North Carolina softball coach Donna Papa likes her team to imagine each hit pushing its opponent down.
And the Tar Heels used that mentality to claim a decisive 11-4 win against the Elon Phoenix Wednesday night at Anderson Stadium.
“I always talk about putting their head underwater and drowning them,” Papa said. “You just don’t give the other team time to breathe.”
The Tar Heels pushed Elon down early, scoring five runs in their first offensive outing.
But the team’s bats cooled off by the third inning, allowing Elon to start playing catch-up.
UNC replaced starting pitcher Lori Spingola with freshman Sarah Buchholz, and an emboldened Elon began a productive fifth inning.
The Phoenix scored three runs off as many hits, although they still trailed the Tar Heels by three.
The inning ended quickly once Spingola reclaimed the mound, forcing Elon batters to hit easy pop-ups to the infield.
Senior catcher Brittany McKinney said Spingola’s composure on the mound was a driving force behind getting the team back on track.