On Michael Morin’s struggles this weekend compared to his dominance all season long:
“That’s baseball and I know people want to know why. People want to question why, what was wrong, what did he do wrong and he didn’t do anything wrong. There’s a fine line between winning and losing. There’s a fine line between making a good pitch and making a bad pitch and I think Michael probably misspoke a little bit at the press conference when he said he didn’t feel quite comfortable. Maybe people thought what does that mean. What was wrong with him? Was it his arm? Not really sure.
“Sometimes you can just get off whack a little bit and Michael wasn’t consistently throwing strikes. I think that’s probably the only difference. He wasn’t getting ahead of hitters where he could throw that changeup and they couldn’t sit on it. It’s one of those things. Michael had a sensational season for us. Today we named he and Kent [Emanuel] our most valuable pitchers, because we most certainly wouldn’t have been in that regional without either one of those young men.”
On the decision to take Kent Emanuel out and put Michael Morin in for the ninth inning Saturday night:
“It’s easy for me to sit here and say if I had to do it all over again, if I had known the results. I don’t know what the results are going to be. All I can base my decision on is what’s happened in the past and what had happened in the past is that Michael Morin had saved a lot of games for us. I would do it again every single time. I think that’s why you have a closer and I think that’s why you hope you have one as good as Michael Morin. It just didn’t work out. You got to give [Danny Bethea] credit and it’s unfortunate, but it happened.”
Do you have an update on the status of R.C. Orlan?
“He’s going to be fine. He just strained that flexor tendon/muscle which is good news. We made sure we got that word out today to all the professional people, but we did make note that he would be fine, but he probably couldn’t pitch for the whole summer. Therefore it’s probably a good idea for him to just to return for his senior year and he could start throwing pro ball next June. [smiles] We asked him today if it was okay if we put that out and he said sure.”
What are some of your favorite memories during this great stretch for the program?
“Oh gosh. It has to start obviously with Alabama and the [walk-off] homerun [in 2006]. I think that got it started and here is a great story. Right after Michael gave up the homerun that Saturday night, about 30 minutes after the game, coach [Robert] Woodard got a text from Andrew Carignan, who obviously was the saves leader at North Carolina who is in the major leagues. He wanted to talk to Michael Morin, so got his number and called Michael. This is Andrew Carignan, who pitched a long time ago, has now made it to the big leagues, who had an interesting journey through North Carolina, but I thought it was great he wanted to reach out to Michael and his comment to him was, ‘people forget I gave up the three-run homer at Alabama to give them the lead. Had that been in the ninth inning, my legacy may have been different, our program might not even be were it was’ and I think that really helped Michael.
“That’s a special moment for me, just knowing that there are players in the past that are still invested in the program and reaching out to players still in the program. I’ll never forget the home run Dustin [Ackley] hit against East Carolina off of one foot. There’s a lot of them.”
Have you considered changing the way you approach recruiting position players and batters because of the change to the bats and how the game has changed recently?
“Yeah, we certainly want athleticism on the field and I think people are probably going to point out that home runs were a problem for us from last year to this year. They were down everywhere. We only hit 20 this year. I think we hit 30 some odd last year. I don’t know the exact number, but, yeah, it’s nice to have some boppers there in the middle, but that’s not what won the regional for [St. Johns].
“You go down and look at Georgia Tech. Georgia Tech hits a lot of home runs at their place. It didn’t get them out of the regional at Florida, so you have to put it all in perspective. We want athleticism on the field to help us defensively and team speed always helps, but home runs are just going to be down and you’re just not going to win games by hitting home runs I don’t think in college baseball anymore.”
Who are some players Tar Heel fans should keep an eye on in the MLB Draft over the next few days?
“Matt Smoral, the lefty [pitcher] we signed. If he goes tonight then we probably won't see him in a Tar Heel uniform so we’ll watch closely tonight, but I think we got a good chance to hold on to the rest of them. Obviously, the new slotting system, the collective bargaining agreement [helps us], but Taylore Cherry, Skye Bolt we have the potential to lose. It will be interesting to see what happens. I think rounds two through fifteen are [Tuesday], so I hope Jacob’s name gets called and Michael’s and R.C.’s and all those guys get called tomorrow.”
What are some of strengths and weaknesses looking ahead to next years team?
“It’s not hard to look ahead. We turn our attention to next season already and I told our players I’m already excited. Certainly, we got a number of players back and the potential to have a number of them back combined with our recruiting class, we’ve got a chance to have another good club next year. We’ve got to improve defensively there’s no question. We’re going to have to replace Michael if he doesn’t come back and find somebody to finish games for us and certainly we’ve got to improve offensively and get more consistent. I think we’ll have a lot competition next fall, which I think will help. I’m excited about next year already.”
As time goes by how will you remember this season?
“I’m going to remember it very fondly and probably Jacob Stallings when people mention 2012. That’s probably going to be the first thought, because what a career he had. I think he defines Carolina baseball. Just so invested in our program, really wanted to be good, left nothing on the field and just gave everything he had to being a Carolina student, graduate in four years, being a great Carolina student-athlete. The epitome of why you coach and why you love to be around young people.
“It hurt so much for him last night as his dad said and his dad is obviously a coach. When you invest a lot, you hurt a lot when it’s over and you should’ve heard Jacob in the locker room talking to his teammates. It’s one of those moments in a locker room that I’m glad I can be in there for and for other people that aren’t privy to that kind of thing, it was pretty special; him talking to his teammates and what they all meant to him and what his Carolina experience meant to him and that’s what everybody out there needs to keep in mind. The experience of being a college student athlete is a lot more than wins and losses.”