UNC-NCSU: Mike Fox Postgame

UNC-NCSU: Mike Fox Postgame

GREENSBORO, N.C. -- Inside Carolina's postgame coverage includes a transcript of head coach Mike Fox's postgame press conference following UNC's win over N.C. State on Tuesday.

Opening comments:
"We're very excited to have won, to be able to stay here a little bit longer and play three more games. It was an incredible game - like everybody expected - when these teams get together. Long game and a lot happened over the last four hours. We did just enough to come out and get a win. Excited for our team. I'm glad we get to continue playing here in the ACC Tournament."

How much of a must-win game do you think this was, especially for the postseason? And how much did that influence your decision to put in Trent?
"Must-win is pretty strong, but we knew that this was a very important game for us, and we didn't want to take any chances. We wanted to stay alive and stay in this tournament as long as we can."

Were you concerned with Reilly Hovis's pitch count in this game?
"A little bit. He's well rested; he hasn't thrown a lot in the last three weeks. He gave us what we wanted into the third, fourth, and fifth inning. Got to give State and their hitters a lot of credit. Lots of 3-2 counts. They really got his pitch count up there early, and that was a factor there in the fourth inning, and he really had to work."

Was it always the plan to use Trent Thornton as the closer?

"We had hoped it would work out that way and bring him in the game with a lead."

Did you get a look at the steal at home plate in the fifth inning?

"I don't. I saw it like everybody else. Incredibly courageous play on their part. It was certainly close and the umpire called him out."

How does today affect your rotation going forward?

"We have a couple guys that can pitch tomorrow… two or three. I'll let Coach Forbes figure that out tonight. This position we're in - we'll have to piece it together. We have Taylore Cherry ready and he'll pitch tomorrow night and Zac Gallen will be ready to go on Friday."

How can your pitching performances today build confidence for the rest of the season?

"All three of our guys came in and did exactly what we needed them to do. Those are some young guys. That's what the regular season does, it gives you experience. I'm proud of them coming in and pounding the strike zone and getting a couple big strikeouts. They played such a big part in this game and it was huge for our relievers to come in and be able to do that."

Is there anything to prepare you for a guy breaking from third base like Trea Turner did?

"He's so good. You try to keep him off base. We had a freshman out there who has never been in that type of situation. He's probably the best base stealer in the country and you can only do so much. He's been an incredible player to watch and compete against."

Would you have been surprised if Carlos Rodon came into the game?

"I wouldn't have been surprised. To see him pitch, he's been amazing, but we need to compete against whomever they throw out there."

How fitting was it for your bullpen to throw six clutch innings?

"It was really important. We pitched backwards today, starting with Reilly and finishing with Trent. I was glad it worked out."

What type of confidence did you gain from today's offensive performance?

"That big inning helped us where we were able to put three on the board and get the lead. It was important knowing we had Trent to finish the game. We have to be a little bit better at executing offensively. We felt like we had an opportunity to score more runs, and we need to do that the rest of the week."

Has it been an issue this season not getting the clutch hits and clutch runs?

"A little bit. That's what separates teams – two-out RBIs and driving in runs. Being able to execute a sac-fly. We've done it well at times and we've not done it well at times. We need to get better, but it is that competitive battle of the pitcher against the hitter, and you hope your guy comes out on top."

With the sacrifice bunt from Lassiter - did you feel you needed another run there?

"Absolutely. I had taken it off, but I put it back on hoping he was throwing ball three. You get to a 3-1 count and let him hit. It was all of those scenarios. I think he was just trying to hard to get it down and they made a play."


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