The North Carolina softball team proved that playing on the road is no longer an issue after defeating Virginia Tech in two of three games this weekend.
Coming off a 2-6 record, the Tar Heels flew to Hawaii last weekend where they went 4-1 against some of the country’s top teams, ending an on-the-road losing streak that they feared could hurt the season’s momentum.
The Tar Heels traveled again this weekend and found that their road woes had all but left when they went on to defeat the Hokies, improving their record to 8-8 overall and 2-1 in the ACC.
“I think we finally came out and started hitting the ball the way that we always have in practice,” said outfielder Kendra Lynch.
The team battled hard in Saturday’s first game, hitting well in each inning and defeating Virginia Tech 8-4.
With a short break between games, the Tar Heels struggled to regain momentum and were defeated in their second game. Tied 3-3 at the top of the seventh inning, the Hokies’ Elizabeth Birle hit a walk-off home run that resulted in a 3-4 loss for North Carolina.
On Sunday, morale was low after a grand slam by Virginia Tech’s Amanda Ake in the first inning. In the second inning, North Carolina’s Aquilla Mateen hit a triple, sending Erin Satterfield home. But a hit by Kendra Lynch in the third inning brought Kristen Brown home, improving the score to 2-4 and blazing the trail for a comeback.
Down 7-2 going into the sixth inning, North Carolina scored eight runs on eight hits, gaining a lead that they would not lose, and eventually winning the game 12-8. The Tar Heels had 21 hits total and were led by Kati Causey and Lynch who each had four RBIs and one home run.
Coach Donna Papa said that practice paid off and credited it to this weekend’s wins.
“One thing that we always did in practice was work on winning the sixth or seventh inning, and this weekend most of the scoring we did was in the sixth or seventh innings, so we really have worked on that and it finally paid off for us,” Papa said.
Papa credits the entire team for putting consistent effort forth throughout the weekend and letting the results show in a win.
“The way that we battled today and came back from being down in the game was great. We were down 7-2 in the fourth inning and for us to battle the way that we did, scoring eight runs in the sixth and two runs in the seventh was huge,” Papa said. “Our girls just hit the ball so well and every girl through the lineup had key hits that helped us win.”
Psyched from another win on the road, the team is ready to get back to Chapel Hill and play at home.
“We have not had a home game yet, and that’s really hard,” Papa said. “We’re like road warriors right now.”
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