CHAPEL HILL, N.C. - No. 25 North Carolina came from behind to top Georgia Tech, 11-6 in an exciting contest played on ESPNU Monday night.
"I'm really proud of the team and their effort tonight," head coach Donna J. Papa said. "We've been talking about this all season, discussing 'how tough are you,' and I think this was a great test of character for us tonight. I think this is where we want to be and what we want to accomplish. Now we have this in our back pocket as we move forward, and we can rely on that and know that we can fight through this kind of situation."
Kristen Brown set the pace in the first inning, smashing her 10th home run of the season to left field to give UNC the early lead. Mateen hit a bunt single, stealing second and advancing to third on a fly out before scoring on Constance Orr's 12th homer this season.
After a scoreless second, the Yellow Jackets came on strong in the third, scoring five runs to take over the lead. Caitlyn Coffey drew a walk, advancing to third on a bunt single by Ashley Thomas and a Tar Heel error. Hayley Downs singled and was tagged out at second, but Coffey scored on the play. Alysha Rudnik singled through the left side to drive in Thomas, and then advanced to third on a double to right by Hope Rush before scoring on a single to left by Katie Johnsky. With bases loaded, Karly Fullem singled to left to scored Rush and Johnsky to make it 5-3, Tech.
Elisha Elliott led off the bottom of the fourth with an infield single, scoring on a double to right center by Brown. Brown advanced to third on a passed ball but came up short on the tying run after being tagged out at home.
Trailing 5-4 heading to the fifth, the Tar Heels had their own five-run inning to take back the lead. Amber Parrish led off the frame with a walk, and pinch runner Tisha Mahon advanced to second on a single to right center by Orr. Jenna Kelly was hit by a pitch to load the bases for Kati Causey, who hit a solid double down the left field line to drive in two runs. Brown drew a walk to load the bases again for Mateen, who hit a bases-clearing double to left center to put UNC back on top, 9-5.
Georgia Tech added a run in the sixth on a solo shot to left by Coffey to make it 9-6, but a walk to Parrish followed by Orr's second home run of the game in the bottom of the inning solidified the Tar Heels' victory.
Lori Spingola tossed the complete game for Carolina, striking out four while giving up 11 hits and three walks. The Tar Heels improve to 36-16 overall and 12-6 in conference play with tonight's win.
The Tar Heels close out the 2013 home schedule on Wednesday when they host UNC Greensboro at 6 pm at Anderson Stadium. UNC ends the regular season on the road next weekend with an ACC series at Maryland, April 27 and 28.