Mozingo inks NLI with Tar Heels
By Rudy Coggins
Published in Sports on November 11, 2011 1:48 PM
Who is going to be our No. 2? Eastern Wayne head baseball coach Jabo Fulghum recalls asking himself that question when starting pitcher Josh Frederick suffered a season-ending injury in 2009.
Fulghum turned to Zack Mozingo.
The right-hander worked four-plus innings in his first start, but one of his later outings solidified his spot in the rotation. Mozingo threw a gem in the eastern championship series against Northern Nash, and claimed the Warriors' only game in the state finals against Lake Norman.
"I knew then he was something special," said Fulghum.
A charismatic hurler who has three quality pitches in his arsenal, Mozingo steadily improved throughout his sophomore and junior campaigns. He has one season left at Eastern Wayne and then he's headed to perennial NCAA Division I power North Carolina.
Mozingo officially signed a national letter-of-intent with the Tar Heels on Wednesday.
"Since I was young I've really wanted to go Carolina because I've been a fan all my life and my dad (Danny) got me into it," said Mozingo. "When they offered me (a scholarship), I knew that's where I wanted to be. I'm excited. Carolina usually makes the College World Series and that's an experience I'd like to be part of."
UNC finished 51-16 last season and was eliminated in the CWS by Vanderbilt. It was the Tar Heels' sixth appearance in Omaha during the past seven years.
Eastern Wayne's track record has been just as impressive with Mozingo. The Warriors have logged a 26-6 worksheet in Eastern Carolina 3-A Conference regular-season play, won two league crowns and appeared in two eastern regional championship series (2009 and 2011).
Mozingo has compiled 18 wins and nearly 240 strikeouts in 187.7 innings on the mound during that stretch. His career earned run average is just below 2.00.
"He always stays around the plate," said Fulghum. "He has had a successful career for us. He has improved every year and he's going to a great place, but he has to stay hungry.
"If he keeps working, he can be special."
A summer of AAU baseball helped Mozingo improve his change-up, fastball and off-speed stuff since he faced players who have made commitments to Division I programs. But he understands that he must develop a fourth pitch, increase his velocity and soak up every bit of knowledge possible from his teammates and the coaching staff at UNC.
Mozingo works out two days a week at the Family Y and lifts weights at school three days a week. He plans to major in either physical therapy or sports marketing.
"I'm a little intimidated by it because of the amount of talent they pull in each year which means I have to compete hard," said Mozingo. "But if you're competing and you're playing at the top of your game, you should be able to play. But it's going to be exciting because everyone knows that Carolina is one of the top programs in the nation.
"To know I'm going to one of the top programs in the nation makes me feel good inside."
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