Around the Bases with Alex White

Inside Carolina caught up with right handed starting pitcher Alex White after the NCAA selection show, as the Tar Heels were named the No. 4 national seed and learned of their regional draw.

White is coming off of his shortest outing of the season - 2.1 innings pitched against Virginia in the ACC Tournament last Friday. White has a 7-4 record with a 4.13 ERA, leading the Tar Heels in innings pitched (85) and strikeouts (92). The 6-3 junior power pitcher from Greenville (N.C.) Conley is projected as a first-round draft pick in next month's Major League Baseball Rule 4 Draft.

Q&A with ALEX WHITE

What did you think of your team's draw in the Regional?
"We have got a tough regional. We played Coastal this year and they beat us here. I personally don't know much about Dartmouth or Kansas, but will get more familiar with them in the next couple of days. We have our work cut out for us and it will be a tough weekend."

Coastal Carolina earned the first victory by a visiting team in the renovated Boshamer Stadium and were very vocal in their victory here. Are you looking forward to possibly playing against them in the Regional?
"Absolutely, you know it is going to be a lot of fun. It is a good time with a team from right around this area. They are going to bring a lot of fans and they are a good team. It will be a lot of fun."

How have you dealt with all of the attention from the scouts leading up to the draft while at the same time getting prepared for the post-season?
"Just taking it one day at a time and just preparing for my next start. My last couple have not been as good as we would like them to be and just keep working and get back out there. I am ready to go in the Regional and I think our whole team is."

Looking back on your decision to turn down the Dodgers out of high school and come to North Carolina, how do you reflect on that now?
"It was a tough decision at the time. Obviously I made the right choice to come to school. I have a lot of school out of the way – I might finish next year, who knows? But, it is a tough decision and looking back I made the right decision and the excitement building up for the future is great, but for right now I am concentrating on the rest of the season."

Coming off of your last performance in the ACC Tournament, what is it like waiting to get back on the mound?
"It is tough. I am obviously feeling bad about it until I get back on the mound again. It is just one of those times that nothing went my way - they got five runs before I had a chance to blink. It is just tough and motivation to work harder and be prepared for the Regional. If that had been the last start of my career or season that would be devastating. Knowing we would host a regional and that I would get another start for this team is a big pickup for me. I'm just getting ready in the weight room and doing all my stuff out here preparing for the start."

Having worked with Mark Fleury throughout the season, what's his role been on the team this season…
"Mark is just that guy that keeps the whole team grounded. He makes us laugh when we need it and is serious when we need it. He is the catcher that people talk about that runs the team - he is a great teammate and when he is playing well the whole team plays well."

What have you thought of the defense behind you this season?
"It is tough [to compare to previous years] - we have had some great players I think in every position out on the field. We have great athletes that know what they are doing out on the field. We have great outfielders and obviously great infielders with Levi [Michael], [Kyle] Seager and [Ryan] Graepel up the middle and Dusty [Dustin Ackley] just does his thing at first base…He is pretty good and is an athlete who can play any position. Then even behind the plate with Fleury and Jacob [Stallings] – we didn't miss a beat with any of our position players on defense."

There has been a clamoring of fans wanting to put a bat back into your hands - how much batting practice have you had in your career at North Carolina?
"I have taken some off and on, but as of right now my concentration is on the mound. My job is to go out there and I think we have some great hitters and those guys work hard and they are tough in the box and we trust them all. It is just one of those things where right now it is more important for me to throw the ball from the mound."

Is it fun for you to get out there as a pinch runner, defensive substitute or designated hitter?
"It is a lot of fun - it is a change from going out once a week and pitching once a week. I enjoy it and I am very happy they think that much of me and trust me to go out there and do stuff like that. I definitely enjoy it and it is a lot of fun and any chance that I get to do it I will."

You made it to Omaha your first two years - what would it mean to you to return this season?
"It would be unbelievable. It has been my goal since day one to get back to Omaha and win this thing. We are looking forward to it and we have a great team and we have the pieces that we need to do it and we are looking forward to the opportunity."


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