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 won both of their non-conference games during the week and won the weekend series against Georgia Tech, taking the Friday night game and the first game on Sunday, while losing the second game of the weather-induced double-header because of the strong performance by Tech pitcher Zach Von Tersch. The Tar Heels improved their record to 25-6 (10-4 in conference play) and are currently second in the ACC Coastal Division and ranked third in the USA Today Coaches Poll.
• April 1 vs. UNCG (Cary, N.C.) - W 4-1
• April 2 vs. App State (Cary, N.C.) - W 7-0
• April 4 vs. Georgia Tech (Cary, N.C.) - W 8-1
• April 5 vs. Georgia Tech (Cary, N.C.) - Postponed
• April 6 vs. Georgia Tech (Cary, N.C.) - W 10-4
• April 6 vs. Georgia Tech (Cary, N.C.) - L 4-1

Pitcher of the Week: Alex White wins this honor for the second week in a row. He shut out No. 14-ranked Georgia Tech for seven innings, striking out eight batters while only allowing five base hits and one walk. He ran his record to 5-2, while leading the team with 43 strikeouts for the season.
Honorable Mention goes to senior fireman Rob Wooten, who pitched in four games this week, striking out five batters and surrendering only two base hits and zero runs over his three and two thirds innings pitched.

Batter of the Week: Sophomore second baseman Kyle Seager continues his hot start to the season, hitting in 27 straight games. He batted .476 for the week, while driving in seven runs with ten base hits. He also scored four runs and earned two walks during the week.

Career Milestone: Senior third baseman Chad Flack owns the Tar Heel career record for base hits. He tied the record in the first game against Georgia Tech on Sunday and eclipsed the record in the nightcap. "I'd rather take the game three win over the record any day," Flack said afterwards. "It is just something that came along... I appreciate the fans showing me appreciation today. I'm just going to keep rolling and hope to get some more wins." Flack received a standing ovation from the Tar Heel crowd between innings.

Interesting Note: Head coach Mike Fox and home plate umpire Scott Erby both had a busy Sunday. Erby was knocked to the ground by a vicious line drive foul ball during the game and he then later ejected Fox for arguing balls and strike calls. Fox headed behind the fence on the grassy hill in left field to watch the conclusion of the game after his ejection.

Around the Coastal Division: The Tar Heels trail Miami, who has a conference record of 12-1 on the season. Georgia Tech and Virginia are right behind the Tar Heels in the conference standings in the Coastal Division with nine and eight conference wins, respectively. Duke and Virginia Tech are at the bottom of the Coastal Division with four and one win in conference play, respectively.

Looking Forward: The Tar Heels have two mid-week games at the USA Baseball Training Facility in Cary against non-conference opponents Elon and North Carolina A&T to wrap up this two-week home slate of games. The Tar Heels head to Clemson this weekend to take on the 18-13 Tigers (6-9 in conference play).
• April 8 vs. Elon (Cary, N.C.) - 6 p.m.
• April 9 vs. NCA&T (Cary, N.C.)- 6 p.m.
• April 11 vs. Clemson (Clemson, S.C.) - 7:15 p.m.
• April 12 vs. Clemson (Clemson, S.C.) - 4 p.m.
• April 13 vs. Clemson (Clemson, S.C.) - 1 p.m.

INSIDE CAROLINA Q&A WITH HEAD COACH MIKE FOX

This is the second weekend series affected by rain. Has the baseball team discovered the solution to the regional drought?

"Gracious, it has been one of those springs so far. It was in the back of our minds as coaches that we have not had rain in so long: ‘I wonder if it is going to start raining when the season starts'... it seems to have done that. It is good to have a lot of rain, it is just something that we have to deal with on our part. Thank goodness we have some great folks out in Cary to take care of the field keeping it in good condition."

What do you think that your Tar Heels could have done better against the standout pitching performance by Zack Von Tersch in the Sunday afternoon game against Georgia Tech?

"He pitched well against us. We could not string anything together [against him]. Any time a team is playing good defense behind their pitcher and does not walk people, you are at the mercy of getting two or three base hits and trying to score runs that way. We were not able to do that. We did not put any pressure on him and hit way too many fly balls off of him. It looked like one of those pitchers duels against him... unfortunately we gave up a couple of runs early and could not string anything together. So basically their pitching staff just shut us down in that second game which was unfortunate."

What's your assessment of the development of Brian Moran coming out of the bullpen this season?

"Brian has a terrific season so far this year for us. We knew he was going to continue to get better. He just works so hard and has a great demeanor. He does not let to many things faze him; he does not think too much. He just goes out there and pitches and repeats his delivery exceptionally well, that is why he throws so many strikes. You look at his numbers - it is pretty amazing, we have a great deal of confidence bringing him out of the bullpen."

Tell us about Alex White's performance in the first game in the Georgia Tech series...

"Alex was outstanding. It was probably one of his better starts that he has had so far in his career at Carolina. He has had some other good ones, but Friday night he was pretty dominating, just around the plate and he reached back when he needed to and made some big pitches and got some big strikeouts when they had guys in scoring position. Very impressive, you need that Friday guy to go out and pitch well, there is a lot of pressure on those guys because they know you are facing the other team's Friday guy. You go into those games knowing that it is going to be a little bit of a pitching duel sometimes -- the best starter who gets the best start, gives the team the best chance to win. That is certainly what Alex did for us on Friday night."

How has it been for you and the team to see the construction coming along on Boshamer Stadium?

"It is very exciting, we get to ride by it every day and see different pieces of it going up - they work so fast. Anytime we ride around Ridge Road and look at it, it is pretty amazing. We are very excited. It is still hard for me to believe where we are with that facility, but it will be even more exciting near the end when we make plans to move in..."

What is the one thing that you have been most satisfied with your team so far this season?

"We come out ready to play, so far, pretty much every game. We have great leadership and great understanding of what needs to be done every game. That is a carry over from the last couple of years and having some juniors and seniors who have played in some big games. I do not have to talk too much to them about being ready to play. They have that part down pretty well. They are a good bunch that gets along and I think they are having fun being around each other playing and that makes it pretty easy on the coaching staff."

What are your thoughts on Chad Flack's surpassing the UNC career record for base hits?

"I am so happy for Chad. He has had an unbelievable career here at North Carolina. Honestly, I knew he was within five or six before the weekend, I kind of got caught up in the games and lost count. I wish I had stepped out there and grabbed the baseball for him, but in typical Chad fashion he kind of blew it off like it was no big deal, but it is a pretty big deal. He is going to get well over three hundred hits in his career and I am sure he is going to look back on it and really be proud of what he has accomplished. He is a team guy all the way, he wants to win and those individual things he puts secondary. It is something that all of us who have watched him over the years have seen some of those big hits among those 292, so that is a great accomplishment for him. I am very proud of him."


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