What’s your perspective on returning for your senior season at North Carolina?
“It is something that I was really looking forward to. Last year during the draft process I knew that is what I wanted to do -- come back and graduate on time and get my degree from obviously a great university. I am very excited and having fun with the guys and looking forward to enjoying my senior year.”
Can you discuss the honor of being drafted drafted and the decision process to return?
“I talked with teams earlier than the 42nd round but I basically told them that I did not want to sign. I talked with four or five teams around the 10th round. I think they knew and I knew that my price was too high to go. Like I said, I was very excited about returning.”
How much course work do you have left in your academic career?
“16 hours this semester and 15 next semester so hopefully I won’t fail any classes...”
... how difficult is it taking a full course load during the baseballs season?
“It won’t be bad. I’ve done it every semester that I have been here. I have only taken 13 hours one semester other than that I have had 15 or 16.”
Can you discuss the progress of the freshmen pitchers from your standpoint?
“Well, you saw Benton Moss (in Game 1). He is one of the advanced ones we feel like. We have a number of lefties - situational lefties that can help us. The class as a whole is a good class. They have a little more of a learning curve than last year’s class. Last year's class is a very mature class - not only the pitchers but the position players as well. So these guys have a little bit more to learn but they definitely have the talent.”
Speaking of Benton Moss, can you discuss his repertoire on the mound and his repeatability on the mound?
“Benton has a great plus curveball and a good fastball. He is working on a slider. I think it is better than he does. So he is a little gun shy to throw that but he has good stuff and a chance at being very good.”
How were the team names were selected this year for the Fall World Series?
“To be honest I don’t even know what the other team name is. I think that was off of a You Tube video and ours was off of a Twitter account. That is basically how that came about.”
Your fellow catcher Matt Roberts - Coach Forbes was very complimentary of the depth that the team has behind the plate with you and him...
“Matt has gotten a lot better since last year. It will do nothing but help us. He got unlucky last year and broke his hand and was never able to get into a good rhythm offensively or defensively. But, he has gotten a lot better especially offensively. I thought he was always good defensively last year and he has made strides with his offense and I think he will contribute to our team this year.”
With the coaching staff split up the way it was do you call all of your own pitches in the FWS?
“Yep. That is something I was looking forward to. They have Coach Woodard and Forbes and we have Coach Fox and Jackson. So yeah I got to call the pitches and kind of chirped in their hitters ears a little bit.”
Can you discuss how you set up the scouting report and how you wanted to approach the other team's hitters?
“We see those guys every day. We just wanted to go after them, throw strikes and make them hit it. Unfortunately we had too many walks today so that we kind of did not make a couple of defensive plays here and there. We just want to go right after them. We don’t really feel like as a team we have a lot of holes as hitters so you just go after them, throw strikes and make them put it into play.”
What do you think of Cody Stubbs at first base this fall?
“Cody has been a very pleasant surprise. He came from the same school that Wierz [Jesse Wierzbicki] did [Walters State]. He is a very similar player to Wierz. They both play really hard and both bring it every single day. Stubbs has a lot of pop at the plate and is very solid defensively. He is a guy that reminds me of Jesse a lot.”
Which of the freshman position players have caught your eye so far?
“Much like the pitchers they have a lot of talent. Mike Zolk is one that kind of stands out a little bit to me I guess. He is an advanced hitter with an advanced approach and he is solid defensively. I feel that all the guys are good either offensively or good defensively. They might have to round out their game a little bit more.”
Can you discuss facing R.C. Orlan and Hobbs Johnson in Game 1?
“We I think a little bit of what made them effective was a big zone. They are both guys with good breaking stuff and they throw it a lot. R.C. threw a lot of breaking off speed pitches, which was more than I expected since he is usually a fastball pitcher. Hobbs has gotten a lot better. He is the guy that I always felt like his stuff has been there but he could put it together. Hobbs to me is one of those guys that will make a huge jump because he seems really good this fall.”
What happened on the ball that hit you in the neck?
“I went over to block it and I think it hit a bad spot in the dirt and hopped sideways and hit me in the neck. I was fine, then a couple of pitches later I kept getting dizzy every time that I stood up - it wasn’t the pain that was the problem it was just that I was getting dizzy. I’m fine now.”