March 12, 2014
CONWAY - The Coastal Carolina University softball team welcomes North Carolina back to Conway for the first time in seven years on Wednesday, as the two teams play a single non-conference game beginning at 5 p.m.
The Tar Heels will be making their sixth trip to the CCU campus, but the first since 2007. The Chanticleers have defeated North Carolina three times in their history, but never on their homefield. Coastal's victories over UNC in 1994, 1995 and 1996 all came at neutral sites. The teams' last met two seasons ago in the NCAA Athens Regional when the Tar Heels held off a Coastal rally for a 5-3 victory in an elimination game.
Coastal (15-6) has won 10 of its last 14 games and is 14-4 at home this season. Entering play on Tuesday, Kory Hayden stood tied for third in the nation with 10 home runs. She also leads the Big South with 30 RBIs and is first among starters with a .945 slugging percentage. Bri Chiusano was third in the country with 22 stolen bases and is the Big South leader in runs with 27 and walks with 16. She had multiple hits in five of the last six games to raise her average to .459, second-best in the conference. Kiana Quolas is first in the Big South with nine wins and second in ERA (1.16) and strikeouts (75). The junior is one victory away from tying Sara Norwood for second all-time in Coastal history.
North Carolina is 11-10 overall following a 9-3 loss to Campbell on Tuesday. The Tar Heels have gone 5-1 in ACC play, after being picked fourth in the conference's preseason poll. Sophomore shortstop Kristen Brown, senior pitcher Lori Spingola and junior catcher Amber Parrish were each All-ACC second team selections last year. This season, Brown is hitting .318 with a team-high 22 RBIs, along with seven home runs and six doubles, while Spingola is 6-5 in the circle with a 2.97 ERA and 70 strikeouts in 14 appearances (13 starts). She did not pitch in the Campbell game. Sophomore outfielder Aquilla Mateen leads the team with a .441 average and 30 runs scored, but also did not appear in Tuesday's loss.
Following Wednesday night's game, Coastal will host the Chanticleer Showdown, its final regular-season tournament, this Friday through Sunday. Among the teams in the field is No. 18/21 ranked Minnesota. The Chants will play the Golden Gophers on Saturday at 4:30 p.m. CCU will also face two matchups with Georgia State and one with both Troy and Fordham.