Following a series win over Wake Forest and a ninth inning rally against Elon, the North Carolina baseball team, 22-15 on the year and an even 9-9 in ACC play, will now face a ‘measuring stick’ series for the program this weekend when facing No. 1 Virginia in Charlottesville.
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“It’s not going to get any easier with them. Virginia has built such a great program. They got great starting pitching. We’re going to have to take advantage of any opportunities they give us. We got to pitch well. Friday night should be an unbelievable game,” Coach Fox says.
That was Carolina Head Coach Mike Fox on the formidable challenge awaiting his Tar Heels Friday night.
With a busy slate of games and final exams right around the corner, the Tar Heels have a ton on their plate. Coach Fox says he hopes his players are ready for the juggling act that’s ahead of them this time of the year, especially with postseason play looming.
“Our kids have a lot on them right now academically. It’s just a tough stretch for them right now until the last day of class. That’s my biggest concern at this point. But we need to be ready. Every game is important for us now,” Coach Fox says.
The Virginia Cavaliers sit at 31-6 on the season and boast a powerful batting lineup along with a threatening bullpen that makes for a lethal combo to opposing teams.
The Tar Heels, meanwhile, have experienced an up-and-down season so far; unusual for a program that is a mainstay at the top of the college game. But Coach Fox says he’s been seeing some positive developments in his team lately.
“Our kids are starting to play a little loose and realize we have to play that way. Some of our kids are really starting to play well. Our bullpen was really good. We have to keep moving forward and try to keep playing well,” Coach Fox says.
Despite Virginia’s dominating season thus far, Coach Fox remains confident in Carolina’s chances. He says the Tar Heels can draw upon their past successes against the Wahoos.
“We’ve been there and done that before – had some success a couple years ago. We’ve got to go up there and play well. Everybody in this league is beatable. We’ll go strap it on and see what happens,” Coach Fox says.
Having their ace Trent Thornton on the mound to lead the proceedings Friday night will certainly give the Tar Heels their best chance at grabbing game one of an ACC series that many across the league and nation will be keeping their eyes on.