UNC pitchers get work in blowout
By the time North Carolina baseball’s coach Mike Fox pulled starting pitcher Luis Paula, UNC had a nine-run lead against Appalachian State.
Paula wasn’t tired. He didn’t even notice that he’d thrown 113 pitches in 4.2 innings.
Paula did his job for UNC. After what he described as a slow start, the right-handed junior had to get back his stride.
“Luis has got such good stuff, but he’s just inconsistent right now — make one good pitch, and he’s got to get back in rhythm a little bit,” Fox said. “Sometimes he just rushes, but he made some big pitches when he needed to.”
In the bottom of the first, Paula received a gift from the Mountaineers: the luxury of sitting, thinking and practicing through a lengthy first inning.
“That first inning, I think, took like an hour,” Paula said. “You know, it was quite a bit of sitting, but I got to relax and think about everything again and just kind of move on to the next inning and do what I had to do.
“I went out to the bullpen and worked on a little throwing just to get my mechanics back because in the first inning I wasn’t doing what I was supposed to.”
Paula finished out the next three innings before sophomore Reilly Hovis replaced him in the fifth inning. Paula only allowed three hits and one unearned run.
For Fox and pitching coach Scott Forbes, Paula had done his job, but the scoreboard told them it was time to put some different faces on the mound.
“I just let (Forbes) put out there who he wants to put out there,” Fox said. “We really didn’t want Luis to throw that many pitches, but I didn’t realize he was up over 100 in the fourth inning.”
UNC switched pitchers again in the seventh inning, giving sophomore Taylore Cherry a shot at the Mountaineers.
Cherry wasn’t nervous. He never is.
In the 2013 ACC Championship game, Cherry made his first career start and calmly led the Tar Heels to a 4-1 win against Virginia Tech.
“I’m pretty relaxed in any situation I go out in,” Cherry said. “I’m just ready to go out there and face the batters. That’s all I’ve been looking forward to the entire game.”
Cherry pitched until the top of the ninth before freshman A.J. Bogucki, a right-handed pitcher, took over.
Bogucki threw 19 pitches in the ninth to close out the game. Before then, he had never pitched an inning for the Tar Heels.
“You know, there’s some butterflies out there,” Fox said of Bogucki’s first outing.
“We could’ve started (Cherry) today. We could’ve started A.J. today, so it’s good that we got all three of them in.”