"You can ask me questions if you want, but really I should just walk out after what Dallas said. That's why we're sitting here champions, what he just said."
Or, most poignantly, take junior righty Austin Bergner, whose seven inning, four hit, two run performance at the most crucial point of North Carolina's season propelled the team to victory.
"I just was going out there and trying to be aggressive with every pitch," Bergner said. "I just felt like if I got ahead, then I was going to give us a good chance to win."
That's what he did, bolstered by four runs from his Tar Heel teammates in the first inning. And as the sun set on Boshamer Stadium, Bergner became more and more alive, pumping his fist after a sixth-inning strikeout to keep the Volunteers at bay.
"He's pretty confident, can't you tell?" Fox said. "He gets down, obviously, when he doesn't pitch well, but he doesn't really lose his confidence. He's got a little cockiness and swagger to him. Now, is it hiding somewhere on the inside? Perhaps so. But sometimes you've gotta fake it, right?"
Bergner's results, though, were anything but fake, limiting Tennessee to a pair of runs, one in the second inning after a wild pitch and one in the fourth inning after an RBI single.
It was perhaps Bergner's best outing of the season, a season where he posted a 5.48 ERA after recording a 4.25 ERA the year prior.
"People can get down on you – 'You're not doing this well, you're not doing that well' – but we believed in him, and he keeps working," Fox said. "We know at some point he's gonna have to get the ball and get out on the mound and pitch well for us to win a championship."
After sophomore Joey Lancellotti took the mound in the last two innings to deliver the game's final outs, the final moment felt earned – spurred by an unwavering confidence. The postgame celebration was long, and it was loud.
"I've had a lot of teams here – this one, I couldn't be prouder," Fox said. "They're so happy. That's the best part of coaching, seeing kids happy after winning."
UNC isn't done. Any hopes of an NCAA title will have to include future strong performances by Bergner, and be driven by that simple yet elusive force: belief.
"As long as he keeps believing, and his teammates keep believing in him, and we keep believing in him, that's all that matters," Fox said.
"We don't really care what other people think outside of our group. We all believe in Austin Bergner."
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