Monday with Mike Fox

North Carolina (41-14, 19-10 ACC) concluded the regular season with a series win at Boston College and a Coastal Division title. Next up is this week's ACC Championship in Durham. Inside Carolina caught up with head coach Mike Fox on Monday for an exclusive interview ...

Last Week
Tue. 5/12 - UNC 4 Charlotte 1
Thu. 5/14 - BC 3 UNC 1
Fri. 5/15 - UNC 16 BC 10
Sat. 5/16 - UNC 8 BC 1

Garrett Gore went on a tear, going 7-for-14 against Boston College (7 for 14) while hitting .471 for the week.

Matt Harvey silenced the BC bats on Saturday, only allowing one earned run in the ninth inning of his career long 8.2-inning performance. Brian Moran was the star reliever yet again, going 2-0 and striking out 10 batters, while allowing one run in six innings.

Dustin Ackley is now seven hits away from Chad Flack's UNC base hit record and leads the ACC with 87 base hits and is second with his .405 average and 17 home runs. Ackley has a nine-game hitting streak heading into the ACC tourney and batted .444 in the final week of the regular season.

Freshman catcher Jacob Stallings returned to the mound and pitched a scoreless inning of relief on Thursday at Boston College, while sophomore Greg Holt earned his first career save against Charlotte allowing one hit over 2.2 scoreless innings.

This Week
Wed. 5/20 - ACC: Duke - 8pm
Fri. 5/22 - ACC: Virginia - 8pm
Sat. 5/23 - ACC: Clemson - 4pm
Sun. 5/24 - ACC: Championship - 1pm

Congratulations on winning the Coastal Division Championship. What's your perspective on the weekend series at Boston College and the divisional accomplishment?
"Well, we are certainly tickled to death to end the season the way we did - winning the Coastal Division. We can control only what we can control, so we wanted to respond back from the game on Thursday and play better on the games on Friday and Saturday. We did get some help obviously but our body of work throughout the regular season is something that we are all very proud of and I thought we had a good regular season."

Can you talk about the importance of Matt Harvey's performance on Saturday?
"It was important on a number of fronts - most important was for our team against a Boston College team that had scored 10 runs against us the day before - I think BC is one of the better offensive teams in our league. His performance did not surprise any of us - we have all seen Matt Harvey do that before. The bullpen was a little thin on Saturday and he gave those guys a chance to rest. I hate the fact that Matt was not able to finish the game, but he was up to 126 pitches and that was enough. That was a terrific outing by Matt - we were all very happy for him and most importantly he was happy for our team."

The ballots are due this week for Freshman All-Americans. Why do you think Levi Michael should be considered?
"Levi has had a very good season - his first year and the numbers that he has put up playing everyday on a good team in a great league. He has done everything we have asked of him, from hitting home runs to driving in runs. He has gotten hot and carried us some and gotten some big hits for us. I will let other people decide on those kind of awards, but in our mind he has had a terrific season."

Garrett Gore swung the bat very well this week. What's been the impact of getting him back in action after his injury?
"I thought Garrett had one of his best weeks this past week. He cut down on his strikeouts and I think he had seven or eight hits for us and drove in some runs. He looked very comfortable and poised in the box, not jumping at the ball. Even some of the outs that he made - especially at BC - were hit right on the button. He is one of our seniors who has stepped up at the right time for us and provided us with some great leadership and some really good play. I thought Garrett was really important in our wins up there for sure."

Can you discuss Greg Holt's performance out of the bullpen?
"Greg was lights out against Charlotte. It is funny how we have been so thin in our bullpen in some games and we have had to use some guys in different spots. We bring in Jacob Stallings for an inning and he throws great at BC. We bring in Greg Holt when we really needed him to throw an inning for us and to try to get us into the eighth or ninth and he just goes out there and throws strike after strike and spins his curveball in there. He is a competitor and he throws strikes - that is sometimes the name of the game. That was great for us to see to give him some confidence and to give us some confidence to use him."

How important has it been to have Mike Cavasinni back in center field?
"We need Mike Cavasinni in our lineup - you saw what happened to our team when he was not in the lineup. He is an important part of our team and our guys like having him in there. He brings us a spark and some toughness and grit and it will be important to keep him healthy and on the field."

What is your opinion on your team's schedule for this week's ACC Championship?
"Again, this is something that we don't control. We figured we might be the late game over there - us and Duke being the two local teams - as soon as we were paired up against them. It was my assumption and we were not sure if it was going to be Wednesday or not. This is a new format that we are using this year so the games do not get backed up and we don't play four games a day. It just taxes everybody. Two teams do not play Wednesday and they have to go Thursday, Friday and Saturday. There are some positives and some negatives to it. We like the fact that we are playing Wednesday. We are going to throw Adam Warren on Wednesday, he is our most rested. We did not want to bring Alex White back on only five days of rest and this brings him back on his normal Friday schedule. Matt Harvey will have some rest from Saturday to Saturday with his normal six days in between. This worked out pretty well - we will see how we do."

Talk with UNC baseball fans on Inside Carolina's Diamond Heels Message Board
What pitching plans do you have if you reach the championship game?
"I have no idea - throw the kitchen sink on Sunday."

What areas do you have the team focusing on heading into the post-season?
"Right now it is about managing the time right now - how much time we need to practice and how much time they need to rest - and figuring out the logistics of the week and the travel. We are still going to focus on the fundamentals in practice this week starting today at noon. We will do a lot of defensive stuff to start and get our pitchers working on fielding the bunt. It is a short game for us, not making mistakes defensively. Some guys are a little banged up from the weekend - just some nicks and stuff - so we will treat them and get them in the weight room after practice today to get a good lift in. It is mostly about managing that a little bit more than anything else; just trying to maintain what you are doing all year long."


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