UNC softball heads to NCAA Tournament

The No. 4 seeded North Carolina softball team took down Georgia Tech 6-2 to advance to the ACC tournament semifinal, before being knocked out by No.1 seed and host team Florida State on Friday.

The loss to FSU brought the Tar Heels to a record of 39-19 on the season — a good enough record to advance to the NCAA Tournament.

Tonight, North Carolina will face Wisconsin in Eugene, Ore., in the first round of regional play.

In last weekend’s ACC Tournament effort, seniors Haleigh Dickey and Constance Orr were both named to the 2013 ACC Softball All-Tournament team. Dickey tied the ACC Tournament record of two homeruns in a single game, propelling the Tar Heels to a victory.

Dickey also contributed two runs and two RBIs on the weekend. Orr batted a .600 average and tallied three hits with an on-base percentage of .667.

“I didn’t know it was a tournament record,” Dickey said. “So that was a nice surprise.”

But the team didn’t have time to celebrate the win over the Yellow Jackets on Thursday — they had a game against the Seminoles to concentrate on.

“We all knew it would be a tough game,” Dickey said. “It all comes down to executing, and Florida State was able to execute where we didn’t.”

Junior Lori Spingola pitched both complete games, striking out 14 on the weekend. She gave up only nine hits and six walks in the tournament.

Spingola said the team played very well against Georgia Tech and that she was happy with their teamwork throughout the year. The loss against Florida State was difficult, but just part of the game, she said.

“Overall, we were coming together as a team throughout the season,” Spingola said. “We just had an off game, and that happens.

“We had a few errors on the field, and they had a few more hits than us and their pitcher shut us down from an offensive standpoint.”

This weekend, coach Donna Papa will lead the Tar Heels to the NCAA Tournament for the 11th time in the last 13 years. Though she said she wishes her team had advanced to the final game of the ACC tournament this year, she is looking forward to the NCAA games.

“We’re one of the 64 teams that is still practicing and playing, so I feel good about that,” Papa said. “I feel like we have good opportunities, and if we can put it all together and compete, then we will do very well.”

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