Around the Bases with Garrett Gore

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. --- Inside Carolina caught up with Garrett Gore after the Tar Heels concluded their regular season home ACC slate with a sweep of Maryland. Gore sat out Sunday's Senior Day with a hamstring injury, but expects to return soon to the lineup.

Gore, a native of Wilmington, is hitting .285 on the season, but while he's been solid at the plate, it's his defense in right field that has made the biggest impact. Gore has made his share of highlight catches and showcased a strong arm en route to 10 assists to go with his 94 putouts. Above all that, the senior leader has been a part of unprecedented success in Chapel Hill.

"No senior group I think in the history of this program has hard more success - on the field as well as off," UNC head coach Mike Fox said Sunday. "They have done a lot for this program. I think Garrett is an example of kind of what happens when you go to the next level [in baseball]. It is really kind of unexpected - you can not make any promises in recruiting - where you are going to play and what kind of role will you fill. It all depends on the other guys on the team, where you need that person, and Garrett is a great example of moving all over the field and being versatile and doing whatever is necessary to help our team at the time. And he has been willing to do that the whole time he has been here."

Garrett, what are your immediate thoughts on the Senior Day game?
[laughs] From the dugout? Other than that it was good. I just had to see us win. I really wanted to play. I had a lot of family here but took some BP and ran the bases a little bit and it just was not happening. I knew that there was no need to push it right now when we have some big series coming up and the way we played yesterday we did not need a whole lot of Garrett. So it was really good to see our team get some young guys out there and get them some at bats. But, overall Senior Day was good. I tried not to tear up out there, but Tyson came out there, then Adam and McKee - they are some of my best friends. Hopefully this is not our last game [together] here. The seniors' [careers] coming to an end - that is not something I want to do."

Can you reflect on this senior class - winning 200 games together and thus far taking three trips to the College World Series?
"Whenever we first got here - there were other guys with us like Tim Federowicz, who have already left - we were very close. There were not that many of us and that was what was so cool. We hung out from the moment we arrived on campus - from when we were freshmen we were very close and good friends. … It is tough to see it all coming to an end."

What's the latest update on your status with regards to the injury you suffered sliding into home on Friday night?
"I was really, really close to playing today. I'm just trying to go ahead and deal with it. We have a break coming up for exams and I have been in training the last three days. I have good strength in it, it is my hamstring. It is just a minor tweak, but it is one of those things - I could only get it up to about 8 miles per hour on the treadmill. It would be tough to go first to third - I would be slower than anyone else. [laughing] We were talking today that I might have had Brett Thomas - I don't know about Fleury - but Brett Thomas, I might have stuck with him."

After starting your career as an infielder, you've made some big plays in the outfield this season …
"The first weekend - it was a Wednesday I believe - Coach Fox instructed me, 'Go out there don't worry about the spectacular plays. Just go out there and make all the routine ones.' I went out there with that mindset and things just sort of happened. It is not like I rolled out there thinking that I was going to try to do this or do that; I was just in the right place at the right time - jump and I caught it, or dove for it and I caught it, or throw it and some guy comes around too slowly. It has just worked out and I have been in the right place at the right time."

There's still a lot of baseball left this season, but what plans do you have for after the season at the conclusion of your college career?
"I don't know - I would really like to see if I can get an opportunity to play. But I am really not going to stress out about it. There will be many other opportunities to possibly come up for me. The main thing is if I am not playing baseball I am looking forward to getting some time to do some hunting or fishing. And try to get the rest of my school done - that is my main goal. Hopefully by that time everything will be going well with the economy."

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Can you discuss the different styles of leadership shown by this senior class?
"I feel that we are kind of alike in a lot of ways. I might have been a little more vocal. I have gone though a different kind of situation than they have ever since Adam has been in the group. He played right away - I didn't. Some of the other guys will ask me about what I would do if I wasn't doing this; just having some questions and I share to the best of my knowledge - like the man Coach Fox and the way baseball works. I did not play until the regionals [during my freshman season]. I did not start or get a chance to start until regionals. We were a really good baseball team that year - the most talent I have ever seen. Things change throughout a season, for instance I got hurt and Seth Baldwin goes out there and is playing. [I tell the younger guys] be ready for those things and don't sit back. You will get opportunities no matter what team you are on."

What does it mean to you to see your classmate, Mike Cavasinni, overcome such adversity and play a role in the win today?
"First off, they don't come any finer than him and his family. Great people. To see him overcome all the stuff that came at him - the knee surgery, the eye. He pulled his hamstring during his freshman year and came back from that year and played unbelievable for us during those playoffs. He has just worked very hard and to see him go out there and get a hit and be on base for Levi's home run ... just to see him out there is awesome just because of the person he is ... It is good to see it all pay off for him."

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