CWS Wednesday Notebook

OMAHA, Neb. – Head coach Mike Fox and his players spoke to reporters during Wednesday's media session, as the Tar Heels prepare for Thursday night's showdown with No. 7 seed LSU.

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Mike Fox:

Matt Harvey:

* Fresno State closer Brandon Burke indicated during Tuesday's postgame press conference that the Bulldog pitching staff made a point to throw outside of the strike zone, in hopes that North Carolina's aggressiveness at the plate would work against them.

That strategy played out almost perfectly, and UNC head coach Mike Fox agreed with Burke's assessment during his media interview on Wednesday afternoon.

"That's probably an accurate comment," Fox said. "We did not have good plate discipline last night, and it showed. And it was really everybody up and down our lineup. It wasn't just one or two guys, it was everybody at some point during the game or at some at-bat. We just chased some pitches off the plate and to their credit, they got into some hitters' counts.

"But even late in the game, I thought we swung at some balls. And we talked about that – we've talked about that as a team. It's one of those things that we preach offensively, swinging at good pitches in the right counts and we didn't do that."

* The aforementioned impatience in the batter's box stems in part from the fact that North Carolina's play suffers when trailing late in ball games. The Tar Heels are 6-9 when trailing after five innings on the season, 3-8 when trailing after six, and just 1-9 when trailing after eight.

"We're not used to playing from behind a lot this year, which is a good thing, but it's part of the game," Fox said. "You just can't let the fact that you let the other team get a run or two ahead of you dictate the rest of the game or your approach at the plate. We've got to be smarter and be more mature than that.

"We talk all of the time about the game being nine innings long, and let's just keep playing the game and really try not to look at the scoreboard, but that's easier said than done, especially when you're out here and it's an important game. But we didn't handle it well [on Tuesday], and I was a little bit surprised by that, quite honestly."

* Grizzled fifth-year senior Rob Wooten kept North Carolina within striking distance of Fresno State on Tuesday night, allowing just one run on three hits in 3 1/3 innings. But while most pitchers would sidelined for several days after throwing 58 pitches, the Fremont, N.C. product doesn't represent your average hurler.

Wooten has made a staggering 41 appearances this season, which equates to 63.1 percent of North Carolina's outings and ranks third all-time in the Tar Heel record books. Tuesday's effort marked the right hander's ninth appearance in this postseason out of a possible 10 opportunities.

So will Wooten be available for Thursday night's elimination showdown with LSU?

"[My arm's] a little sore today, but it's a good sore, and I'll be fine to go [Thursday] as long as they want me," Wooten said. "I'll be able to throw just as much [on Thursday] as I did [on Tuesday], so I'll be good to go."

* Thursday's starting pitcher Matt Harvey had heard about the atmosphere surrounding the College World Series all season long, but even he was shocked at what he found once he arrived in Omaha last week.

"I didn't think it was going to be this big," Harvey said. "I knew it was big hype and everything, but I didn't think that would actually be true. It's like a carnival outside – nothing that I'm used to."

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