Monday with Mike Fox

Two walk-off defeats resulted in a series loss at Tallahassee over the weekend for the Tar Heels, who dropped to No. 5 in the Baseball America Top 25. Inside Carolina caught up with head coach Mike Fox on Monday for an exclusive interview ...

Week in Review
Tue. 4/7 - UNC 3, ECU 1
Wed. 4/8 - UNC 12, Richmond 8
Fri. 4/10 - FSU 3, UNC 2
Sat. 4/11 - UNC 12, FSU 7
Sun. 4/12 - FSU 9, UNC 8

Sophomore right handed pitcher Patrick Johnson had an impressive week. He started off with 6 innings of no-hit baseball against a hot-hitting East Carolina club and then turned around and started the Sunday game against Florida State, giving up one run in 4 2/3 innings. For the week, Johnson held opponents to a .159 batting average with a 1.09 WHIP.

Junior third baseman Kyle Seager batted .550 this week with an on base percentage of .650 in addition to knocking in 10 Tar Heel base runners, stealing two bases and hitting a grand slam home run against Florida State.

The Tar Heels were a healthy draw for the Seminoles, who drew over 15,000 fans for the weekend series that helped add to the pressure on the Tar Heel bullpen, which sorely missed left handed relief pitcher Brian Moran. The bullpen issued 14 walks in the series against the Seminoles.

This coming weekend the Tar Heels celebrate the official dedication of Bryant Field at Boshamer Stadium. Tickets have sold out for the Saturday and Sunday games against the No.10 Miami Hurricanes. Some tickets are still available for the opening game of the series on Friday. Saturday's game will be televised on RSN.

This Week's Schedule
Tue. 4/14 - High Point - 6 pm
Wed. 4/15 - Winthrop - 6 pm
Fri. 4/17 - Miami - 7 pm
Sat. 4/18 - Miami - 4 pm
Sun. 4/19 - Miami - 1 pm

What was your impression on the series in Tallahassee against the Seminoles?
It was very disappointing. We had a chance to win all three games and just could not hold leads and we walked entirely too many people and gave them too many opportunities to score. That came back to get us and good teams take advantage of that and they certainly did.

Can you discuss Alex White's performance on Friday night?
Alex was terrific - he did not deserve the fate that he got. He made a great pitch there in the ninth inning and the Ramsey kid just swung over it and dribbled it to second - that happens in baseball, it turned out to be a base hit - but he was outstanding and put us in a position to win. Unfortunately we could not muster up enough offense to support his pitching performance. It happens sometimes.

How much do you think playing on the road against large vocal crowds adds pressure on the bullpen late in games?
No, most of these guys - the relievers - have pitched in front of crowds before. I would hate to think that would be the reason why we were unable to command the strike zone. Their crowd is great and they help them and they don't expect to lose there and that is part of playing at home. We should have that same mentality here - but I don't think that was it

Can you discuss the changes in the batting order - putting Dustin Ackley in the two hole and Kyle Seager behind him?
Just really trying to get those guys another at bat and get our best hitters at the top of the order - really that more than anything else.

Can you discuss the decision to start Patrick Johnson in the staff game on Sunday and moving Matt Harvey to the bullpen?
It really wasn't a staff game - it was Patrick's game to start. The situation that we were in with our bullpen and some guys not being available … Matt came to us and we talked about it briefly if he could pitch in relief on Saturday and the situation arose where we could do that and we felt comfortable with Patrick and he pitched very well.

Do you expect Patrick Johnson to continue to pitch on the weekend and what plans do you have for Matt Harvey moving forward?
I am just not sure at this point. We will have to sit down and evaluate this week and kind of see where we are. I am not quite sure what we are going to do, not only mid-week but this weekend.

Are you and the team looking forward to being back at home at the Bosh after two tough weekend road trips?
Sure it will be fun and we are hoping that the weather will cooperate. Anytime you have been on the road for two weekends in a row you look forward to coming back home. Hopefully it will be a good weekend for us.

Do you have any update on Brian Moran's availability to pitch?
I do not at this point. I do not have anything to share at this point on Brian. We kind of are taking it one day at the time and will see how he feels today.

Talk with UNC baseball fans on Inside Carolina's Diamond Heels Message Board
Can you discuss the defense at Florida State - only committing one error in the field?
We played well defensively - we made one crucial error there early that hurt us with the bases loaded. But it is when you make your errors more than anything else, whether you can erase them with a double play or strikeout. But for the most part we played well defensively, but we have not put our offense and our pitching together. We still have all of our goals attainable. You have some setbacks in this league on the road sometimes but I have a tough bunch of kids so we will certainly recover, no doubts about that.

Kyle Seager has been swinging a hot bat recently …
He had a great week - a grand slam yesterday. He is a great hitter, he takes every at bat personally and he was ready this week. He has been our probably most consistent guy from the start to this point. It is great to see him have such a great year.


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