Mike Fox Q&A

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. -- North Carolina head coach Mike Fox spoke to reporters on Friday afternoon, less than 24 hours before Saturday's first pitch as the Tar Heels prepare for a noon showdown with in-state rival East Carolina in Game 1 of the Super Regional.

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Mike Fox Friday Post-Practice:

ECU head coach Billy Godwin:

How is Alex White doing?
"He threw a bullpen yesterday and was fine. Coach Forbes liked the way he looked; the ball was coming out of his hand good. He's ready. He's healthy, he's ready. We wouldn't be putting him out there anything less or short of that."

How much of an advantage is this team's experience this weekend?
"We're getting ready to find that out, certainly. Because if we do have any advantage at all, that might be considered the only advantage we have, just in terms of the fact that we will run some players out there tomorrow that have been in that situation before. Whether or not that matters – it didn't matter in 2006 when we were at Alabama. We were running guys out there who had never been in it before and we were able to somehow make it out of there. I'm hoping that helps. I think you have to kind of pick the times during the game where maybe that leadership and experience may bode well for you."

The storyline of this matchup is UNC's pitching against ECU's hitting. Would you be just as comfortable with an 8-7 game as you would a 3-2 game?
"I'm never comfortable when it's just a one-run game, ever, against anybody. No, because East Carolina has the ability to score very, very quickly. A lot of teams do offensively with an aluminum bat, but they can do it 1-9. Some teams have to wait until their 2-3-4-5 guys to get up there to have a big inning, but they're capable of doing it in the bottom of their order, as well. This series will definitely be one where those last three outs of a game are going to be critical to get, especially if you have a lead, certainly."

Does last weekend give you confidence that you don't have to wait until your 2-3-4-5 guys to have a big inning?
"Well, we've been confident of that. Yes, I think it does help us, the fact that we got some offensive production all up and down the lineup this weekend. We'll see if we're able to do that this weekend."

How do you scout a team like ECU? Do you focus on the more recent games, or do you take a look at the entire season?
"Coach Forbes watches a lot of video, so he's up there watching them against Southern Miss, which was a while ago. You have to. In order to get a picture of all of their hitters, you've got to see them facing lefties, righties, velocity – all of that sort of thing. You're just trying to get some tendencies here or there, but he looks at a lot of video in terms of looking at their hitters. We don't have that much luxury with the pitchers, of course, because we don't see them as much. But I think you have to look at the whole season."

So what do you see when you look at their batting order that's loaded with .300-plus hitters?
"Well, I try not to look at that column. They're a good offensive team. They can be intimidating, and they've done it throughout the course of the year against really good competition. That's what you have to look at. Obviously, their conference was good this year. It's very good placing three teams into this final 16. But again, I think averages at this point, both on their end and our end, are really not relevant, right now. It's what you're going to do in these six or seven at-bats that you in these next two days, or 11 or 12 if you have three days. And that's for us, as well.

"I think we might see somebody step up on one team or another that maybe we don't think is going to be the guy to do something special. Like Garrett [Gore] did for us this weekend. Who knew Garrett would hit two homeruns in one game? He's the only one who said he would do that. None of the rest of us believed him."

On the atmosphere at Boshamer Stadium this weekend:
"It's going to be intense. It's going to be fun. It should be a blast. It's kind of a once-in-a-lifetime thing here – two instate schools playing for the right to get to the College World Series. I don't think it gets any better than this."

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