CHAPEL HILL, N.C. – A single by Brittany Robinson in the bottom of the second inning drove in the only run of the game as North Carolina defeated East Carolina 1-0 to sweep the season series. With the victory, the Tar Heels (43-7) pushed their winning streak to 22 games and snapped the Pirates’ (34-12) winning streak at eight games.
Toni Paisley, 26-7, suffered the loss as she allowed the lone run on five hits while striking out seven. North Carolina’s Danielle Spaulding, 19-2 and the nation’s leader in strikeouts per seven innings, fanned nine in her four innings of work before giving way to Lisa Norris. The duo surrendered just one hit while blanking the Pirates for the first time since Michigan’s Nikki Nemitz shut out ECU on Feb. 21.
In the top of the first inning, Jessica Johnson drew the 96th walk of her career, tying her with Isonette Polonius for third in the ECU record books.
Christina Merrida singled to left with two outs in the top of the second for East Carolina’s only hit. She was then called out for leaving first base too early when Kaui Tom was up to bat.
North Carolina scored its run in the bottom of the second on Robinson’s RBI single. Brittany McKinney walked but was forced out at second on a fielder’s choice by Ally Blake. A two-out double to left center by Stephanie Murad put runners on second and third. Robinson then sent a ground ball between Johnson at first base and Charina Sumner at second base. Sumner dove and stopped the ball, but Robinson beat the throw to first, allowing Blake to score. Paisley struck out pinch hitter Kelsey Green to end the frame.
In the top of the fourth, Sumner led off with a walk but two strikeouts followed and Sumner was caught stealing to end the inning.
The Tar Heels threatened again in the bottom of the fifth as Christine Knauer and Breanna Brown hit consecutive singles to left field with one out. Spaulding flew out to right for the second out and Paisley intentionally walked Whitney Allen to load the bases. Emily Troup popped out to Tom at shortstop to end the inning without a run scoring.
East Carolina could not get a runner on base in the sixth or seventh innings, keeping the UNC lead intact.
The Pirates will be back in action tomorrow, hosting in-state rival UNC Greensboro for a doubleheader starting at 3 p.m.
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