“It felt great to get back into the lineup this weekend,” Blake said. “I was just trying to be ready if my team needed me and when they did, I just wanted to be as focused as I could.”
With one out, runners on first and third and a .328 season batting average, Blake doubled to right field, bringing in the runner from third and giving her team a 3-2 lead. This margin would ultimately be enough for the Tar Heels to hold on and take a 1-0 series lead over Virginia Tech.
“I think it’s great (to have Blake back). She’s one of our leaders at the plate and also in many ways outside of hitting,” Papa said. “She gave us a lift, especially in the ninth inning when she came in and delivered that big hit.”
The Tar Heels dropped the second game of the series late Saturday in a 5-0 shutout defeat. However, it was not a game that the players, namely Blake, saw out of reach.
“In the second game we were down, but toward the end we got a spark like we were still in the game even though we weren’t,” she said. “ We just carried that over into (Sunday) because we wanted to show them and the rest of the conference who we really are.”
Led by a grand slam homerun from sophomore outfielder Jordan Scarboro, a two-run knock by sophomore catcher Logan Foulks and a solo shot by junior third baseman Haleigh Dickey, UNC took the series over the Hokies following Sunday’s 9-0 blowout victory.
“I’m really excited about taking two out of three and winning the series,” Papa said. “ I thought we bounced back from (Saturday’s second game), which was disappointing. And I told the girls to have a bulldog mentality, play with desire and want it — all of the intangibles.”
For players like Orr, it is Papa’s inspiration that has led UNC to a series win over Virginia Tech and an overall record of 21-8 on the season — the team’s best start since 2000.
“I think the key to the team’s success this weekend was our motivation and drive to be No. 1 in the ACC,” Orr said. “Coach P puts a big emphasis on being the best and being the underdog because we are ranked second in the ACC right now (behind Florida State). We’re just trying to win so we can prove a point to everyone.”
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