Q&A with Mike Fox

Inside Carolina's exclusive Monday interview with Tar Heel baseball coach Mike Fox, whose Tar Heels are preparing to host an NCAA Regional later this week.

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Tell me about your opinion of the team's performance in the ACC Tournament this last weekend…

"We lost some tough games and didn't play quite like we wanted to. Had leads late and lost them which was a little uncharacteristic of what we had done during the year, but we took a lot out of the tournament, played some great teams. We will get ready for the NCAA tournament now."

Four ACC teams were selected to host NCAA regionals this coming weekend - what you think this shows about the talent level in the ACC this season?

"The talent level has always been great in our league. This league has been very good in baseball for a number of years. We get more attention now and television… the players and coaches in our league have known the talent level for a number of years, we are just getting more exposure now, which is obviously good to see. It says a lot that 25 percent of the sites are from one league; I think that is a great statement about how good our league was this year."

Tell me about the decision to flip-flop Matt Harvey and Adam Warren in the rotation for the Wake Forest and Florida State games…

"Well we just wanted to make sure that Matt got out there again and pitched as soon as he possibly could. His stint in Miami was not a long one and there was enough time in between and we felt that he was a good matchup with Wake Forest. Obviously you saw how he performed… so it wasn't for any particular reason other than that. We knew he pitched well against Florida State earlier and Adam hadn't, so part of the thought process was that we wanted to get Adam out there against Florida State and of course he pitched exceptionally well against them as well."

Did the fact that you did not play Wake this season have any influence on the decision?

"We hadn't played them so they had not seen Matt but we had not seen [Charlie] Mellies either. It was just one of those games, it was late at night and the pitcher dictated it, the umpire had a big zone for both teams and Matt was exceptional for us." What do you think attributed to the bullpens struggles against UVa and FSU?

"Well we just did not make quite the pitches that we needed to, missed some spots and had a couple of walks thrown in there that both teams capitalized on. We had a wild pitch thrown in both games which really hurts, both games were eerily similar to the other. It is one of those things, a thin line between making a good pitch or a bad pitch. When we did not quite hit our spot, you have to give Virginia and Florida State credit they hit some balls hard and found some holes."

Chad Flack certainly has a penchant for the dramatic home run; tell me about his home run against UVa…

"Well you know it does not surprise us, you are right he has been up in those situations and his history will tell you that he can come up big when he needs to. [Michael] Schwimer had been so good for them and was tough to hit and he left a pitch up and Chad capitalized on it. It was unfortunate that it kind of went to waste there later on. It was a big home run for us certainly as well as Seth [Williams]."

What is the team's itinerary like this week with the coming regional?

"We are going to get back to practice today and watch the selection show today at 12:30 and then go do our normal Monday weightlifting and then do some defensive work on campus on one of the turf fields. We will go to Cary on Tuesday and Wednesday to practice and try to do some team things together, have a couple of team breakfasts together. Then Thursday's a practice day and it is pretty much dictated by the NCAA when you practice, we will follow that protocol on Thursday and be ready to play on Friday."

What do you think will be crucial for the Tar Heels to advance from the regional?

"Well our season has been dictated by defense, if I look correctly we were 9-8 when we committed two or more errors, so that is going to be critical for us. We need to play good defense in this regional for us to put ourselves in position to win."

Looking back on the season, what are you and the coaching staff most proud of about the team this year?

"Probably just in general, the whole season; the whole body of work that we have put in since we had a miraculous four-run comeback against Florida Atlantic that seemed like a long time ago, to the end of the year and to not lose a series and win a couple of big series on the road, said a lot about our experience. We are proud of our kids and we are ready to play. 58 games so far and I am sure that we will be ready in the NCAA tournament."

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