Dropping midweek games kept North Carolina from making the regionals in the NCAA Tournament last year. The Tar Heels are making sure that does not happen again.
Lori Spingola threw a one-hitter Wednesday as UNC run-ruled visiting Campbell, winning 9-0.
“We play like a mythical state championship,” coach Donna Papa said of the midweek games. “So any instate team we play, we play them for the state championship.”
The UNC hitters came out dialed in, scoring all of their runs in the first two innings. The first inning production was a result of hitters getting on base and two home runs by Logan Foulks and Constance Orr. Foulks’ home run was her seventh of the year.
“We had really good hitting performances from everybody in the lineup,” Papa said. “And I think Constance and Logan have come through really great for us. They’ve been hitting the long ball a lot.”
The Tar Heels scored four more runs in the second inning, but they were a result of Campbell’s errors. Three UNC players crossed the plate in the second inning before the team had recorded a single hit. A walk and three errors put runners on base and then moved them around.
Foulks attributed the team’s ability to take advantage of Campbell’s mistakes to the team’s speed.
“The good thing is we have a little bit of speed behind us even with our big girls,” she said. “When we did get on on the errors … that really did help.”
The Tar Heels were able to use smart, fundamental softball to capitalize on Campbell’s errors. UNC executed two bunts and a sacrifice fly to move runners around the diamond.
“We’ve been talking about having good balance,” Papa said. “Putting the bunt down and being able to move our runners and then score our runners. That’s all we’ve been focusing on in practice.”
Spingola pitched five scoreless innings, allowing only one hit and striking out seven. Despite only giving up one hit, she was not as successful as her last outing.
She threw a no-hitter in UNC’s last game against South Carolina.
“(I was) just kind of coming at the hitters the same way I did last week,” she said. “Mentally, just staying confident and knowing that I can strike out any batter.”
Spingola has not given up a single earned run in her last five outings.
“Lori has looked really good, and I think she’s built a lot of confidence in the last couple weeks,” said Papa. “One-hitters, no-hitters, she really hasn’t given up much.”
The team is greatly anticipating their series this weekend against Florida State. The Seminoles got the best of the Tar Heels in the ACC Championship last year, and the players certainly have not forgotten that game.
“We have some payback to go with Florida State,” Foulks said. “Our one main focus right now is that game.”
“We plan to get out there and we have every confidence in the world that we are going to beat them.”
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