The Daily Tar Heel

Serving the students and the University community since 1893

Thursday December 2nd

Freshman right ?elder shines

North Carolina coach Mike Fox has always needed a freshman or two on the field to balance out losing the top talent that comes with being an ACC team.

But in UNC’s last few games, the Tar Heels have seen a boost from their younger faces from all corners of the field, which Fox admitted makes him nervous.

“I looked out there on the field at Virginia, and we’ve got a freshman on the mound, a freshman in right, a freshman at second and we’ve got a freshman at left, a freshman at third who’s never played there all year,” Fox said. “So you’re thinking, ‘Don’t hit it there, there, there’ — not trying to be negative. But you’ve got to give those kids credit.”

And a good chunk of that credit belongs to freshman right fielder Adam Griffin.

Griffin’s performance in North Carolina’s 10-5 win against High Point on Tuesday marked his fourth straight game with two hits.

The Clemmons native helped jump start UNC’s offense in the first inning when he batted in the second of the Tar Heels’ opening-inning runs against High Point. He added another RBI single to his name just two innings later when he plated Cody Stubbs in the bottom of the third.

All of this success, too, is coming after rehabbing an ankle that Griffin broke just a week and a half before the Tar Heels’ season began.

“It happened in practice when I was tagging on a fly ball from second,” Griffin said. “I slid into third and I slid a different way. My ankle just went underneath my leg and just broke.”

All the bench sitting that came with that break, though, may not have been a bad thing if you’re talking to Fox.

“He was totally clueless when he got here about the level of play in the ACC — as most freshmen are, but this class in particular — just what it takes to be successful at this level,” Fox said. “So maybe sitting helped him a little bit, just to watch success, failure, talk to other guys.”

That watching has been put to rest now, as Tuesday’s matchup against the Panthers was Griffin’s fifth game starting in right field.

Since he’s earned himself a consistent place in the starting lineup, the freshman has excelled in the seventh spot in UNC’s order.

“Ever since he’s gotten to play every single day, he’s been getting more comfortable and he’s been having great at-bats,” center fielder Chaz Frank said. “He’s been squaring the ball up, having a good eye and taking his walks when he needs to, and he’s playing really well for us right now.”

Contact the Sports Editor at sports@dailytarheel.com.

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