May 23, 2003


ACC Tournament Notes
Tar Heels avoid early wake-up call

By Sean Ryan Co-Founder

SALEM, Va. – UNC may have had a little extra incentive to win its game against Florida State. By beating the Seminoles, the Tar Heels avoided the early game tomorrow and the early wake-up call that goes with it.


“Winning the second game is extremely important,” Tar Heels coach Mike Fox said. “They [his players] knew the losing team had to get up tomorrow at 7 a.m. I don’t think they wanted to do that again.”


This is the first time in Fox’s five years that the Tar Heels have won two games at the ACC tourney. Sean Farrell, who drove in the game-winning run, said that the early wake-up call wasn’t a motivating factor. More important, he said, was ending the trend of getting close and not getting the big hit when needed.


“It’s good to finally saw we got that key hit,” Farrell said.




FSU coach Mike Martin had the choice of walking Farrell in the 10th inning after catcher Tony Richie picked Jeremy Cleveland off first, leaving the winning run on second with one out. He didn’t, but he was thinking about it.


“We got the second strike,” Martin said. “And that’s usually the kiss of death. Usually the worst thing you can do when you’re thinking about walking a guy is getting the second strike.”


Farrell singled down the left-field line off Rhett James to win it for UNC.




North Carolina catcher Ryan Blake was hit in the ankle by FSU starter Trent Peterson and left the game. Tar Heels coach Mike Fox said the ball hit Blake on the outside part of his left ankle. He had not spoken to the trainer as to Blake’s availability the rest of the tournament. “Ryan’s one of the toughest guys we’ve got,” Fox said. “When he says he can’t go, he’s hurt.”




Martin paid Peterson a visit in the eighth inning, and left his ace on the hill with the bases loaded and two outs to face Chris Iannetta.


“I wanted him to get the last out,” Martin said. “I didn’t want to turn the ballgame over to someone else. He had worked his fanny off to put us in a position to win the ballgame.”


Peterson got Iannetta to line out to center.




Florida State played for the second straight day without leading hitter Eddy Martinez-Esteve. Martinez-Esteve, a freshman third baseman, hasn’t started since April 25th because of a hamstring injury. He’s batting .367, and he remains questionable for the rest of the tournament.




When asked if it was his first game-winning homer of the year, Joe Koshansky replied: “That’s the first I think I’ve ever had.”




Adam Laird was the winner for Virginia in Friday’s second game. It was the first win this year. “It’s actually my first win in two years,” Laird said. “It’s definitely going to be a memorable one.”




Wake Forest coach George Greer held his tongue until the waning moments of the Demon Deacons’ press conference to get something off his chest.


Greer, whose team dropped a 12-11, 10-inning thriller to Virginia, credited his team for persevering through a maddening season.


Nick Blue, who hit .355 a year ago with 40 RBI, missed this year because of surgery. Catcher Ryder Mathias missed time after having knee surgery. Ryan Hubbard played most of the year with a torn left rotator cuff. First baseman Jeff Ruziecki started the year with a broken thumb and ended it with a partially torn ligament in his knee. And Ryan Johnson missed two weeks with a bad ankle.


“These guys played all year and didn’t complain,” Greer said, adding that his squad didn’t bring up the problems all year. “We did not use it as an excuse at all.”