Princeton 3, Lehigh 1

May 21, 2005

ANN ARBOR, Mich. -- Sophomore Whitney Gelin sent a line drive to the centerfield wall in the bottom of the ninth inning, scoring freshman Ashley Oxendine to give North Carolina a 2-1 victory in nine innings over Seton Hall in the NCAA Regional at the University of Michigan's Alumni Field. Seton Hall loaded the bases in four of the final five innings of the game, but the Tar Heel defense held every time, holding the Pirates scoreless in bases-loaded situations.

The defenses took early control of the game as neither team was able to advance a runner past second base in the first two innings. With two outs in the bottom of the third and Tar Heel sophomore Joslin Higgins on first, sophomore Marissa May laid down a single bunt to the third-base side to put runners on first and second for freshman Cassie Palmer. Palmer singled to rightfield to bring Higgins home and give UNC a 1-0 advantage.

Seton Hall threatened to answer in the top of the fourth as the Pirates advanced senior D'arcy Djakalovic to second with two outs after she led off the inning with a walk. Senior Katie DePaul lined a single to leftfield, but May made a good throw to get Djakalovic out at the plate and preserve the Tar Heels' 1-0 lead.

The Pirates created another scoring opportunity in the top of the fifth inning, loading the bases with only one out. North Carolina, however, was up to the challenge, picking up a force at home and a fly ball to leftfield to get out of the inning.

Seton Hall finally broke through in the sixth, as senior Laura Taylor sent the first pitch of the inning over the leftfield wall to tie the game at 1-1. The Pirates went on to load the bases again in the sixth and seventh innings but was unable to push across to go-ahead run.

North Carolina opened the bottom of the eighth inning with a walk and a bunt single to put runners on first and second with no outs. This time, however, the Pirates' defense came through to retire the next three batters and end the inning.

In the ninth inning, Seton Hall received a leadoff walk from Djakalovic and a single by Taylor to put runners on first and second with no outs. After a sacrifice bunt advanced the runners to second and third, a fielder's choice bunt by DePaul load the bases yet again for the Pirates. However, for the fourth time in five innings, Seton Hall failed to score with the bases loaded, keeping the game knotted at 1-1.

North Carolina won the game in the bottom of the ninth with Gelin's line-drive single to centerfield. The ball skipped over the fielder's glove, allowing Oxendine to score the game-winning run from second.

North Carolina (38-28) advances to face Michigan in the regional final on Sunday (May 22) at 1 p.m. The Tar Heels need to defeat the Wolverines twice to secure the regional title. Seton Hall (34-15) is eliminated.

Q U O T E S

North Carolina Head Coach Donna Papa
On the first game against Canisius ... "I think Crystal had a great game the day before when she pitched eight innings; it was a heartbreaking loss to Seton Hall. For her to come back today and get that win -- we finally scored some runs. That was our problem, we hadn't scored runs in a while. To put those runs across the board, it gave the team belief."

On the play of leftfielder Marissa May ... "She had some outstanding plays, especially in the second game when she threw the runner out. She really had some nice catches. We had a team meeting and she mentioned some of the things that she wanted to do better, and she really brought her 'A' game today." On the overall play today ... "We battled harder today than we've battled in a long time. And we're doing it at the right time."

UNC Junior Pitcher Crystal Cox
On her no-hitter against Canisius ... "Most of the time I know, but this time I actually didn't realize it until after the game. Afterwards, I was like, 'oh, my god,' because I had no idea. I feel like we had a lot of luck that day, things were finally starting to fall our way. I think we had great defense and I felt in control." On the following game against Seton Hall ... "It was definitely gutsy. We definitely had our work cut out for us. It wasn't easy, but we had solid plays. The pitchers before me had to work through the same situations. We just fought all day, we showed a lot of heart. We really hadn't been on a streak. The cards haven't been falling our way, but today they did and we showed a lot of character and heart."

Seton Hall Head Coach Ray Vander May
On the game ... "This was real tough, but I give North Carolina a lot of credit. They fought real hard. They battled real hard and got the right hit at the right moment. Megan (Meyer) pitched a great game, but we just couldn't get the hits to break the game open. We left the bases loaded several times in the game. We popped out and grounded out with bases loaded, and sometimes that happens."

N O T E S
" Seton Hall suffered its first extra-inning loss of the season, dropping its record to 10-1 in such situations. North Carolina owns a 3-2 extra-inning mark this year.
" Seton Hall's fourth-inning hit broke a streak of 10 consecutive no-hit innings for the Tar Heels, following Cyrstal Cox's complete-game no-hitter against Canisius.
" Entering the game in the eighth frame, junior pitcher Crystal Cox broke North Carolina's single-season record for innings pitched with 262.0. She surpasses former Tar Heel Radara McHugh, who tossed 261 innings in 1999. Cox also has the single-season record for complete games with 32.
" Senior pitcher Megan Meyer ends her season with 251 strikeouts and holds the top two spots on Seton Hall's single-season strikeouts list after surpassing her own record (242) earlier this afternoon.
" Meyer ends her collegiate career with Seton Hall's all-time records in every pitching category: wins (81), strikeouts (259), appearances (140) and innings pitched (769.5).
" Senior Laura Taylor also wrapped up her four-year tenure at Seton Hall with a trio of major records: game played (208), RBIs (160) and home runs (58).

-- Courtesy Michigan