Comments from coach Scott Forbes, pitcher Jake Knapp and catcher Tomas Frick after North Carolina's 10-2 victory over Virginia on Thursday.
DURHAM, NC - North Carolina advanced to the semi-finals of the ACC Tournament after a 10-2 victory over seeded No. 2 Virginia on Thursday afternoon. Tar Heels number 7 (35-21), with strong throws from the starterJake Knappaand reliever Dalton Pence, went into the fourth inning with three runs to build a 4–1 lead over the Cavaliers before breaking away with three runs in the seventh inning and three more runs in the eighth inning to win.
coach UNKScott Forbes, Knapp and catcherTomasz Fryc(3-for-5 at the board, 5 RBI) spoke to reporters after the win. Scroll down to see some highlights from the post-match session at Durham Bulls Athletic Park...
Scott Forbes"Jake Knapp and Dalton Pence were the history of the game. Jake was exceptional and made some really big pitches when they had 1st and 2nd with no outs (in the fourth round).
“I felt he was going to be a good fit for Virginia since he was fitting in with them (at the beginning of the season). But now he's a much better, more complete pitcher and we made some great plays behind him. Apart from one hiccup with (Jackson) Van De Brake, Johnny (Castagnozzi) plays in third place allowed us to move Mac (Horvath) to the middle.
"So when you throw and defend, you have a chance to beat anyone. It's just the foundation and it's something we're working hard on and I'm proud of these guys."
Jake, what worked for you?
Jake Knappa: “I mostly had all three bedspreads today. I haven't used much change all year, so I guess it doesn't normally show up in the scouting report when I look at my play. make them think and be able to land my slider and take the first punch. When I do it at my slower speed, my fast ball can play a bit. And this is my best spread.
Offensively, your team started rolling...
Forbes: "Of course we had some big hits, but I want to pay attention to Alberto Osuna. We've had two broken hamats this season, him and Patrick Alvarez. It took him a while to regain his bat speed. up and hit two big doubles for us and then, of course, Frick with a big hit.
"I didn't feel like we ever went fast and had a poor hit. I felt that if someone didn't have a great hit, the next one had a good hit. And that's important in a team game like Virginia because you know they're going to attack you and score at some point with that attack."
Someone in the press box asked why North Carolina always seems to spin now?
Forbes: "You know, I wouldn't agree with that. Postseason to postseason. But our guys keep trying to turn it up. Now, of course, they have a little mental break when classes are over and they can recover a bit more. Of course you want to play your best now and that's the goal.
“I wasn't surprised to see our boys bounce back from the Clemson and the Coastal (Karolina) deal. It wasn't a huge stretch, but we felt our work was pretty good before the ACC tournament, and I think... I don't think so, I know our team feels like they can beat anyone if we play well, especially on the mound and defense. But if that can be a feature, it would be good because it's time that matters most."
Jake, what was the key? You've been in the strike zone all afternoon.
Knapp"The big key is definitely when my stuff is in the zone. Me and Coach (Bryant) Gaines kind of figured it out a bit, like it's been a year, just kind of mental cues in the game. I was joking with some of the guys, his visit today was perfectly timed and he picked up something and I was able to correct it because he left at the perfect time.
“So just sticking to what Coach Gaines taught me all year helped me close the gap. Fill it up more, and with it comes more confidence."
Did a good pitcher against Virginia early in the season help today?
Knapp"So yesterday I met Coach Gaines and we watched this ACC first weekend video and the first thing he told me was that it was my first ACC start. So I approached the first guy, I was a little buffed, but there were definitely things that we took from that and put into the game plan for today. "
Tomas, you had success against multiple pitchers today. Is your approach changing?
Tomasz Fryc"I feel we've all had a good approach in the last few weeks together. We just worked hard before games and really fine-tuned our approach and stuck to it. And today everyone tried to be as calm as possible in the penalty area and hit well."
It was a foot away from a Grand Slam, Tomas.
Frick: "Yeah, that might be the hardest ball I've hit. I looked at it and saw this big wall and thought there was a good chance it could hit it, so I had to hit the burners."
(Forbes: Do you have burners?)
Tomas, can you talk about what you saw in your two jugs today?
Frick: “First, (Knapp) was getting better every week. All three bedspreads he has now finally sensed a change.
“And then Pence, like I said, I saw it as soon as he walked over to the mound. I saw his eyes. I knew he was attacking guys."
It looked like your pitchers were attacking more today. There was very little biting.
Forbes: “Yes, 100 percent. Being the pitching coach here for a long time is something you have to do against Virginia because you have to realize they're not going to hit much and you have to play. If you go guys they can hurt you, steal bases because they are so athletic and I'm looking at this score in the box...those first four guys are as tough as anyone in the country and to only give one hit to these guys it was a big deal for our success."
Seven straight ACC tournament wins since freshman year.
Frick"I think it's just the off-season. To be honest, everyone just raises their game level. And we are happy to be home too. I think that's a huge factor this year. Everyone sleeps in their own bed, especially after the bus ride we've had all (last) week."
Will Connor Bovair start on Saturday?
Forbes: "We'll wait to see who we're playing... BC-Clemson winner... so we're going to look at those two teams and look at it for a long time. Of course, he started a ton for us, and he's a really good candidate.
"If I said today, Bovair would start. But you have a guy like Kevin Eaise who is able to start depending on the matchup."
Both Boston College and Clemson got you, revenge factor?
Forbes: “These guys know. You're not necessarily looking for revenge, but you don't forget when you get swept away and want to play with them again. I know our people will be ready."
The Tar Heels are runners-up in the tournament and will continue to play in their quest to repeat the ACC Tournament Championship title.
DURHAM, NC - Baseball in North Carolina delivered a profitable opportunity in style on Thursday and will continue to play to repeat the ACC Tournament title.
The seventh-seeded Tar Heels defeated second-seeded Virginia 10-2 at Durham Bulls Athletic Park to win Group B and advance to Saturday's semi-finals, part of a single-elimination tournament where they will face either Clemson or Boston College for a spot in Sunday's championship game on the line .
UNC took its seventh consecutive ACC tournament win. And beating the mighty Cavaliers, champions of the ACC Coastal Division, added CV boost benefits to the Tar Heels NCAA Tournament credentials. Virginia, whose strong RPI proves to be 9th in the nation, entered the afternoon with the fourth-longest winning streak in the nation with 10 straight wins and predicted among the top seeds in the NCAA overall.
"I didn't feel like we ever went fast and had bad tackles," said UNC coach Scott Forbes. “I felt that if someone didn't have a great hit, the next guy had a good hit. And that's important against a team like Virginia because you know they're going to attack you and at some point they're going to score with that attack.
Tomasz Fryche delivered three hits and five RBIs for Carolina (35-21) while being the starting pitcherJake Knappaand a sedativeDaltona Pence'asilenced Virginia's elite offensive. The Cavaliers (45-12) came here to Durham with the best team batting average (.334) at the Division I level, backed up by ACC Star Catcher Player of the Year Kyle Teel and a host of other tough outs including slugger Jake Gelof who led the league in RBI and total bases that season.
But the 6-foot, 5,255-pound right Knapp showed up in a big spot. He threw a season-high 105 pitches and held 5 2/3 innings, leaving the mound to a nice ovation from the UNC fans in the crowd. Knapp (5-3) batted five and dispersed five hits. He allowed one well-deserved run and came out with a 4-2 lead, two batters after Virginia's Ethan Anderson scored a solo home run.
Forbes said it sensed Knapp could deliver a strong performance on Thursday, especially after facing Virginia well in the regular season. Eleven weeks ago, Knapp and Matt Poston teamed up in a 6-0 win over the Cavaliers, and Forbes said Knapp has become a much better and more complete pitcher since then. Knapp said he met with UNC pitching coach Bryant Gaines on Wednesday and they reviewed video clips of the March 11 game in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, which marked the first start to Knapp's college career.
"There were definitely things we took from that and put into the game plan for today," Knapp said on Thursday.
Left Pence worked the last 3 1/3 innings to make his first career save. He gave up just two singles in the ninth round, fine-tuning the Tar Heels.
Forbes then named the top four batsmen in Virginia's roster - Griff O'Ferrall, Ethan O'Donnell, Gelof and Teel. No player from this group went into Tuesday batting below .340 for the season, with O'Ferrall and Teel having high batting averages of .400 or more. Gelof and Teel combined 44 doubles, 34 homers and 144 RBIs. Against UNC's Knapp and Pence, however, the powerhouse four played a 1-for-14 combined and did not lead the run.
"These first four guys are as tough as anyone else in the country," Forbes said, "and giving them just one punch was a big deal to our success."
Patrick Alvarez,Alberto OsunaIColby Wilkersonthey recorded two hits apiece, and the bottom half of the Tar Heels roster rocked that day. Osuna, a self-proclaimed free swinger who had difficulty connecting, played two doubles. He hit an RBI double off the left side of the court early in the fourth inning, part of a three-run frame for Carolina that includedHunter Stokely'egoa rune single and Wilkerson's sacrificial flight as the Tar Heels were leading 4-1.
Catcher Frick handled the heavy lifting. In the top of the seventh inning, he yanked a two-run single across the left side of Virginia's infield, extending UNC's lead to 7-2. Then on top of the eight, Frick narrowly missed a grand slam crush by inches. He fired a double in three runs from the top end of the 32m wall in left field, clearing the bass as the Tar Heels stormed a 10-2 lead.
"This might be the hardest ball I've hit," said Frick. "I looked at it and saw this big wall and thought there was a good chance it could hit it, so I had to hit the burners."
Anderson finished with two of Virginia's seven hits. The day before, the Cavaliers opened the ACC Tournament by defeating Georgia Tech 15-1, with that outburst fueled by a 17-hit shootout and shortened to seven innings by the 10-run pardon rule.
UNC racked up 10 hits and tied eight walks from Virginia's six pitchers. Left starter Connelly Early (10-2) took the loss.
The Tar Heels have now reached the semi-final round in three of the last four ACC tournaments. Whoever they face this weekend, be it third seed Clemson or sixth seed Boston College, both teams defeated UNC in three regular season games.
"These guys know," Forbes said. "You're not necessarily looking for revenge, but you don't forget when you get swept away and want to play again. I know our boys will be ready.
2023 ACC BASEBALL CHAMPIONSHIP SCHEDULE
Durham Bulls Athletic Park (Durham, North Carolina)
POOL A - No. 1 Wake Forest, No. 8 Notre Dame, No. 12 Pittsburgh
POOL B - seed 2 Virginia,#7 North Carolina, nr 11 Georgia Tech
POOL C - seed #3 Clemson, Boston College #6, Virginia Tech #10
POOL D - No. 4 seeded Miami, No. 5 Duke, No. 9 NC State
Tuesday, May 23
Boston College 11, Virginia Tech 7
North Carolina 11, Georgia Tech 5
NC State 8, Duke 7, 11 rund
Wednesday, May 24
Pitt 9, Notre Dame 5
Virginia 15, Georgia Tech 1
Clemson 14, Virginia Tech 5
Thursday, May 25
Wake Forest 10, Pitt 2
North Carolina 10, Virginia 2
Miami 4, North Carolina State 2
Friday, May 26
No. 6 Boston College vs. No. 3 Clemson, 11:00 (sieć ACC)
No. 5 Duke vs. No. 4 Miami, 3 p.m. (ACC Network)
Notre Dame No. 8 vs. Wake Forest No. 1, 7 p.m. (ACC Network)
Saturday, May 27
No. 1 Wake Forest vs. No. 4 Miami 1:00 p.m. (ACC network)
No. 7 North Carolinavs winner BC-Clemson, 5pm (ACC Network)
Sunday, May 28
ACC Championship South (ESPN2)