“I think it was the biggest test (of the season so far) because we didn’t shut them down,” senior catcher Ally Blake said. “We let them stay in the game, but showed a lot of fight toward the end, which was great for us because we really haven’t had to fight for something yet.”
Fortunately for UNC, Foulks erased her fourth inning error in the eyes of her teammates and coaches by leading off the bottom of the seventh with a walk-off home run down the right field line to give the Heels a 7-6 win.
“One of the things that I felt from the Fall was that we were going to be a good offensive team from a standpoint of hitting,” said UNC coach Donna Papa. “I just felt like that was going to be one of our strengths and so far it’s proven to be the case.”
The continued solid pitching of sophomore Lori Spingola also had a big impact on the game that went down to the wire.
In her fourth complete game of the season, Spingola battled through a bleeding finger on her pitching hand to pick up her fourth win of the year.
The sophomore, who was named ACC Pitcher of the week after the National Invitational Tournament, recorded 14 strikeouts and until the top of the fourth inning, had gone 19 and two-thirds innings without surrendering a single run.
“(Friday) wasn’t even one of her better outings,” Papa said. “But she still wound up striking out a lot of people because she can get batters to go down swinging or looking. I think we played with some good confidence with her out there on the mound.”
Following the win against UTEP, North Carolina’s Friday night game against Northwestern State was cut short because of rain after four innings of play with no score.
The Heels returned to action on Sunday morning in a match up against the Northwestern Wildcats. Led by yet another impressive pitching performance from Spingola, the team got a 5-0 victory.
Spingola tallied 11 strikeouts for a total of 50 of the year in her third complete game shutout of the young season.
Although the North Carolina softball team has posted a perfect 7-0 record so far this season, Papa sees room for improvement.
“I think for us it’s about treating every opponent the same,” Papa said. “Our goal is to focus on a one game season all of the time.”
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