North Carolina

Tar Heels' perseverance pays off

Posted May 28, 2014

For the University of North Carolina baseball team, just getting into the NCAA tournament isn't normally the goal. Generally, the Tar Heels are in contention to host a regional or be a national seed.

However, this year the team did not perform as well as expected, and had to wait just to hear their name called when the field was announced.

Perseverance was the key for this ball club said head coach Mike Fox, whose team lost many close games throughout the season but continued to fight down the stretch.

“We’re in, and that is the most important thing right now,” said Fox on 620AM The Buzz Wednesday. “But we just kind of persevered, you know. Up and down, we lost so many close games, and they take so much out of a team… I’ve got to give our kids credit. They just kept on playing.”

UNC will join Long Beach State and College of Charleston as part of the Gainesville regional hosted by the University of Florida and many people are looking at this as the toughest regional in the field..

“We can’t be picky. When you wait to the very end for your name to be called, it doesn’t matter,” said Fox. “College of Charleston is the number four seed in our region. We played them in the beginning of the year and they beat us two out of three, so that tells you what you need to know about this regional.”

By recent standards the ACC had a down year as a whole, even though the league received seven bids, just one fewer than in 2013.

In 2013, five schools hosted regionals, as opposed to three this season, and four went on to host super regionals.

“If you look at the conference, we were a little top heavy with Miami, Florida State, and Virginia at the top,” said Fox. “I think the rest of us were fighting for hopefully fourth, fifth, sixth, seventh bids. That’s probably the reason this year. I think we’re pretty fortunate to get seven teams in this year.”

Shortstop Michael Russell, suffering with a back injury should have no problem playing, but Fox will be cautious as he looks out for his star’s future health.

“Michael’s ok. He’s day-to-day. We certainly need him to play for us and playing healthy,” said Fox. “The whole injury thing is something you kind of have to walk a thin line in that regards, from a personal standpoint. But it’s nothing serious. It’s just aggravating.”

The Tar Heels went on a slide to end the regular season, dropping four of their last six conference games to Miami and Florida State.

Fox said he is thankful for how the schedule ended in UNC’s favor, giving them experience against two top teams.

“I think we’re playing with confidence,” said Fox. “We really thought we played well at Miami. As it turned out, the back end of our schedule I think helped us. Had we been in that same situation, and not had Florida State and Miami down at the end, we might have won more games and not gotten in.”

Defense wins championships as the saying goes and Fox agrees whole heartedly.

“We’ve just got to play defense. That’s just the whole key for us. There’s a small margin of error for us. Our games are going to be really close; most of them are, in the regional because there’s really good pitching in the tournament. That’s why teams are there. You can’t make any mistakes or the other team will capitalize. One or two runs could win the game,” said Fox.

UNC returns several players who have previous NCAA tournament experience but has a host of freshman that will be gaining their first exposure to the tournament.

With the mix, Fox believes the Tar Heels will have an advantage this year and for years to come.

“We do have a nucleus of guys that are back, but we do have some young ones. That’s the great thing about going to the tournament. That not only helps you this year, but it also helps you down the road,” said Fox “I think our experience is going to help us on the mound especially.”

Fox believes with the perseverance his team has showed throughout the season, anything can happen.

“Now everyone is 0-0, so it’s kind of a new life force,” said Fox.


Please to add a comment.

Oldest First
View all
  • Tar Heels Blue May 29, 2014

    Anyone who is an ACC sportsfan in the Triangle has probably seen footage of the State/UNC ACC Tournament baseball game and we have had the luxury of watching Turner's slide in at home plate. There were plenty of what ifs...what if the home ump had not been turned away from home plate as Turner started his approach....what if Turner had reached home plate a second sooner....what if Avent had started Rodon. I had no pony in the show, but had the call gone in favor of State, it is entirely possible that State would be heading to Gainesville. Nonetheless, UNC has possibly the toughest path to the CWS. Long Beach State is no pushover, nor is Florida, and if UNC wins that series, then they would most likely face Miami in the Regional. I wish the best for the ACC and most definitely for UNC.

  • 4tarheels May 29, 2014

    Way to stick it out in a down year. GO HEELS!

  • Jeanne Gunn May 29, 2014

    Good luck to the Diamond Heels!

  • 45HEELSFAN45 May 29, 2014

    Keep it going Heels!!

    Still standing unlike others....

  • 903 Free Paul Frampton 2 May 28, 2014

    enjoy losing to long beach st. and college of charleston... again...

    Form Image

  • ncguy May 28, 2014

    Got lucky heels
    Make the best of it

  • MiLB: Durham Bulls vs. Gwinnett Braves

    Tomorrow at 7:00 pm on METV 50.2

  • PGA Golf: Quicken Loans National

    Saturday at 3:00 pm on WRAL-TV

  • MiLB: Durham Bulls vs. Gwinnett Braves

    Saturday at 6:30 pm on METV 50.2

  • PGA Golf: Quicken Loans National

    Sunday at 3:00 pm on WRAL-TV

  • MiLB: Durham Bulls vs. Gwinnett Braves

    Sunday at 5:00 pm on METV 50.2

  • PGA Tour Special: PGA Tour 2015: Playing with a Purpose

    Saturday at 1:00 pm on WRAL-TV

  • PGA Golf: WGC – Bridgestone Invitational

    Saturday at 2:00 pm on WRAL-TV

  • PGA Golf: WGC – Bridgestone Invitational

    Sunday at 2:00 pm on WRAL-TV

  • MiLB: Durham Bulls vs. Gwinnett Braves

    Tomorrow at 6:50 pm on Buzz Sports Radio

  • MiLB: Durham Bulls vs. Gwinnett Braves

    Saturday at 6:20 pm on Buzz Sports Radio

  • MLB: Washington Nationals at NY Mets

    Saturday at 7:00 pm on 99.9 The Fan

  • MLB: Washington Nationals at NY Mets

    Sunday at 8:00 pm on 99.9 The Fan

QuickLoans Nat (PGA)
1tR. Goosen-818
1tR. Ishikawa-818
3tK. Chappell-718
3tJ. Leonard-718
3tE. Els-717
6tJ. Overton-618
6tS. Wheatcroft-618
6tJ. Rose-615
9tG. Owen-518
9tP. Rodgers-518
View Full Leaderboard
Womens British (LPGA)
1H. Kim-718
2tC. Kerr-618
2tL. Ko-618
4tQ. Baek-518
4tS. Ryu-518
6tK. Burnett-418
6tJ. Ko-418
6tT. Lu-418
6tM. Miyazato-418
6tA. Munoz-418
View Full Leaderboard
Paul Lawrie (EURO)
Leader in BOLD/CAPS
QUESNE v Lewis181 up
Hend v SINGH181 up
Kieffer v HOEY172 and 1
BROBERG v Finch172 and 1
RAMSAY v Kapur181 up
Carlsson v MOLINARI145 and 4
FITZPATRICK v Dredge146 and 4
UIHLEIN v Wilson182 up
WOOD v Kruger145 and 4
CAMPILLO v Daly182 up
Jacquelin v BENSON172 and 1
HAVRET v Horsey145 and 4
LEVY v Foster182 up
MADSEN v Quiros163 and 2
HATTON v Fichardt154 and 3
Rock v LUNDBERG173 and 1
Wall v DOAK181 up
Wattel v LAWRIE145 and 4
AIKEN v Jamieson163 and 2
DODT v Fisher191 up
CANIZARES v Bjerregaard127 and 6
Fraser v KARLSSON163 and 2
Bourdy v COLSAERTS172 and 1
FISHER, JR. v Olesen182 up
HOWELL v Brooks191 up
Pieters v DRYSDALE191 up
APHIBARNRAT v Ormsby191 up
Johnston v STORM181 up
MORRISON v Edberg172 and 1
CARLSSON v Crespi172 and 1
WARREN v Bland181 up
Aguilar v ZANOTTI181 up
View Full Leaderboard
Madeira Islands (EURO)
1A. Hortal-918
2N. Elvira-818
3tR. Fox-718
3tS. Gros-718
5tA. Hartoe-618
5tS. Henry-618
5tR. Kakko-618
5tS. Manley-618
5tP. Oriol-618
5tC. Paisley-618
View Full Leaderboard
ATP Scoreboard
Thursday, Jul. 30
BB&T Atlanta Open (ATP)
Second Round
(3) J. Sock66 3    
D. Kudla78 6    
(8) B. Becker5 3    
D. Sela7 6    
(6) S. Johnson4 2    
R. Berankis6 6    
(1) J. Isner3     
R. Stepanek4     
bet-at-home Open (ATP)
Second Round
(5) P. Cuevas6 4 6   
J. Janowicz3 6 2   
(4) A. Seppi4 6 6   
F. Mayer6 2 3   
(1) R. Nadal6 77    
J. Vesely4 62    
S. Bolelli6 65 6   
J. Munar1 77 4   
Suisse Open Gstaad (ATP)
Second Round
(7) P. Carreno Bu77 6    
R. Haase63 4    
(3) D. Thiem6 6    
F. Delbonis3 4    
(6) J. Sousa66 6 77   
D. Istomin78 3 64   
(1) D. Goffin6 6    
H. Zeballos1 1    
WTA Scoreboard
Thursday, Jul. 30
Brasil Tennis Cup (WTA)
(3) A. Beck6 6    
G. Ce3 3    
M. Torro-Flor64 4    
A. Sevastova77 6    
(4) T. Pereira6 7    
(7) L. Siegemund3 5    
(5) B. Mattek-San77 4 6   
T. Martincova62 6 1   
Baku Cup (WTA)
Second Round
O. Savchuk5 4    
P. Tig7 6    
E. Rodina6 6    
O. Korashvili1 1    
(7) V. Diatchenko4 65    
K. Flipkens6 77    
(2) K. Knapp6 6    
A. Kontaveit1 0