More Video: Post Game Press Conference
May 19, 2012
ATHENS, Ga.--The No. 10 overall seed University of Georgia softball team used early runs in the first three innings to pull out a 3-2 win over North Carolina Saturday afternoon in the Athens Regional at Jack Turner Stadium.
The win moves Georgia to Sunday's games with a chance to be named Regional Champions while putting them at 43-15 on the season. With its first loss of the weekend, UNC's record holds at 42-13, and the Tar Heels will play again on Saturday to keep their season alive.
Senior Erin Arevalo (25-7) took her second win of the weekend, as she gave up two hits and no earned runs. The California native also posted five strikeouts. UNC's Lori Spingola (32-11) took the loss after giving up two earned runs and eight hits while striking out eight.
Senior Ashley Pauly and junior Tess Sito tallied two hits apiece, as both were 2-for-4 at the plate with Pauly also getting a run. Freshman Paige Wilson and senior Kristyn Sandberg collected the team's two RBI.
Georgia jumped ahead to an early 2-0 lead in the top first. Pauly laid down a bunt single before advancing to second on a Tar Heel error. Wilson followed with a RBI-double off the center field wall before the second UNC error of the inning on Sandberg's at-bat allowed Wilson to score.
Sandberg extended Georgia's lead to 3-0 in the third with her 19th home run of the season with a solo shot beyond the left center field wall.
UNC climbed on the board in the bottom fifth to set the score at 3-2. After a Amber Parrish walk, Tisha Mahon came in as a pinch runner to steal second and advance to third on a dropped third strike. Mahon put up the Tar Heels' first run after Constance Orr reached on a fielding error. Chelsey Butler then came in for Orr to steal second before putting the last run on the board from a Kelli Wheeler single through the right side.
Georgia takes the field on Sunday at noon to face the winner of game five in the Athens Regional. If Georgia falls in Sunday's first game, it will play a game immediately following the first decide the Regional champion.
Georgia Head Coach Lu Harris-Champer
"I thought it was an exciting game. I'm excited about the way our team came out offensively early in the game. We were able to put our plan in place right away. I thought we had some real clutch at-bats. I was also really proud of the way Erin (Arevalo) competed, especially in the last inning. She really had great poise and great composure."
On the importance of getting the rest of today off...
"I think it's huge at this point. Tomorrow it'll be another opportunity to play another game, come out here and fight. I'm really proud of this group for showing a lot of grit and a lot of heart."
Georgia catcher Kristyn Sandberg
"I think it was really important for us to get out early, and get the momentum early in the game. Erin pitched great this entire game. Especially in that seventh inning, I thought she really wanted to shut 'em down."
On the home run...
"I was just looking at what she was throwing the hitters before me, the other right-handed batters. I wanted to make sure I was ready for a pitch in the zone."
Georgia pitcher Erin Arevalo
"I just wanted to go out, throw strikes, get ahead and make them swing at my pitches."
On the fifth inning...
"It was important to just flush it, put it behind us. You can't carry what happened in that inning to the next inning."
North Carolina Head Coach Donna J. Papa
"I thought it was an exciting game. The tough thing was in the first inning I didn't think we had as good as composure as we needed to have. They got those two runs and we had those couple of errors, but after that, I thought Lori (Spingola) did a great job on the mound all day. I thought she did a great job with their hitters. We just made some mistakes early and got ourselves in a hole and had to dig ourselves out, but I thought we competed the whole game. I'm really proud of what we did."
North Carolina pitcher Lori Spingola
On the first inning...
"I definitely knew that we were playing a bit uptight and a little nervous, but I knew once the first inning was out of our way that we were going to come after them the rest of the game, and we had a good chance of winning."
On her thought process throughout the game...
"Mentally, it was just attacking the hitters and putting a lot of spin of the ball so that they would pop up, and they swung and missed a lot. Really just doing what I have done all season--spinning the ball and not doing too much."