rotation for this coming week?

Everybody is healthy on our team. That has been a huge key for us this year. We've kept our team healthy. Sometimes that's a matter of luck, too. We haven't lost anybody for an extended period of time other than Mike Cavasinni, who had an eye injury

The rotation is we're going to throw Adam Warren Wednesday against Georgia Tech. We're going to Robert [Woodard] Thursday against NC State. We're going to Alex White on Saturday against Virginia. And if we make it to the championship game, we're going to throw Luke Putkonen on Sunday.

How do you go about emphasizing your philosophy on the conference tourney and the importance of the ACC Tournament?

We obviously haven't had the right philosophy. We need to change it, because our philosophy in the past hasn't worked.

We just have to get a win down there. We just haven't had a win in the ACC Tournament in a while. We just need to get a win and go from there.

Do you like the change of format?

Yes, I do. I like the way it sets up your pitching. You get a day off. I know, for us, we're going to get three games – so I like the new format, yes.

NOTES:

  • No. 2 seeded North Carolina opens its ACC Tournament play Wednesday at 1 p.m. against No. 7 Georgia Tech. It will be televised live by Fox Sports South.
  • Chat with fellow fans about the baseball team and the ACC Tournament on the Inside Carolina Baseball Message Board

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