HONOLULU - North Carolina opened play at the Bank of Hawaii Invitational with two solid wins over San Jose State and St. Mary's at Hawaii's Rainbow Wahine Stadium.
After three frustrating losses, the Tar Heels regained their spark on Friday as they shut out the Spartans 1-0 and the Gaels 2-0 thanks to some stellar play in the field and in the circle.
"I thought we put together two really good wins today," head coach Donna J. Papa said. "Lori Spingola was outstanding on the mound today, and Kendra Lynch and Ashley Bone did a great job as well. Our defense was stellar today - Kristen Brown, Amy Nece and Erin Satterfield really made some key plays for us to end some threats in both games. It was really nice to be able to put two wins together back-to-back, and I'm really proud of the effort we had in both games."
Game One vs. San Jose State:
Kristen Brown led off with a single to left and advanced to second on another single to left by Amber Parrish. Jenna Kelly then drew a walk, loading the bases for Kati Causey, who reached base on a fielder's choice. Brown scored on the play, putting the Tar Heels on the board early with the only run they'd need to win the game.
Lori Spingola (2-4) fanned seven in the win, giving up four hits and walking two.
Game Two vs. St. Mary's:
The Tar Heels set the pace early in game two, ending the Gaels' first at-bat with a double pick-off. Then Jenna Kelly and Amber Parrish hit back-to-back solo homers in the bottom frame, giving Carolina an early lead and the only runs the Tar Heels would need to take the victory.
St. Mary's threatened with bases loaded in the fourth, but a great defensive stop by Brown prevented the Gaels from scoring.
Kendra Lynch pitched four innings en route to her first career victory in the circle. Lynch struck out four batters while giving up four hits and two walks. Ashley Bone pitched the final two innings, giving up just two hits and one walk.
Up Next: UNC faces Hawaii on Saturday at 7 p.m. ET. Depending on the result of that game, Carolina will either play again at 9 or 11 p.m. ET. The remaining Bank of Hawaii Invitational schedule is below:
Sunday, Feb. 23
3 p.m. - Loser Game 1 vs. Loser Game 2
5 p.m. - Winner Game 1 vs. Winner Game 2