The Tar Heels won both of their non-conference weekday games and then split the weekend series with North Carolina State. The Sunday afternoon game was canceled because of rain and will not be made up due to ACC rules.
• March 25 vs Davidson (Cary, N.C.) - W 12-6
• March 26 vs Gardiner-Webb (Cary, N.C.) - W 13-2
• March 28 vs NC State (Cary, N.C.) - W 5-2
• March 29 vs NC State (Cary, N.C.) - L 8-6
• March 30 vs NC State (Cary, N.C.) - Cancelled
Pitcher of the Week:
Alex White tied his career high in strikeouts with 11 in his 5 2/3 innings of work against North Carolina State. Ironically the last time he struck out 11 batters was last season against the Wolfpack as well. White only allowed two earned runs and picked up the win, bringing his record to 4-2 on the season with a 2.37 ERA, while opponents are only batting .250 against him. He leads the team with 35 strikeouts on the season.
Honorable mention goes to sophomore reliever Brian Moran, who pitched in three games this week and struck out all four batters that he faced on Friday in his relief appearance against NC State. He struck out five batters in total this week and only gave up one hit in his 2 1/3 innings pitched.
Batter of the Week:
Senior Chad Flack continued to swing a hot bat, batting .411 over the week, while hitting a three-run home run Friday night against the Wolfpack to provide the winning runs in that contest. He also hit a triple in the Saturday game against State and drove in eight Tar Heels on the week to go with his seven hits. Flack now has a nine-game hit streak going and is eight hits away from having the most career base hits in Tar Heel history. He also picked up his third stolen base of the season in the game against Davidson and the home run against State was his fourth of the season.
Honorable mention goes to sophomore outfielder Tim Fedroff, who batted .466 for the week, driving in four runs on his seven base hits and scoring three runs.
Play of the Week:
The Tar Heels closed the door on NC State on Friday night in style, turning a double play to ensure the save for senior closer Rob Wooten. Junior shortstop Garrett Gore atoned for an earlier error in the inning by snaring a grounder from Domonique Rodgers, tagging the second base bag and throwing to Dustin Ackley at first to end the game.
The Sunday afternoon game canceled by inclement weather and field conditions cannot be made up because of ACC rules. No game can start on Sunday afternoon after 4 p.m. These rules make sense when you consider the difficulty in rescheduling travel for games from Boston College all the way to Florida, with Miami and Florida State.
The Tar Heels continue their long homestand this week, hosting non-conference foes UNC-Greensboro and Appalachian State during the week and ACC foe Georgia Tech this weekend for a three-game series.
• April 4 vs UNC-G (Cary, N.C.) - 6 p.m.
• April 5 vs App. St. (Cary, N.C.) - 6 p.m.
• April 7 vs Georgia Tech (Cary, N.C.) - 7 p.m.
• April 8 vs Georgia Tech (Cary, N.C.) - 6 p.m.
• April 9 vs Georgia Tech (Cary, N.C.) – 1 p.m.
INSIDE CAROLINA Q&A WITH HEAD COACH MIKE FOX
It certainly seemed like the weather played a factor in this weekend's series...
"It was one of those weekends sometimes that we have to deal with. It was unfortunate that we were unable to play yesterday, but it happens sometimes. We just have to move on from it - that is all we can do."
Was yesterday's decision to cancel the game based primarily on the wet outfield?
"Not really, I think it was probably just the overall playing conditions and the safety of the players on both teams. I tried not to factor in who we were playing and the fact that it was tied 1-1. Let's just make the right call based on the conditions. The [weather] report was that it was not going to get any better throughout the day. At the end of the day, I did not want to put any of these student athletes at risk. It did not seem that important in March, obviously we have a lot more games to play this season."
Tell me about the decision to have a staff pitching day on Wednesday against Gardner-Webb...
"Well, you run into those [decisions] occasionally in the middle of the week just based on the fact that the guys that you want available for the weekend out of the bullpen, you do not want to extend guys too much. We need our staff to pitch, we need to get our relievers out there and keep them sharp and keep them fresh. It seemed like the thing to do... Coach Forbes had a game plan for that day for the guys to get in the number of pitches that they needed to throw to be ready for the weekend. It seemed to work out for us against Gardner-Webb."
What are your thoughts on Alex White's performance against NC State on Saturday?
"Alex was really, really competitive... obviously he struck out a number of guys and had some big, big strike-outs when he needed it Friday night. He put us in a position to win the game and bounce back after giving up those two runs early and held State at bay and allowed us to get back in the game. I thought he had an outstanding performance Saturday night."
Something I have noticed this season is that the Tar Heels have been running a lot on offense, but on defense have been really trying to keep the runners close and using snap throws to pick off runners that are napping on the base paths - is this something where you are trying to impose your will on the other team?
"We always work with our pitcher on holding runners at first base. It is an important part of being a complete pitcher, being able to field your position first and to be able to control the running game. We work hard with our pitchers having quick feet and short arm swings and not allowing base runners to get too big of a primary lead, but certainly not a big secondary lead, either. We do not want teams to be able to run at will against us. It is part of our defense to be able to control the running game. Based on the few number of the stolen bases we have given up against us, I think we have been doing a good job of it."
What is your comfort level with Tim Federowicz and Mark Fleury being able to make accurate throws to first on snap throws?
"...that is something that we allow some freedom with those guys there. Timmy likes to throw [behind runners] and show off his arm a little bit, so he is probably a little more inclined to do it than Mark is. We have no problem with it. Sometimes it sends a message early in the game that we will throw behind the runner and it will prevent that very aggressive secondary lead, both at first and second. That helps us, certainly."
A lot of people were talking about the team breaking out the white cleats for the Friday game, how is the decision-making process handled on the team for what uniforms and equipment are used in a game?
"I try not to get too involved in it, honestly. I let others decide those sorts of things. This day and time the kids want to look good and feel good. We want to try to reward them when they do well, and do well in the classroom and they work hard and practice hard. It is always nice to have some incentives out there. Nike wanted to provide us [with] a white shoe and we talked about it the last couple of years, probably I am just a bit old school, although I did wear white cleats way back when, when I played here. We just decided to order everyone a pair and maybe bring them out in the middle of the year. It was kind of fun, I think the players liked them and I don't think they looked too bad..."
Now are the black uniforms officially retired?
"More than likely - we still have them, of course. I doubt you will see them anymore. They were a one year thing."
Tell me about the catcher's interference call in Saturday's game...
"That was a big play. He was running on the pitch and Mark just came up too early. We were telling Mark throughout the game that he was sitting close to the hitter and some of those hitters were in the back of the box. Mark just came up too early, the left handed hitter for them had a little bit of a long backswing. That is just one thing catchers can't do...getting the mitt in there in the path of the bat."