Coach Mike Fox
On being in the last regional
"It was torture. I did not have any idea. You are looking at a board and writing down who is in and in the back of your mind seeing who is out. They eliminated some sites we thought we had a chance to go to. Then it gets down to the last one. We sweated it out but we obviously are ecstatic that we are in. That is the biggest eruption that I have heard from a team since I have been here. I think they were really, really excited to be in. That is because we did not know - we did not know if we had done enough and there are a lot of good teams out there and the committee has an extremely difficult task and we did not make the (ACC) Tournament - we could argue both sides for and against when we are looking at it. It was a great relief actually."
On being selected while Boston College was left out...
"That is a tough one.
I feel bad for Mick [Aoiki] because that is a hard one. The committee
probably had a difficult time with that one as well. In
general, and this is my opinion [on] conference tournaments, last year
we know what happens to Virginia winning the tournament. Florida
State wins the tournament this year and yes they are a No. 1 seed but they
have to travel [to Norwich, Connecticut] so I don't know and I really
think that the committee tries to put stock on your whole body of work
[interjects] and I'm not on the committee - but I wish our league had
gotten nine and I am sure that there will be people out there that are
going to have their opinions on whether we should or shouldn't but I
am happy for our players."
On the team gaining momentum
after a rough start...
"I think the biggest credit I can give my team is that we were able to weather some really tough weekends. When you are swept three times you can fold or you can get going. I really think how we finished and our team staying together and maybe the last weekend was probably the hurdle that got us over the hump with Virginia Tech - don't guess we will know. I am proud of our team that we kept fighting to the end and put ourselves in this position. I think as any team - no matter a national seed or whether you are the 64th team in - all you want to do is get in and then anything can happen."
On the Diamond Heels' goal...
"Our goal is always the
same - we want to get back to the College World Series. Obviously
it is a tough road for everybody. We have a track record that
we have been able to do it on the road here. It is a great field
and we obviously have got our work cut out for us but our expectations have
not changed for us."
On practice this weekend...
"We actually had three really good scrimmages over the weekend. We played pretty well, which is surprising a little bit because we were practicing in limbo which is sometimes hard to do."
On when Matt Harvey may take the mound next...
"We just found out [laughs]
- how fast do you think we work here? I would be surprised if
Matt Harvey doesn't throw the first game for us. Someone would
have to present me a pretty convincing case otherwise - California is
On the level of competition this season in the ACC...
"Our league is good, I
mean it is a given - everybody knows that. It is 30 games and
it is a war and you have to compete in all of them and fortunately down
the road we were able to be a little more competitive in our league
against some teams that went on and did well and I think that probably
helped us in the eyes of the committee that we won some series down
On how the team improved down the stretch...
"Our pitching got better
- that is what helped us kind of turn the corner. We had to pitch
better - we challenged Patrick Johnson and Colin Bates and some of those
guys that we had to elevate our level of pitching and stop walking so
many people and I think that helped us in some other phases. When
you are teetering pitching wise you are always nervous during the game
that you are going to give up an inning or not. We did not
have a lot of clean innings - 1-2-3 innings - and are always on the defensive
with our pitchers always out of the stretch and having to defend the
running game and make a good play or looking for double plays.
We got into some games where we had some 1-2-3 innings and it kept the
flow of the game going a little bit and our offense benefited a little
bit from that. It is kind of strange to stay that but it does
help when you are pitching and playing better defense when your guys
can come in and hit and not be on defense for so long."
On the players' reaction once the announcement happened...
"It was awesome - we went
crazy. I am surprised that we did not knock some stuff down in
the players lounge. All around it was great for us. A couple
of us said at the beginning of the show that we would be the last team
and have to sweat it out. Once we heard our name and we saw it
up there we were so excited."
On the weekend of practice...
"We have been scrimmaging
all weekend - Friday, Saturday, Sunday. We had some scrimmages
and we are all ready to go and we are amped up and we are going to get
back at it with practice this afternoon."
On his career at North Carolina...
"The three years that
I have had here have been unbelievable and I would not take it back
for anything. This is why we play college baseball - to make a
regional and to be able to have a chance to get back to Omaha."
On finding out the Tar Heels were going to Oklahoma...
"It was a little bit different
from year's past. Before we would be waiting to see who would
be in our regional. It was probably the most nervous that I have
ever been there sitting, waiting, holding our breath. We have our
noses back to the grindstone and getting back to work and getting excited
to be back in the post-season."
On practicing at the Bosh while the ACC Tournament was ongoing...
"That was also a little
different but at the same time we tried to take the same approach with
the post-season in mind and knowing we needed to prepare every day as
a chance to get better - that is what we tried to do."
On the Diamond Heels being in the last announced regional...
"It was very nerve racking
I am sure the other guys have said it. You are just sitting there
watching and your heart was pounding and I was very nervous. Especially
when I saw a couple of predicted regionals that I heard - you are not
supposed to look at those or take those for anything but after I saw
those predicted ones go you know your heart starts pounding a little
more and you don't know what happens. Then that last regional comes up
and you see your name. It is just pure joy that comes over your
body and we still get to keep playing, which is the best thing of it
Coach Fox mentioned how difficult it would have been if the Diamond Heels were not selected today to say goodbye to everyone today...
"I started thinking about
that it was going to be real tough to say goodbye to everyone in street
clothes in our players lounge rather than ending all of my other seasons
in Omaha and seeing all the other seniors go. It is special to
me - I get to keep playing and I get to enjoy playing baseball for hopefully
quite a few more games and enjoy my teammates."
On the wait during the selection show...
"I guess in some ways
the wait was punishment for not making the ACC Tournament.
They said, 'You guys had a great year but you did not make the tournament
so we are going to make you sweat it out a little bit.' We feel
really blessed to have this opportunity and we are going to go up there
and see if we can play for a few more weeks."
On practicing over the weekend while the ACC Tournament was in progress...
"I would not consider
us rested as much as Coach Fox has practiced us this weekend. We are
trying to keep a very similar schedule to what we have been doing -
throwing the weekend guys on the weekend when they should pitch and
getting a lot of scrimmaging in to see some live pitching. We
are working the same way we would during the middle of the week just
that we are playing against ourselves instead of other teams.
It was a little bit different watching the ACC Tournament from home
but at the same time we don't feel any less prepared than any other
team that played in conference tournaments this last weekend."
How would it be to be able
to get back to Omaha in the last year of Roseblatt Stadium?
"That would be incredible. We are excited to just have the chance to get back there to be honest with you. Being our last year it would be a big honor and would be just tremendous to get back for the fifth year in a row for this program and the fourth year in a row for me personally. We want to take the young guys too - we want them to experience it and see the things that we have gotten to see over the years. The last year at Rosenblatt will be very special - I think once it gets moved downtown it is going to be a lot different."