May 19, 2012
ATHENS, Ga. - Coastal Carolina’s record setting season came to an end at the hands of No. 21 North Carolina by the way of a 5-3 final in the second elimination game of the NCAA Athens Regional on Saturday.
Coastal Carolina ends its superb season with a 44-19 record, which ties the CCU all-time mark for wins in a single season. Additionally, the Chanticleers won the program’s first Big South title since the 2006 season, made its first NCAA Regional since 2006 and won its first NCAA Regional game since 2000.
North Carolina (43-14) leadoff batter Kelli Wheeler homered on Kiana Quolas' fifth pitch of the game to give North Carolina an early 1-0 lead. Amy Nece followed with a bunt single and advance to second on a wild pitch before she was drove home by a single off the bat of Ally Blake. Haleigh Dickey then reached on a fielder’s choice. A wild pitch moved both Blake and Dickey into scoring position. Blake would score on an RBI single by Constance Orr and Dickey via a Jordan Scarboro line drive to left-center, making the score 4-0 after half an inning of play.
After sitting the Chants down in order in the bottom of the first, North Carolina added another run in the top of the second. Nece drew a one-out walk and stole second to put herself in scoring position with Amber Parrish at the plate. Parrish delivered Nece with a double to the gap in left, putting the Tar Heels in front 5-0.
Chelsea Pineda picked up Coastal’s first hit of the game with a two-out double down the left field line in the second inning. Kelsey McNaughton was inserted to run for Pineda; however, she would be stranded at second as Jazmin Daigle grounded back to the pitcher for the final out of the inning.
The pitchers took charge over the third and fourth innings, allowing no runs and only a single base runner each.
The Chanticleers broke through on the scoreboard in the fifth with two runs to cut UNC’s lead to 5-2. Cacia Pierre led off the frame with a sharp single to left. Tamara Hawkins, inserted to pinch run for Pierre, moved to second on a single through the right side by Daigle. Jessie Winans walked to load the bases for Maples. The senior made the most of her bases-loaded opportunity as she smacked a high-bouncing single to second that was mishandled by the Tar Heel second baseman to score both Hawkins and Daigle.
Kory Hayden brought Coastal a run closer to the Tar Heels in the sixth with her 15th blast of the season. The co-Big South Freshman of the Year was 1-for-6 in the Regional prior to the no-doubter down the left field line. Hayden is now tied for second in the CCU annuals for most home runs in a single season.
Lori Spingola (33-11) allowed seven hits and three earned runs, while striking out four to earn the win. Quolas (24-11) allowed five runs on nine hits to take the loss.
Maples and Pierre led Coastal at the plate with each picking up two hits. Scarboro went 3-for-3 with an RBI to pace North Carolina.
Coastal Carolina Postseason Tournament History
1992 – National Invitation Championship [Macomb, Ill.] (0-4)
1998 – NCAA Lincoln Regional (0-2)
2000 – NCAA Tempe Regional (2-2)
2001 – NCAA Los Angeles Regional (0-2)
2006 – NCAA Athens Regional (0-2)
2012 – NCAA Athens Regional (1-2)
2012 NCAA ATHENS REGIONAL SCHEDULE OF GAMES:
Friday, May 18
2:30 p.m.: Georgia Southern 1 vs. North Carolina 2 (8)
5 p.m.: Coastal Carolina 3 vs. Georgia 13 (5)
Saturday, May 19
12 p.m.: North Carolina 2 vs. Georgia 3
2:30 p.m.: Georgia Southern 1 vs. Coastal Carolina 2 (Georgia Southern eliminated)
5 p.m.: Coastal Carolina 3 vs. North Carolina 5 (Coastal Carolina eliminated)
Sunday, May 20
12 p.m.: North Carolina vs. Georgia
2:30 p.m.: (If Necessary): Winner Game 6 vs. Loser Game 6
**All Times Eastern & Subject To Change**
Head Coach Kelley Green
“It was nice to get a NCAA Regional win under our belt for the first time in quite some time, so that was nice to do with this group. I thought (Ashley) Bagwell pitched a nice first game, and we got a couple of clutch hits thereIt was nice to get a NCAA Regional win under our belt. We had a rough first inning in that second game. Kiana missed her spots a couple times, but our defense also let us down, other than that I thought we out played UNC. Kiana settled down after that point and we scored some runs and did some great things, but that first inning just hurt us.”
“I was pleased, after that first inning we settled down and turned some heads and made people believe that we belonged here. I’m glad we could go out playing well, playing the last five innings of the game. We gave our hitters a chance in that last inning, we had some good hitters coming up soon at the end. Brooke hit it hard right back at the pitcher and if she gets on and then Kory comes up and you never know what can happen when she is up to bat. We gave our selves a chance to win and couldn’t pull through, but UNC is a great team.”
Q: Can you talk about playing in a NCAA Regional and picking up an NCAA Regional win and how that will carry into next season and what that means for the program.
“This is huge in terms of the level of experience our kids received. This is only my third year and the first two years we weren’t even over .500, so not only is this a winning season, but we have a lot of inexperience at championship play whether its within the conference or at a regional. We absolutely need to carry this into next season and this experience will only help us for the future.”
Q: With a young group how does playing in a regional help you going into the next couple of seasons?
“It’s all about gaining experience when you get to the post season, experience really does help a ton. Although we didn’t hang in there with
North Carolina Head Coach Donna J. Papa
"At this point, it’s just ‘survive and advance’ and that’s what we did. I thought that Lori (Spingola) pitched well again. We could have scored a few more runs with the bases loaded and a few more opportunities to kind of put them away. We scored enough runs to win, but I would like to have just put a few more up on the board. It would have enabled us to get her (Spingola) out of the game and give her some rest because tomorrow’s tough. We’ll be facing a tough Georgia team, they can hit the ball and they have three quality pitchers. Hopefully, Lori’s going to have a little more gas in the tank and she won’t be running on fumes.”