|Inside Carolina audio is available to IC premium subscribers. To listen, you'll need an updated version of Windows Media Player - click here to download the software.|
* Alex White threw five innings of scoreless and hitless innings before leaving the Virginia contest after the seventh stanza with 111 pitches, 64 strikes and 11 strikeouts to his credit. But a good portion of that pitch count – 33 to be exact – occurred in the first inning. Was the ACC Pitcher of the Year possibly nervous before his first postseason contest of the season?
"No, not at all," White said following the game. "I've pitched here before – I pitched here last year against Virginia. I wasn't nervous at all. We made the error and then I walked some guys, and it just went from there. I think I gave up one hit in the inning, and it cost us two runs."
The sophomore's numbers were equally as impressive in 2007, as well. The Greenville, N.C. product has pitched 12 total scoreless innings in ACC Championship play, while allowing just five hits and striking out 16 in 14 total innings.
* There is no denying that North Carolina's batting lineup is a venerable threat for all opposing pitching staffs, but the quantity on the roster is just as important as the quality. Six Tar Heel regulars are hitting .310 or better on the season, while eight boys in blue own 34 or more runs batted in. That consistency displayed itself on Wednesday, as eight Heels produced a hit, with six of them tallying two or more hits.
"We need production up and down our lineup," Fox said. "We've got some guys that are clutch, and you saw [Dustin] Ackley with a big two-out triple and then [Chad] Flack with a homerun. You've got to have that in the postseason. You've just got to play better defense, and then that hitting will come through for you."
* North Carolina won the offensive statistical battle against Virginia, engineering eight more hits on seven more at-bats while spreading the wealth. But the Cavaliers won the mental aspect of the game, committing no errors to the Tar Heels' two and walking only two batters while UNC's pitchers walked eight. It also didn't help that North Carolina left nine men on base, a majority of whom were in scoring position.
* If you are wondering how the ACC stacks up against the other power conferences, consider this – North Carolina arrived in Jacksonville as the nation's unanimous No. 1-ranked program, but the Tar Heels had to settle for the third seed in this weekend's tournament action.
"This is what we go through 30 times during the year," Fox said. "Thirty games, they're all like this. They're all big games and big pitches and good teams and really good players that make great plays. That's why it's fun to coach in this league. You get to watch some great baseball."
* The ACC Championship committee may need to rethink their process for opening day scheduling. After the first game of the day between N.C. State and Georgia Tech ran long to the tune of three hours and 50 minutes, North Carolina's 8 p.m. first pitch was pushed back until 9:45 p.m. Postgame interviews took place on the field at 1:40 a.m. At least the schedulers got one move right – the Tar Heels don't suit up again until Friday night.
* It's understandable that conference foes may not play each other every season in football with the limited number of games, but it's astonishing that North Carolina's 57th game of the season on Friday will be its first against Wake Forest since the Tar Heels defeated the Demon Deacons for the ACC Tournament trophy last spring in Jacksonville.
"I really don't know a lot about them," Fox said. "I've seen them a little bit today and I know they'll be ready. We're all kind of fighting for our lives here and trying to get that first win in the tournament. They always have a good club. I respect them greatly and it should be a good game."
* Flack, a senior from Forest City, N.C., added to his career hit total with a single, a double and a homerun on Wednesday night. He leads UNC in career hits (318) and currently ranks second in runs (203) and total bases (512), and third in extra-base hits (106) and RBI (205).