The storm is coming for UNC's Skye Bolt

North Carolina has been waiting for the storm to come. 

Junior shortstop Michael Russell has been anticipating it all year long. 

And — finally — this weekend against Wake Forest, Skye Bolt brought the thunder.  

Russell has been one of the few veterans anchoring a young North Carolina lineup this season, Bolt has dealt with sophomore struggles. 

That could be changing. 

Bolt, UNC's center fielder, reached base five times during Sunday's 6-5 loss to the Demon Deacons, providing the team scoring chances throughout the game.

“It’s big for our team," Russell said. "I’ve said all along, ‘You know, Skye is going to get going.’ And here it comes, he’s really starting to swing it again."

With a four-hit Sunday, including two doubles, Bolt showed that he was back in his comfort zone up in the batter's box. He talked about his approach at the plate after the game.

"Just doing less. Just really doing less," he said. "It comes a point where you can do all the work you want to in the cage and mentally preparing. And I think before your at-bat, before you step in there and try to nail a hundred things down that you want to try to do ... that’ll eat you up.

"I came in today probably as lazy as I have been in a while ... I just took all the stress off myself, and I knew that I got teammates behind me."

The approach seems to be paying off for him. For the weekend, he finished with a .364 batting average, a .429 on base percentage and a .545 slugging percentage.  

Coach Mike Fox thinks that the kind of success Bolt has been experiencing lately is just what he's needed. 

"Yeah, I think he needed a day like today where you know, some balls would fall in for him," Fox said. "You know we have confidence in him because we’ve seen him do it, so I think it probably has weighed on him a little bit. 

"So maybe this will free him up a little bit."

As the Tar Heels move into the latter half of the 2014 season, their schedule gets tougher and the team will have to rely on Bolt's offensive abilities more and more.

"We’ve still got a lot of baseball to play," Fox said. "He’s hitting in the three hole for us. We need him to do what he did today to give us a chance and be better offensively."

Three of their next four weekend series come against teams that are ranked in the top 25 — Virginia (1), Florida State (2) and Miami (23) — and against Virginia and Miami, the Tar Heels have to play on the road . 

Bolt's continued success could serve UNC well in those series. 

"We’ve got the fate of our season in our hands coming up here with these next two ACC series," Bolt said. "And our goal is to make some noise, make some rumble and build off this confidence that we’ve got going."

As for his confidence, Bolt is planning on keeping his simplified, calm approach.

"You know, it’s the game of baseball," he said. "You gotta relish your confidence, you gotta relish in your good moments, and that’s what I did today, just continued to build off of each at-bat before it. 

"I’m going to stick with that approach — not the lazy one, but you know, just letting the game come to me. As it has been."

Thanks for reading.

Read more in BaseballSports

Share on social media?

Comments powered by Disqus

Please note All comments are eligible for publication in The Daily Tar Heel.

In the News