“She was just ready to crack it over the left fielder’s head.”
And that’s exactly what she did, driving in a walk-off RBI double to close UNC’s eighth win in nine games.
“We know that everyone on our team can get a hit in any situation,” said Brown, who is tied with Parrish for the team lead in homers. “That’s honestly what the game’s all about. Any hit can change the game.”
Coach Donna Papa reiterated her power-hitter’s mantra, seeing the team's self-assuredness as the reason for its recent offensive explosion.
“Now that we’ve been winning, that builds so much confidence,” said Papa, after nine different Tar Heels cleared the fence over Spring Break. “If you don’t get it done, the person behind you can get it done.”
Though Parrish sparked the fireworks with two home runs in UNC’s 8-3 victory over Texas early in the break, it was the person just ahead of her in the batting order who stole the show.
Brown — whose home run prowess has earned her the nickname “Downtown” — led the way with five slams over the course of nine days, including two in the first leg of Sunday’s doubleheader, a 15-7 comeback crushing of the Eagles.
“She’s starting to hit these last couple of weeks like we know she can,” Papa said. “She’s really come into her own in getting her confidence at the plate, and she’s made a big difference for us there.”
The confident play extended to the mound, as well.
UNC’s pitching staff, spearheaded by standout freshmen Kaylee Carlson and Sydney Matzko, held six of its nine opponents to three runs or less over the break.
And against Boston College on Sunday, Matzko pitched the final three innings of the morning game before holding the Eagles scoreless through 7.1 innings in the final matchup.
“She is a champion, (she) literally had one of the best performances I have ever seen,” Brown said. “She’s so mentally tough, and she just did a great job holding her own on the mound.”
For Matzko, it was all about the confidence.
“They just kept on coming up and we just kept on shutting them down,” said Matzko, who allowed just one hit in the final game. “I needed to have confidence in myself that I can get the job done, but also in my team that they had my back that we could finish this game out.”
The latter was no problem for the Tar Heels, whose clutch hitting — albeit within the park — once again proved key in securing the victory.
“We’re not done until the last pitch comes over the plate,” Papa said. “That’s the one thing we didn’t do well last year. We didn’t finish, we didn’t win a lot of doubleheaders. This year, we’re finishing and we’re winning doubleheaders.
“We’re challenging our girls to let people know who Carolina softball is.”