Coach Donna Papa told sophomore catcher Logan Foulks not to think when she went to bat in the bottom of the sixth inning Tuesday night, but Foulks was thinking about bringing in a runner anyway.
“I told her to have fun and relax, and just get up there, not think really and rip a pitch,” Papa said.
“And she did.”
Foulks did a little more than bring pinch runner Tisha Mahon home. The shot went over the right field fence, Foulks followed Mahon home and gave UNC the 4-2 lead and ultimately a win over East Carolina.
“I’m hurt right now, so it’s hard to swing with my right hand. I knew I was going to come in handicapped,” Foulks said. “I was just looking to put the ball in play and bring (the runner) home.”
The home run was UNC’s second of the night.
Foulks’ blast and redshirt junior Constance Orr’s homer in the bottom of the second inning each brought home one runner on base and accounted for all of the Tar Heels’ four runs.
“We were fortunate early,” Papa said. “Amber Parrish got a nice double for us followed by Constance’s home run. Connie’s been like Connie-clutch for us. In the games she’s been in, she’s delivered some big hits. So that tonight was huge.”
When Orr sent the ball over the fence past left field, she gave the Heels a 2-0 lead.
Orr and Foulks’ home runs were worth more than the four runs they put on the scoreboard because both of the players were playing at positions of injured teammates.
Foulks was playing for injured senior catcher Ally Blake, who started all 55 games last season.
“Personally, I felt like I had to step up because we’ve got some of our big hitters out,” Orr said. “One of the people that is hurt plays my position and I really just felt like I needed to step up.”
She said she feels that game-changing hits from replacements bode well for the season because of the current adversity.
“It finally sparks us,” Orr said. “Once we see that people are still hitting home runs after the weekend we had and with injuries, all of our hitters can get to it and hit some too. “
After the team’s 6-0 loss Saturday at Long Beach State and having two starters out, Papa really encouraged her team to hit aggressively.
“We told the girls that people needed to step up because the two people we have out right now are two of our better hitters, and so people did that today,” Papa said. “They stepped up and took charge. Like they said, those (hits) were sparks for us.”
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