jenson

Checking in with UNC's super fan after UNC's 4-2 win

With a 4-2 win against Louisiana State Tuesday night, the North Carolina baseball team earned the right to stay in Omaha, Neb. a little bit longer.

The team will yet again face N.C. State Thursday night at 8 p.m. in a win-or-go-home game, but one of its most recognizable fans won’t be in T.D. Ameritrade park to cheer the team on.

Tom Jensen, who has been to 61 of 69 games this season, has to head back to Raleigh for the rest of the week to go back to work as the director of Public Policy Polling.

But before he left, he shared his impressions about a déjà vu win, the families of the UNC baseball team and his plans for finding a replacement to lead the Tar Heel rallying cry.

*An email from Tom Jensen: *

Today was a real sense of déjà vu for me because 2 years ago when we were here we sent out a freshman pitcher (Kent) with our backs against the wall and he got it done and then Trent did the exact same thing today. That says a lot about the way this program and especially Scott Forbes develops pitchers who are not just mechanically strong but also have that tough as nails mentality.

It was awesome to see Brian Holberton hit one of only two home runs in this event to date. His mother Tobie who I’m very close with isn’t here yet, and she texted a bunch of us to see if we could try to get the ball for her. Parks Jordan’s dad went and found the guy who got it in the outfield, and he was happy to give it up so that Brian’s mother could have it. It broke my heart Tobie couldn’t be here today to see that hit in person but I’m really glad she got that baseball.

When we were greeting the guys coming back to the bus after the game, the UCLA bus pulled up behind ours and I led some U-C-L-A cheers as they went into the stadium. Their players looked at us kind of crazy…I don’t think UCLA/USC is quite the rivalry in baseball that UNC/NC State is. I watched most of the UCLA/State game in the bleachers. Watching a game in the bleachers at night is a key part of the Omaha experience. It’s a really fun atmosphere where people are more interested in hitting around beach balls than what’s happening on the field. The people watching is great. So is seeing State lose.

I watched the last couple innings of the game with Colin Moran and Kent Emanuel’s parents. One of the most special things about this program are the families. Even though Colin and Kent are the biggest stars on the team their parents are the most down to earth, humble, nice, fun people to be around that you could ever ask for. I think in a lot of programs the parents of your stars can easily turn into divas but that’s not the case here at all and I think that’s a big part of why we have such great chemistry.

I’ve been to 61 out of 69 games so far this year and the ones I missed were pretty meaningless midweek ones so it breaks my heart to head home but work calls. I’ve asked Mike Zolk’s dad (B ig Zoom) and Coach Jackson’s son Ryan to help lead the cheers in my absence for the next 3 games and I know they’re going to do a great job. It absolutely kills me to watch UNC baseball on TV so I may end up just taking a walk in the woods and listening to it on the radio Thursday to try to calm myself down a little bit.

There’s a really positive vibe around the team and I think people are feeling a lot of confidence about what these guys can do over the rest of this week. When I was saying goodbye to people today it wasn’t ‘see you next season,’ it was ‘I’ll see you on Monday for the finals.’ I think the next 3 games are going to be pretty fun, and I can’t wait to get back here next week to see us get that ring!

Tom


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