home jobs contact us
Our Clients:
Browse by Sport
Find us on ASAP sports on Facebook ASAP sports on Twitter
ASAP Sports RSS Subscribe to RSS
Click to go to
ASAP Sports e-Brochure View our


June 20, 2018

Mike Fox

Zack Gahagan

Kyle Datres

Omaha, Nebraska

Oregon State - 11, North Carolina - 6

THE MODERATOR: We're joined by UNC, coach Mike Fox, student-athletes Kyle Datres and Zack Gahagan. Coach, a opening comment.

COACH FOX: Well, the end of the season, it stinks. And it's especially hard when you have really such a great group of kids. Probably not one of our most talented teams that we've had at UNC, but perhaps our most unselfish, toughest, grittiest just determined to get here.

For me personally it's probably been one of the most seasons I've had because this team has just been so easy to coach. And these two guys up here and the rest of them, they were so much fun to be around every day. And sorry we couldn't get it done. But obviously I want to credit Pat and his team. They played extremely well tonight especially down the stretch and have a great team. We'll do everything we can to get back here again.


Q. The coaching staff has talked a lot this year about how special a group this is, and can you put into words what this season has meant to you.
ZACK GAHAGAN: Words can't describe how much these guys mean to me. I want to thank Coach first. Thank you for all you do and the opportunities you gave me. Coming back to school is probably the best decision I've ever made and I wanted to get these guys back to Omaha and we made it. These guys are unbelievable in the locker room, great group to be around words can't really describe how much I love these guys, how much they mean to me.

KYLE DATRES: For me, just growing up watching Carolina baseball, they're in Omaha every year. Every year. And when I came in here the first couple of years, it wasn't Carolina was all about. And to be able to get them back here, where we belong in Omaha, go out the way that we did says a lot. And I think you will see more of the Tar Heels in the next couple of years.

Q. Zack, going off what Kyle has just said, what this team has accomplished, how anxious are you looking forward to see how the next group builds off of this going forward?
ZACK GAHAGAN: This is a big momentum for the Carolina Tar Heels. And I like it like he said, this is what we come here to do. These guys just mean a lot to me. I just hope the best for them in years coming.

Q. Kyle, you guys fell behind early and fought back, took the lead, even after that eighth inning you guys had another opportunity. This team never gave up. I'm sure it got frustrating late when the floodgates kind of opened on you. But how proud are you of the effort that this team showed today?
KYLE DATRES: Yeah, like Coach said, we're not the most talented group but we got a lot of heart and we're not going away easy. Yeah, we just kept going and going. And they punched us early, but I had full confidence in the guys that we would come back at them and that's what we did. We didn't go away easy.

THE MODERATOR: Thank you. Questions for Coach.

Q. What did you share to your boys in the locker room after the game?
COACH FOX: I haven't talked to the team. They've all been in the dugout, just kind of individually. There's not a whole lot right between the end of the game and the end of our season and a lot of guys end their Carolina career there's not a lot to say to them you can put your arm around them.

It's an extremely emotional time. All of us remember our last game, and it's hard. And this is the hardest part of coaching, is the end. This is the hardest part, is you're not going to have these kids, this group of kids, you're not going to have them again. And it's hard, if you're not with them every day, you're not in the locker room, you're not around them every day, it's impossible for me to sit up here and describe this group. I mean, it's my 35th year of coaching so every team is different.

This one just had something. I think it had a lot to do with last year and Brandon Riley told me that he woke up in the middle of the night and had nightmares after we lost last year, sliding into home, just what he could have done different and could he have slid different.

And I didn't find that out until later. And he said it took him almost all summer to get over that loss. And then he won't stop crying. He and Cady, and I think it just shows you the emotion and I'm probably -- I'm happy for all of them, but I think Michael Busch apologized to me last year, you know, after we lost in our Regional. He's a freshman.

And I'm like -- I just think back to those moments now as to why we ended up here. I just think those kids came back in the fall and there was nothing that was going to get in their way of getting us back here.

And I think this group will be able to hang their hat on that, especially Zack and Brett Daniels and these guys up here. That's a long answer, but I'm really bad at end of the year talks to the team. I'd rather just do it individually.

Q. Caden was kind of cruising there in the middle parts of the game. What went into the decision there in the eighth to pull him after --
COACH FOX: He was done. That's probably the longest outing he's had. And we kept asking him, you know, how he felt. And we could sort of -- we could sort of see, he was lights out for us, wow. I mean, you gotta really be good to hold that team down. You gotta really be good. Pitched to both sides of the plate, the changeup and for I guess four and a thirds it's about probably as good as you can pitch against them if I had to guess.

So it's just a matter -- I think he was out of gas.

Q. In the eighth, with one out and the bases loaded, there's probably not any great way to attack Adley Rutschman. What do you do -- looking back, what can you do in that situation against a guy who is swinging it the way that he is?
COACH FOX: First of all, try not to get in that situation. And we're playing no doubles there. But that ball got out on the warning track in about two seconds.

So we would have had to have been literally playing on the warning track to have a shot, to catch that ball. We're looking out there going do we have our outfielders deep enough because obviously you're playing no doubles. You're trying to prevent them from tying the game there.

But you gotta give him credit. He put a good swing on it.

Q. You were talking about after the Super Regional how none of these players had ever been here before. Now they've been here, you see some of the freshmen like Caden have that performance today and underclassmen like Michael Busch are going to be back next year. So how did this experience help these guys next year going forward?
COACH FOX: You hope obviously it will. You can't practice this or put this in a picture. You gotta experience this just fully. And now they have. So hopefully it works like some other teams we've had where they know what it feels like to be here and the experience and the atmosphere and all that and that will be the powerful motivator, as we start next year.

Q. Zack and Brett kind of have the unique story of not going to the tournament early in their careers and kind of being the key leaders this year to get back here. How did you see them change in terms of maturity and their leadership ability and kind of what this season meant to them?
COACH FOX: That's a good question. I appreciate you asking that. Because that's the key. I mean, it wasn't just them. But obviously those are our two seniors and I think they just -- they learn from watching, from freshmen all the way through like right now. And they learn by observing and hopefully listening and growing up and watching others and other players that do the right thing, the ones that don't do the right things, and the leaders and the good ones.

And that's what a coach has to have. You have to have players that will do that and help you. And they helped me. These kids really -- they help me. They help the other coaches. They made it easy.

They made it easy because they got it. They just got it. And I just want kids that have respect for being at the University of North Carolina, I tell them that all the time. This is a special place. And you need to respect being here. And act right, do what we ask, represent our program well and graduate, get your degree and help us win a few games along the way.

It sounds pretty easy, but all these kids have done that. That makes them special in my book.


FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

ASAP sports

tech 129
About ASAP SportsFastScripts ArchiveRecent InterviewsCaptioningUpcoming EventsContact Us
FastScripts | Events Covered | Our Clients | Other Services | ASAP in the News | Site Map | Job Opportunities | Links
ASAP Sports, Inc. | T: 1.212 385 0297