In total, the Tar Heels scored an overwhelming 30 runs in four games.
“Hitting is so contagious,” Papa said. “It helps your psyche a lot, you open up those doors and one hit follows another hit and another hit.”
Junior shortstop Kristen Brown excelled in particular. Against Eastern Kentucky she went a perfect 4-4 in hitting and scored a total of five RBI for the weekend. Nicknamed 'Downtown Kristen Brown' for her home run prowess last season, Papa said Brown has stepped up her game so far in the early portion of this season.
“I’m just trying to play with a lot of swag and come out on top and do anything I can to help out the team,” Brown said.
Because of the timing of the tournament, UNC had little time to prepare for its opponents. However, that’s less of a problem because of Papa’s system, which focuses more on personal execution than exploiting the other team.
“We talked about doing your job,” freshman infielder Taylor Wike said. “Playing more for the team than yourselves.”
Wike, who said her biggest challenge as a freshman hasn’t been softball but rather academics, had a solid weekend with six hits and two RBI. She wasn’t the only first-year player to perform well, however. Pitchers Kaylee Carlson and Sydney Matzko combined to get the opponent’s leadoff batter out in every inning for the first three games — something Papa says is critical to shutting a team down. The duo allowed only one run in those three games.
“They’re freshmen, but they did an outstanding job, and they’re really holding their own,” Brown said.
Just like kids set loose after the storm has passed, UNC released its own version of a storm on the opposition. When the torrential scoring ceased, the Tar Heels bused back from Georgia with a 9-4 record, ready to keep on playing.