Baseball Notebook

Inside Carolina's weekly feature on the Tar Heel baseball team, including an exclusive Monday morning Q&A with head coach Mike Fox ...

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Week in Review: The Tar Heels started off the week with their first "home" game at the USA Baseball complex last Tuesday in an error filled loss to Old Dominion, later departing to run the table at the Coca-Cola Classic Championship at Winthrop University in Rock Hill, S.C. to improve their record to 7-1.
• Feb. 26 vs. Old Dominion (Cary, N.C.) – L, 8-6
• Feb. 28 vs. Winthrop (Rock Hill, S.C.) – W, 6-1
• Feb. 29 vs. Kent State (Rock Hill, S.C.) – W, 8-1
• Mar. 1 vs. St. John's (Rock Hill, S.C.) – W, 6-2
• Ma. 2 vs. St. John's (Rock Hill, S.C.) – W, 4-2

Performance of the Week: Colin Bates came into the first game against St. John's in relief of starting pitcher Rob Catapano and worked his way out of a jam then slammed the door shut against the St. John's Red Storm, who up to that point in the season had not been defeated. The red-shirt freshman cruised through six innings of relief, only giving up two hits and one walk in his six inning relief stint while striking out six of the Red Storm batters. This relief performance saved the bullpen on Saturday afternoon to take advantage of the next day's game against St. John's for the decisive championship in this early season tournament.

Batter of the Week: Kyle Seager led the team with 10 runs batted in this week, while scoring four runs and batting .444 (8 for 18). Against Winthrop in the opening game of the Winthrop tournament, he hit his third home run of the year. Honorable mention goes to Dustin Ackley, who continued his twelve game hitting streak as well while gathering seven base hits over the week, and catcher Tim Federowicz, who showed excellent discipline at the plate while taking five walks over the week.

Pitcher of the Week: The Tar Heels wasted a great pitching performance from freshman right-hander Matt Harvey against Old Dominion. In his first appearance as a Tar Heel, the talented freshman struck out eight batters in four and two thirds innings while only giving up three hits and two walks. Harvey was the highest drafted player out of high school to attend college in 2007, as he was a third round pick of the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim. Honorable mention goes to Rob Wooten, who was efficient in his two relief appearances over the week, pitching 2.2 innings and only giving up two base hits while striking out three batters and garnering his second save of the season against St. John's in the championship game.

Interesting Note: The Tar Heels struggled mightily in the field in their first game at the USA Baseball Complex this year, giving up seven unearned runs in the last three innings of the game. Ryan Graepel had three errors in this game, starting for the injured Garrett Gore at shortstop. Disaster struck the Tar Heels again in the 10th inning, when the Monarchs started a two out rally with two base hits, followed by a passed ball strikeout, followed by a double down the line scoring the decisive two runs after sophomore outfielder Kendric Burney slipped on the wet turf.

Looking Ahead: The Tar Heels head "home" to Cary to take on William & Mary at 3:30 p.m. on Tuesday afternoon, then head over to Durham for a weekend series against the Blue Devils for the first ACC competition of the season for UNC.
• Mar. 4 vs. William & Mary (Cary, N.C.) – 3:30 p.m.
• Mar. 7 vs. Duke (Durham, N.C.) – 3:30 p.m.
• Mar. 8 vs. Duke (Durham, N.C.) - 2 p.m.
• Mar. 9 vs. Duke (Durham, N.C.) - 1 p.m.


Since the last time we talked, you had an interesting game in Cary ... [laughs] ... to say the least, and a trip to Rock Hill for the Coca Cola Championship at Winthrop University. What are your thoughts on the trip to Rock Hill?
"Obviously, we were tickled to death to win four games there. It was a good trip for us, we pitched exceptionally well there. I think we gave up only six runs in the four games - it is a credit to our pitching staff, we certainly needed it. We did not swing the bat like we certainly want to throughout the year, but we did enough to get four wins -- and to get four quality wins, I thought."

Do you have any update on the Garrett Davis injury?
"I don't this morning. It was just mostly his forearm tightening up. I don't have any report this morning as of yet."

Do you have the starting pitcher set up for this Tuesday's game and the rotation for the rest of the series this week with Duke?
"Matt Harvey will throw tomorrow against William & Mary. We have not [determined] our lineup yet for the weekend."

How do you think the spacious dimensions of the USA Baseball Complex will affect the style of baseball played in Cary this year?
"Well I think initially we thought that the park would play really big ... it was the best indication from the fall. This spring we are not so sure that may be true. There were some home runs hit out obviously against Old Dominion. I think a lot of it depends upon the wind and maybe it is a different time of the year with the spring and the fall. I think it remains to be seen, we have not played enough games to really be able to tell how it is going to affect the offensive production of both teams."

How seriously does the baseball team take the Carlyle Cup competition with Duke?
"We don't talk about it, as far as our team is concerned. We certainly know it is there and we want to do our part on behalf of the athletic department - all our teams want to do our part to do what we can. Obviously once the game starts it is about trying to win that particular game, so we certainly hope to win the series and again do our part on behalf of all the teams here."

Duke is looking pretty good thus far this year, as the Blue Devils are 10-0 with four double-headers. Have you seen anything about their good start, and/or their talented sophomore starter Christopher Manno?
"We don't have a scouting report on them as of yet, we have seen them play and they are much improved from last year. We always are in for a battle over there ... the first ACC series, it is always exciting to get the league started. No matter what, we will have our hands full over there with Duke."

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