UNC beats NC State in ACC softball tournament - WSLS 10 NBC in Roanoke/Lynchburg Va

UNC beats NC State in ACC softball tournament

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North Carolina turned in a solid effort against rival NC State on Thursday afternoon, but the Tar Heels hope they saved an even better performance for Friday.

The fifth-seeded Tar Heels downed fourth-seeded rival NC State by an 8-4 score in the quarterfinals of the Atlantic Coast Conference Softball Championship and earned a shot at top-seeded Florida State in Friday’s 1 p.m. semifinal game.

UNC, which lost two of three to NC State in their final regular-season series, countered on Thursday with a quality pitching outing by starter Lori Spingola and long-ball heroics from Kendra Lynch, Jenna Kelly and Amber Parrish.

Spingola (18-14) worked 5 1/3 innings, struck out eight batters while walking one and held the Wolfpack hitless for the first four innings as the Tar Heels built a 7-0 lead.

Lynch and Kelly combined to drive in seven runs, four of which came on Lynch’s grand slam home run in the top of the first inning.

Leah Jones hit a two-run homer for the Wolfpack, and Renada Davis also finished with a pair of RBIs.

UNC (24-25) got to NC State All-ACC pitcher Emily Weiman (28-13) in its first at-bat. After the Tar Heels loaded the bases on an error and a pair of base hits, Kelly put down a bunt single to squeeze home Amy Nece with the game’s first run. Lynch then drove a 3-2 pitch over the fence in right-center for her grand slam and a quick 5-0 lead.

UNC upped the margin to 7-0 in the third inning on Kelly’s one-out, two-run homer to dead center field.

Spingola held the Wolfpack (34-16) hitless until the bottom of the fifth, when Sara Lippard dropped a single into left field. NC State collected two more hits in the inning, including a two-run double by Davis, but UNC avoided further damage with a double play and took a 7-2 lead into the top of the sixth.

Still, the Wolfpack wasn’t finished. With one out and one on in the bottom of the sixth, Jones delivered her seventh home run of the season to bring NC State within 7-4. Spingola departed at that point, giving way to Lauren Batten on the mound.

Batten got the second out of the inning, and fellow reliever Ashley Bone came on to pick up the third. Parrish then led off the seventh inning with her team-leading 15th home run of the season to account for UNC’s final 8-4 winning margin.

As they did against the Wolfpack, the Tar Heels will look to reverse regular-season results when they face Florida State on Friday. The Seminoles took all three meetings when the teams met at Chapel Hill, North Carolina on March 30 and 31, winning by 6-0, 5-3 and 5-1 scores.

This information was provided by the ACC.

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