No. 1 UNC Drops No. 8 Virginia 6-0
COLLEGE PARK, Md. North Carolina pitcher Danielle Spaulding retired all 21 Virginia batters, throwing a perfect game en route to 13th-ranked and top-seeded UNC’s 6-0 win over the Cavaliers Thursday in the opening round of the ACC Championship. Eighth-seeded Virginia (15-38) will now play fourth-seeded Georgia Tech, who dropped a 1-0 decision to No. 5 NC State, at 10 a.m. Friday in the next round of the double-elimination tournament.
Spaulding, the 2008 ACC Player of the Year, tossed just the second solo no-hitter in ACC Championship history and the first since 1992. In just the second ACC Championship start of her career, Spaulding registered the second perfect game in Tar Heel history. Tossing her 15th complete game of the season, she struck out nine, improving her team-best ERA to 0.86.
Spaulding also did some damage at the plate, going 2-for-2 at the plate. Cassie Palmer and Jennifer Jacobs also registered two hits apiece. The Tar Heels finished with eight hits in the winning effort.
The Tar Heels (50-9-1) got on the board in the bottom of the first inning. With one out, Palmer doubled down the left field line, despite a nice attempt from Virginia third baseman Abby Snyder to make a play at the ball. Palmer would eventually steal third base but back-to-back walks loaded the bases. Emily Troup brought in Palmer to score on a fielder’s choice to shortstop Carly Winger, who threw out the runner at third.
UNC added another run in the third, thanks to three consecutive singles. With one out, Palmer singled to left center. The next batter, Spaulding, then singled through the right side to put runners on first and second. Palmer her second run of the game for North Carolina on Jacobs’ single up the middle.
North Carolina put up four runs in the fourth to take a 6-0 lead, and unfortunately for Virginia, the Cavaliers committed two errors in the inning.
Fourth-year Whitney Holstun and first-year Alle Rife shared pitching duties for Virginia. Holstun took the loss, giving up four runs on five hits in three innings of work. Rife came on to toss the final three and allowed two runs on three hits.
Defensively, catcher Kelly Haller threw out two Tar Heels attempting to steal second base.