North Carolina 3, Canisius 0

May 21, 2005

ANN ARBOR, Mich. -- Junior Crystal Cox threw her third no-hitter of the season to lead North Carolina to a 3-0 victory over Canisius in the NCAA Softball Regional at the University of Michigan's Alumni Field. The Tar Heels picked up a pair of runs in the top of the sixth inning and added an insurance run in the seventh to provide all the offense Cox would need as she struck out 12 in her 21st victory of the season.

The game was a defensive battle from the outset, with neither team picking up a hit until the third inning. North Carolina led off the top of the third with a single by sophomore Whitney Gelin and was able to advance the runner to second, but Canisius senior Andrea Bunten struck out the next batter and got a groundout to third to end the inning. The defensive struggle continued into the sixth inning when the Tar Heels were finally able to break the 0-0 tie. With one out, junior Julia Bove and sophomore Jaclyn Holden posted back-to-back singles to put runners on first and second. After a fly ball to centerfield resulted in the second out of the inning, junior Erica Enis doubled down the leftfield line to bring home both Bove and Holden and give the Tar Heels a 2-0 lead.

North Carolina tacked on one more run in the seventh inning to push its lead to 3-0. Senior Jessica Young doubled to left-center to lead off the inning and was pinch ran for by freshman Ashley Oxendine. The Tar Heels bunted Oxendine over to third and then popped out for the second out of the inning. North Carolina then executed a suicide squeeze to plate the third run of the game. Sophomore Joslin Higgins bunted the ball four feet to the third base side and Oxendine easily slid into home without a throw. Cox completed her no-hitter in the bottom of the seventh to close out the game.

North Carolina (37-28) will face Seton Hall on Saturday (May 21) at 6 p.m. with the winner advancing to face Michigan for the regional championship on Sunday (May 22) at 1 p.m. Canisius (22-19) is eliminated.


Canisius Head Coach Mike Rappl
On the game ... "I think early we didn't get the bat on the ball and I give credit to (North Carolina pitcher Crystal) Cox for throwing a great game. We swung at some bad pitches and I don't think we controlled our at-bats as well as she controlled us -- that was the difference. They got a couple runners on and they were looser and we were pressing because we couldn't get the bat on the ball as well as we could've." On the season ... "With all the injuries we had, the kids really battled to get here. You hate to say that we're just happy to be here, but it's something that they can remember. How many people get to play in the national tournament? How many teams get to play the No. 1 team in the nation? We won our conference title and we got a lot of good memories."

" Crystal Cox's no-hitter was her third of the season. She did not allow one Canisius runner to reach third base.
" With the win, North Carolina broke a four-game losing streak.
" Before Erica Ennis' RBI double in the sixth inning, North Carolina was scoreless in the previous 34 innings.
" North Carolina now holds a 2-4 all-time record against Canisius.
" Amanda Luukinen of Canisius started her 177th straight game at third base.
" Seniors Ashley Gonnello, Amanda Luukinen and Andrea Bunten of Canisius played a combined six NCAA tournament games, the most of any graduating class in the program's history.

-- Courtesy Michigan