UNC & West Virginia baseball super regional post-game press conference notes

Chapel Hill, NC – Here are the videos and notes from the Chapel Hill Baseball Super Regional post-game press conferences by the UNC Tar Heels and West Virginia Mountaineers.

UNC Head Coach Scott Forbes
On Matt Poston…
“We had a really good feeling about Matt, he’s been good all year. A good matchup against West Virginia. He’s been one of our horses. He didn’t pitch a lot, obviously, recently, but I wasn’t surprised that pitched like he did. He’s just been a guy that can pitch for us every day, like he always wants to pitch. In today’s world, some kids that have a day, then need another day. Matt’s got that robot arm and he’s always ready. I’m looking forward to seeing him back out there.”
On the comebacks in the last few games…
“They can tell you more than I could because it’s their locker room, but they have definitely bought into what we preach from the first day: just keep playing. I really challenged them this weekend, even more than last weekend, to try to shrink it down all the way to every individual pitch, not even quote 27 outs, and keep your eyes forward. We made some mistakes tonight and that was important. Gav [Gallaher] catches that ball in his sleep. Colby [Wilkerson] fields that ball in his sleep. We gave them some extra outs. We didn’t execute some pitches. But our guys also know they can’t be looking in the rearview mirror. And this team is just kind of been how they’ve been all year. They’ve found different ways to win and that’s the mark of a good team, top to bottom. Colby Wilkerson hit his first home run ever in Boshamer Stadium so there you go.”

UNC Outfielder Vance Honeycutt
On his homerun…
“Credit Wierz, he had a good report. That tends to happen. We normally have pretty good reports on the guys. We knew we had a fastball and slider and that’s what we knew he was going to attack us with, righties at least. I try to get a pitch middle end and something you can handle. And yeah, it was a cool moment. The plan wasn’t to go up there and hit a home run. That’s not probably the right approach, though. This place is special. We’re having some Bosh magic so it was really cool.”

UNC Catcher Luke Stevenson
On his homerun…
“I was just trying to get something going leading off in the ninth. Coach Wierzbicki, before my at bat, was just like ‘smoke something back up the middle’. My goal is to get us started. We’re never out of it, we always fight and we play 27 outs like Coach Wierz stresses every single game. So I was just trying to get something started and got a fast ball.”

Watch on YouTube – UNC Tar Heels Baseball Press Conference after win over West Virginia in Super Regional game – 6.7.24

00:09 Matt’s outstanding pitching performance and team’s comeback victory

  • Matt’s consistent performance throughout the game with a crucial strikeout in a key moment.
  • Team’s resilience and ability to secure dramatic comeback wins in postseason games.

01:54 Players buying into team philosophy and focusing on individual pitch execution

  • They have bought into the team’s philosophy preached since day one, focusing on individual pitch execution.
  • Coach emphasized the importance of staying focused, minimizing mistakes, and staying forward-looking despite errors made during the game.

03:54 Player discusses importance of team mentality and starting strong

  • Player emphasizes the team’s fighting spirit and mindset of never giving up
  • Player credits older teammates for setting a positive example and mentoring younger players

05:54 UNC Tar Heels Baseball Press Conference highlights after win

  • Players discuss the pitching strategy against West Virginia’s fast ball and slider.
  • Vance describes the celebratory moment after the Home Run and the team’s magic.

07:39 Steve Forbes discusses preparing for worst-case scenarios.

  • Steve Forbes emphasizes the importance of planning pitching moves for worst-case scenarios.
  • He also highlights the danger and power of a particular player in the lineup.

09:20 Luke discusses his home run and the team’s strategy

  • Luke describes his thought process during his home run
  • Luke talks about his approach and mindset during the game

11:13 UNC Tar Heels Baseball wins fourth tournament game

  • Team has won three games while trailing in the ninth inning
  • Players remain calm and confident in tight situations

13:07 Players gaining confidence for future games

  • Matt discussing his performance this season compared to last year, mentioning the highs and lows experienced in baseball
  • Aaron talking about developing his splitter pitch technique and the adjustments made to improve its execution

WVU Head Coach Randy Mazey
On thoughts of leaving Clark in for that long and plan going into the night…
“I don’t have any interest in fist fighting Derek Clark on the mound so, no thought of taking him out. Our only thought right now is, is he gonna pitch tomorrow. The guy’s been really solid, what we’ve been seeing this whole season. He’s a throwback. He’s a throwback. Back to the Nolan Ryan days when guys were throwing 200 pitches. He can do that. He can do that. So, everybody gives coaches a hard time for letting guys go, I don’t even know how many pitches he threw. Does anyone know? [144] How many strikes? 100 strikes. Good luck finding a guy to throw 100 strikes these days. But, I promise you, he wants to pitch and I promise you that. So, that’s just the kind of guy he is and you know, when it comes to the pitch count, you train guys different now. Some guys we’ve trained to throw a lot of pitches and some guys we haven’t so he’s a guy that can throw a lot.”

On new coach [Steve Sabins] taking over next year…
“You know, West Virginia is a different place now. If you’re not from there, you have no idea what it means to play at West Virginia, to coach at West Virginia, to work in West Virginia. We don’t have pro teams in our state. We only have two Division One schools and it’s us and Marshall. We probably have 90% of the fanbase. So, they had, I don’t know what the crowd was, four or five thousand… they have 4000 fans here, we have almost two million fans watching this game. And that’s, that’s so unusual. Anyway, now here’s a question for your old question askers. Does anyone know how many Division I schools there are in the state of North Carolina? Aaron, do you know? [24] There’s about twenty. So, that means the residents of this state have divided loyalty among twenty schools. That’s not the case in West Virginia. There’s flying WV flags flying off almost every porch in our state. So we have a tremendous fan base. We take a tremendous amount of pride in representing all those people. And you have to know and believe in that if you want to have success here and Coach [Steve] Sabins has been with me nine years and he knows what it takes to win at West Virginia. We’ve done a lot of things in the last twelve months that have never been done at West Virginia. We won a Big 12 championship last year, we’ve got the trophy in the trophy case to prove it. We won a regional this year, that’s never been done at our school in our sport. And I really believe that with Coach Sabins that is going to continue to go on, because we haven’t reached the pinnacle yet. We are trying to, but we keep getting better and better and better and he will continue to do that. I have all the faith in the world. My son’s coming here. So, I can say anything I want about the guy, but entrusting my son to Coach [Steve] Sabins and this staff says all we need to know about how it’s going to to be.”

WVU Pitcher Derek Clark
On if he knew the number of pitches he was at…
“No, I could have kept going if he [Coach Mazey] needed to. But, at the end of the game, I mean, I allowed a solo home run to start the inning and then a single up the middle and it was crunch time so, I mean, I don’t blame him [Coach Mazey] for pulling me there.”
On what allowed him to overcome the four-run third inning…
“Yeah, I mean, just sticking with my plan. I was leaving some pitches over the plate and I walked two guys, I think, in the third inning, so the game didn’t seem like it had free passes, especially from the middle of their lineup. So, after that I don’t think I had another walk after the third one, maybe one, but, you know, I was trying to attack, stay ahead in the counts, and compete.”

WVU Designated Hitter Kyle West
On if he had confidence coming in…
“Absolutely. I try to always have confidence in myself, but I really just stuck to my approach… been talking about our swings getting around the ball and we really worked this past week to stay through a lot of pitches and that gave me the opportunity to hit multiple pitches.”

Watch on YouTube – West Virginia baseball Super Regional post-game press conference

00:03 Cook’s singles surpass Honeycut’s homers

  • Cook hitting a single to win the game was more likely than Honeycut hitting a homer
  • Coach praises Clark’s exceptional pitching performance as one of the best in 35 years

01:33 Kyle’s successful performance due to swing match-up

  • Kyle’s swing matched up with the Lefty pitcher’s style
  • Kyle gained confidence using a new bat leading to a great night

03:04 Player reflects on maintaining confidence and adjusting approach in the game

  • Player emphasizes on working on staying through pitches to hit to the middle of the field
  • Player describes the emotional intensity of playoff baseball and staying focused on the game

04:27 Pitcher reflects on early struggles and adjustments during the game.

  • Pitcher acknowledges walking batters in the third inning and the importance of not giving free passes to strong teams.
  • Coach shows confidence in pitcher’s abilities and willingness to let him pitch despite fatigue concerns.

05:54 Struggling to find pitchers who can throw 100 strikes

  • Pitcher’s determination to keep pitching despite challenges
  • Different training approaches for pitchers

07:11 Players discussing their confidence and experience in the game.

  • Evan and Kyle talking about the confidence in the new B.
  • Derek discussing staying composed and embracing big situations on the mound.

08:26 West Virginia’s unique fan base and pride in representing the state

  • West Virginia lacks professional teams and has only two Division One schools, leading to strong support for West Virginia University
  • Their game had 4,000 fans in attendance and almost two million fans watching, showcasing the unusual level of support

09:53 West Virginia baseball has achieved unprecedented success in the past year.

  • Won a Big 12 championship and a regional title, setting new records at the school.
  • Confident in Coach Sabins’ leadership to continue the team’s upward trajectory.