The Tar Heels stranded eight runners on base in their 3-1 loss Sunday afternoon, including three in the top of the seventh inning with two outs, when third baseman Haleigh Dickey struck out with the bases loaded.
“We’re getting hits, but they’re not productive, and we’re not getting them at the right time,” an audibly frustrated Papa said by phone.
UNC salvaged a third of the weekend with a 5-4 win Saturday on the strength of Amber Parrish’s two-run home run in the top of the fifth inning.
Parrish belted the first pitch she saw from FSU workhorse Lacey Waldrop (12-4), who also started the back end of Sunday’s doubleheader for the Seminoles. It was a rare display of confidence from UNC’s batter’s box — when the bats are hot and the hits contagious, Parrish says, the Heels become a dangerous opponent.
“When we don’t (hit),” Parrish said, “that’s when the losses come.”
Those losses came in a pair Sunday, despite the best efforts of UNC starter Lori Spingola (13-9), who struck out 19 Seminoles during 13 innings Friday and Sunday.
Facing Division I hitters is tough enough — facing them with meager run support is even tougher.
“It definitely makes it harder,” Spingola said of her team’s offensive frailty. “I think just going after the hitters and trying to do my job keeps the runners off the bases as much as possible and keeps the runs down so the offense can do their job.”
But that job was left unfinished in Tallahassee, punctuated by an absence of execution, assertiveness, and competitiveness, Papa said. A day that began with thoughts of a symbolic championship ended with a technical knockout — and some fighting words.
“Hopefully they have some fight in them,” Papa said. “I still have fight in me, but they need to have fight in them.”
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