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 rebounded this week from a disappointing loss to No. 20 Coastal Carolina on Tuesday, by defeating Virginia Commonwealth on Wednesday and then sweeping Virginia Tech in a home series over the weekend. The Tar Heels improved their ACC record to 5-1 (14-3 overall) on the season.
• March 11 vs Coastal Carolina (Cary, N.C.) – L, 11-4
• March 12 vs VCU (Cary, N.C.) – W, 10-2
• March 14 vs Virginia Tech (Cary, N.C.) – W, 11-1
• March 15 vs Virginia Tech (Cary, N.C.) – W, 6-5 (11 innings)
• March 16 vs Virginia Tech (Cary, N.C.) – W, 6-0

Play of the Week: Dustin Ackley scored the winning run in extra innings in Saturday's game against the Hokies. He walked (which is going to continue to be common this season, as most teams are avoiding giving him anything to hit), then advanced to second on a failed pickoff, then proceeded to third on a wild pitch, scoring on a sacrifice fly by Kyle Seager. Ackley has an active 21-game hitting streak and leads the team with six stolen bases and thirty hits.

Pitcher of the Week: Matt Harvey started the week with a disaster of a start at the hands of the Chanticleers, where he failed to get out of the first inning. His next start came on the weekend, starting on Sunday afternoon against his high school teammate Jesse Hahn -- and Harvey rose to the challenge. He put on a dominant performance, pitching 6 1/3 shutout innings, giving up only 4 hits, while striking out six Hokie batters. For an IC postgame Q&A with Harvey and Hahn, CLICK HERE.

Batter of the Week: Outfielder Tim Fedroff had quite a week, batting .478 while hitting his team-leading fifth home run of the season. He scored nine times, while gaining eleven hits and driving in four batters. Runner Up: Kyle Shelton and Tim Federowicz, both of whom had a dominant game. Shelton tied the UNC record by hitting two triples in a game while being perfect at the plate against VCU (and was hit by a pitch in that game as well), while Federowicz drove in six runs in the opening game against Virginia Tech.

Interesting Note: Senior Rob Wooten was out with a mild back sprain for most of the week and returned to action in the last frame of the Sunday game against Virginia Tech, striking out the side on only twelve pitches. "It felt good," he said afterwards. "I just tweaked my back, it is only March, not June and we are hoping to be around in June. I honestly could have gone on Friday. The bullpen was shored up for the week by the addition of sophomore starting pitcher Alex White, who made his first relief appearance against VCU and followed that up with three and 1/3 innings of scoreless relief garnering a win against Virginia Tech in extra innings on Saturday. Then Matt Harvey made the most of his first weekend start replacing White on Sunday.

Looking Forward: The Tar Heels host Princeton this week at the USA Baseball Complex in Cary and then head to College Park this weekend to face Maryland, who is 1-3 in ACC play and 8-7 overall this season.
• March 18 vs Princeton (Cary, N.C.) - 7:30 pm (start time changed because of the Eve Carson Memorial)
• March 19 vs Princeton (Cary, N.C.) - 4 pm
• March 21 vs Maryland (College Park, Md.) - 7 pm
• March 22 vs Maryland (College Park, Md.) - 4 pm
• March 23 vs Maryland (College Park, Md.) - 1 pm

INSIDE CAROLINA Q&A WITH HEAD COACH MIKE FOX

How do you think things went in the weekend series with Virginia Tech?
"Obviously, any time that you defeat a team in this league three times in a weekend, you have to be really thrilled about that. It does not happen very often. We were excited to get these three wins, we got them in three different ways. In all of them we pitched exceptionally well. The common theme for the weekend was how well we pitched."

How pleased were you with Tim Fedroff's performance at the plate this week?
"Timmy started off slow for us a little bit, outside of the first game with Florida Atlantic. He is a really good player, he is kind of a gamer. He steps up when we really need him. He got the big hits for us yesterday and really the whole weekend. He is a good player, that is why as a freshman he was Second Team All-Conference. He is a big time competitor, he had a great weekend for us. "

It appears as though Ryan Graepel is getting more comfortable in the field - what is your take on that?
"Ryan Graepel is a terrific defender. The start of the year surprised us all, including Ryan. We watch him in practice every day, taking a hundred or a hundred and fifty ground balls a day and he makes every play. I think it is just part of baseball, having that bad game and it shakes your confidence a little bit. I think you saw how aggressive he was yesterday and really sure of himself and wanting the ball hit to him. That is a really big part of being a defensive player, wanting the ball hit to you and feeling confident. Our team really feels confident with Ryan Graepel. He is a good player and he has really improved since last year, offensively as well. "

How pleased have you been with the fan support in Cary?
"You know I have been pleased. I think it is still early, we are battling the ACC basketball tournament this weekend. I think if it continues to grow and more and more people find their way out here they'll realize what a great setting it is as it gets warmer. Getting N.C. State and Georgia Tech and some of those league games and some night games starting this mid-week, hopefully the crowds will continue as well and get better. "

Tell me about the decision to move Alex White to the bullpen with Rob Wooten being questionable with his back injury this week?
"That was something that Coach Forbes and I talked about. We kind of put ourselves in our best situation this weekend. Fortunately it worked out about as well as it could have. We did not need to use Alex on Friday and we needed him Saturday extensively. Then the surprise was that Rob Wooten was able to pitch on Sunday, which we did not anticipate at all. We certainly expected him to be out the whole weekend. I'm not sure what we will do, I'm sure that we will give it a lot of thought this afternoon, whether we move Alex back into the starting rotation. I think probably we will, but it just shows you that Alex wants to win and he really does not care what his role is. He was really good out of the bullpen, it makes you think as a coach: 'Well, gosh, what does that do for the the situation?' It is a good position for us to be in with some choices."


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