UNC-USC Game 2: Postgame Quotes

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. --- North Carolina coach Mike Fox and South Carolina coach Ray Tanner comment following the Tar Heels' 8-6 loss to the Gamecocks on Saturday/Sunday.


Opening remarks -

We have a little bit of time to regroup here and play Game Three. I think it's fitting two programs that have had great years. We didn't get it done today so we'll crank it back up tonight at 7 and see what happens. It'll be fun.

On the loss in Game Two -

We didn't get off to a good start obviously yesterday- didn't pitch well. I thought their starter pitched better than ours and that's the key. You have to make plays against them, you open the door for them there. They're a really good team and they're going to hurt you. Make mistakes with them, they're going to hurt you. Looking back, I think only three or four times all year long has South Carolina not scored at least five runs, so you have to score runs to beat them. We'll see if that's the case tonight. They're a good team, they're a good offensive team and you have to pitch well against them to have a chance.

On the keys for Luke Putkonen to pitch well in Game Three -

As any pitcher, first pitch strike, throw both sides of the plate, throw your breaking ball over for strikes. You can't let them sit on certain pitches. You get them in fastball counts, 2-0 or 3-1, you have to rely on two-seamers and changeups. We want him to throw his best pitches when he can and it's the same for any pitcher out there. We have pitching plans against them that we think will work, but you have to throw the ball in the right place and you have to get it in when you pitch in. It's the same for any pitcher. The good thing about Luke is I don't know if Luke has a heart rate.

He's going to stay the same. I don't think he'll stress out over tonight. I haven't seen him stress out over anything. I think he'll be even-keel tonight.

On having Game Three at home -

It's where you want it. If somebody would have told us in August or in January that we had a chance to play at home for the right to go to Omaha for the World Series, we would have taken it. We can't be in a better position. We've got to go out and play our best and see who wins.

On having to delay the game and losing momentum -

I try not to play that game. It's fruitless because there wasn't anything we could do about it. I'm glad we came back and showed a little spunk in these innings. Whether or not that helps us or not, I don't know. I think Ray and I made the right call to start this one early. He and I both thought it was extremely important if there was a Game 3 that our kids had some rest, be able to eat, and have our kids at their best to play in such a big game. I thought that was important. It may not have been if we had played at 4, 4:30. We were trying to predict how long this game might go. It could go an hour and a half and you have to turn back around and play again. We didn't think that was in the best interest of both of our teams for tonight, so I hope we made the right call.


Opening remarks -

Obviously I am delighted we were able to win this game and force a game three. We battled after the tough loss on Friday night and force a third game, which is certainly never easy against a team as good as the Tar Heels. We hung in there and now we get to play a game three.

On winning game two after the lengthy rain delay -

That is what baseball players do, you deal with the elements and it was the same for both teams. There is not much you can do, you try to stay loose and let your guys know what the agenda is for the game. Great decision last night not to play and it was a beautiful afternoon to play today. You just have to deal with the elements in baseball.

On forcing a game three -

We have been in this situation before and they have been in this situation before. I think game three is not really hard to figure out; the game is going to be won by whoever plays the best. You have to pitch well, play defense and get some timely hits.

On game three Tar Heel starter Luke Putkonen -

I think a lot of him. He is very very good and he is a power guy. There is no question we are facing a power arm and when you win as many games as they win, you know they have some arms. We are going to try to do the best we can to figure him out and get some hits.

On momentum of winning game two -

I don't know if it will be a factor or not, we are coming off a win and they are coming off a loss. With maturity on both clubs, I don't know if it will be a factor. We'll both regroup and try to be at our best tonight.

On Game Three starter Mike Cisco –

Mike Cisco is a poor man's Greg Maddux. He has to have it working for him. He has to use both sides of the plate well. He has to have everything working against a line-up as good as the Tar Heels. He's been in this position before. He pitched in a regional last year and a super regional last year. He has to give us a quality start.

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