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May 22, 2015

Skye Bolt

J.B. Bukauskas

Mike Fox


North Carolina – 6
Clemson - 3

HEAD COACH MIKE FOX:  Well, exciting to win.  Big win for us, I think.  J.B. got us off to a great start, certainly on the mound and obviously Skye with a big swing of the bat and get us the lead where we could kind of take a breath a little bit and relax some. 
And obviously Trevor came in and just kind of willed us almost as he has all year with that win. 
I really like competing against Clemson.  Jack and I are good friends.  And I wish him the best going forward.  That was a big win for us. 

Q.  Skye, you've how big was that home run that you hit?  Do you think it helped jump start going forward if you guys make the tournament?
SKYE BOLT:  Yeah, obviously it's a big swing of the bat.  Coach said it already, it was important for our guys.  It's important for the team. (No microphone.) 

Q.  The win doesn't have any bearing on the ACC Championship.  But how does it help you guys heading into the selection show, as far as looking good for the committee and your confidence?
SKYE BOLT:  Coach can tell you more about the statistical part of that and where we stand, but as far as team unit, it's huge for us.  We've been playing competitive baseball.  We've been in every ballgame we feel, swinging the bat, making plays.  It's a breath of fresh air to get a win.  We got a good solid win, we put runs on the board, pitched well, played defense well.  And it's really important going into this Regional here, and I'm pretty positive we're going to make it.
Again, can't stress enough how much it is to swing momentum for this last hurdle of our season. 
J.B. BUKAUSKAS:  I think it's definitely good for us.  We had a couple of rough games.  (No microphone.)

Q.  J.B., we talked to the Clemson coach, and obviously he remarked about your breaking pitching today being good.  Talk about what you had working today. 
J.B. BUKAUSKAS:  The last couple of times out I haven't been very sharp.  I just didn't have anything.  I felt a little bit like that in the bullpen today.  I got on the mound and I started to click.  I felt like I had my fastball more than I did, and my slider just started snapping.  Once I had that I felt confident and just ended up having control. 

Q.  This is for Skye and J.B.  Obviously it was disappointing to drop the last two games.  But how did the mood in the dugout change going up five runs today?
SKYE BOLT:  Yeah, again, can't stress enough in any sport or any event that you're competing in you want to jump out and be on top.  Three runs was great.  Five runs is even better.  It doesn't speak to the offense.  Obviously hitting is contagious, but more so to the guy on the mound, whoever we throw out there at the time, whether it was J.B. through 4 and 5.  And then Trevor had a solid lead to run on. 
So I'm speaking on behalf of the pitchers, but I think it's most important for those guys to have something that they know that they can try out their stuff and not have to be so fine up there when going to the zone. 
J.B. BUKAUSKAS:  I agree.  It definitely gives you a confidence boost to know that you don't have to be absolutely perfect.  To go out there and help us win.  So getting a good lead early in the game definitely helped us. 

Q.  J.B., you guys yesterday walked I think eight batters against Florida State.  But today in five and two‑thirds you didn't walk anybody and you struck out seven in maybe seven pitches.  Was there any coaching saying throw more strikes as opposed to ball, and make them actually hit the ball, or did you just feel better about your command today? 
J.B. BUKAUSKAS:  I felt good about my command today.  Coach Forbes didn't really say anything different than we normally do, just focus on attacking the hitters.  We really worked on that a lot in the bullpen and just carried it out to the mound.  So it was good.

Q.  J.B., you mentioned that your last two times out you felt like you really didn't have anything.  And then today you did.  What was the difference, what do you think, why would you feel so much better today?  Was there anything you did last start to this start? 
J.B. BUKAUSKAS:  I worked a lot with Coach Forbes the last couple of weeks.  And it definitely has helped me progress as a pitcher a lot.  So the last couple of weeks we really focused and it put the light switch back on and I think that helped us win the game.

Q.  Skye, your freshman year you guys were locked into a national seed in the tournament.  Last year it wasn't the case.  I'm curious, was there a difference maybe in the approach, in the mindset of the team during that weekend and if so, how did that help you the next couple of days for selection Monday?
SKYE BOLT:  Yeah, absolutely.  The bottom line is it's out of our control.  It's out of our hands.  We put our best game forward today.  Really all weekend against two top ten teams.  So the fact that we played as well as we did in our mind and coach's mind, mine and the teammates alike, that's the only thing we can lien on.
I think last year coming out of the tournament we didn't play, I think the level of ball that we are playing right now.  We came out with a win against Maryland.  But the focus this weekend is getting ourselves better.  We can't worry about the results.  We can't worry about any other tournament, because it's out of our hands completely.
So I'll work to stress that to the guys.  We're going to have a nice weekend.  We're going to go out and get better in these next few days, and we'll be watching on Monday. 

Q.  Mike, before the tournament you were skeptical about your team's chances of getting in the NCAA tournament.  Having gone two and two from this outstanding field.  How do you think the committee will assess your strengths and weaknesses?  Do you think you're in? 
HEAD COACH MIKE FOX:  I hope we're in.  This is kind of a little bit new territory for us, somewhat.  And I don't pay a lot of attention, honestly, to that, to what's going on.  My assistants do a little bit.  But I still think it's about wins.  I still think you have to have enough wins.  I think our RBI obviously the number that I know is good, but I don't think that's enough to get you in.  I hope our league gets eight.  And we'll just see if we've done enough.  We've had some good wins.  We've had some tough weekends.  I know they look at your last ten or 12 games.  And that's not in our favor right now.  But we'll just see.  Hope for the best. 

Q.  Did you feel like this win, here, after the last two games, was today a must win game?  Did you treat it that way and did you talk about that with your team at all? 
HEAD COACH MIKE FOX:  We didn't talk about it.  Pretty much.  I think if we go 0 & 3, I think there's a reason probably to leave us out.  So this was a big win for us.  Is it enough?  I don't know.  I certainly hope so, because I'm enjoying coaching this team.  The way they compete and with my seniors, and obviously other guys to experience it hopefully. 

Q.  We've grown accustomed over the last decade for your team positioning itself for a national seed at this tournament.  With the struggles this year, I'm kind of curious your thoughts, is it due to injuries, to Riley and Chris and Wood or is there more to it?
HEAD COACH MIKE FOX:  I think that certainly didn't help us.  Those players you mentioned, they certainly could have helped us.  But I think it's just ‑‑ I think it's just baseball.  I think you have to take ‑‑ you have to take the good with the bad.  And we've been fortunate in our program and we've been on the good side.  And we just ‑‑ I think we just ‑‑ we're not immune certainly to this type of season.  It was a struggle for us at times.  We lost some really close games early in the season.  We lost some leads that we couldn't hold.  And I think that kind of shook our team little bit.  Lost little bit of confidence along the way.  But regrouped enough. 
It's been a combination of a lot of things.  We haven't been a great team driving in runs, taking advantage of opportunities to get 40 plus wins and put yourself in that category, you have to be really good at that.  And I also think there's a lot of really good teams out there.  We had a lot of them play well against ours.  That's out of our control.  But we have to play better against them if they're playing well.  We got help a little bit today.  I don't really have a definitive answer to that.  It is what it is at this point. 

Q.  (Inaudible)  Will his status be reconsidered before your Regional games?

Q.  He will remain suspended?

Q.  Coach, a lot of your players have talked about it in the past where you guys have shown flashes of real good offensive play and defensive play and real good pitches.  But you guys can be really dangerous if you put it all together.  How would you like to encourage your team to put it all together and make a real good run?
HEAD COACH MIKE FOX:  That's the whole key to baseball, right there.  Mix it all up.  I would tell them that's the winning formula, is to do all three of those things at the same time.  And the team has a little bit to do with that, and obviously the pitcher on the other team.  But we played really well defensively.  We had started pitching like that.  And Trevor it pitching like that, and guys coming out of the bullpen.  We've got to be better offensively, if we're fortunate enough to play in the NCAA tournament.  We have to take advantage of the opportunities like we did today.  Work in the count, just get some of those guys to help us on the bases.  We have to create opportunities to score in other ways.  It was nice to ‑‑ Skye's home run when the count was 3‑2.  It's looking at the ball.  And we've got to do that better, get the count in our favor, get good pitches to do it. 

Q.  Obviously you got to see Miller and Pate at the top of the run up.  Did you like what you saw from the energy they provided from the two of them and also Ramirez?
HEAD COACH MIKE FOX:  We thought about it all during the year, how can we get the two of them in the lineup at the same time because both of us can run.  And obviously Pate today made a big play and hit a couple of balls hard.  He's a dynamic player.  He can do a lot of things for us, and steal a base, score runs.  We'll see if that continues.  I think Brian is going to be a good player.

Q.  Your starting rotation this week was a little weird because you had four games in four days.  Do you not think it would go back to how it was in the conference, where you had Gallen, Bukauskas and Moss or do you think you would stick to a different lineup?
HEAD COACH MIKE FOX:  That's all going to depend on if we get in and where we're going and who we're playing.  I can't imagine that we would not pitch Zac Gallen in Game 1.  He's been the guy for us at this point.  We'll have to figure it out from there.

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