Pittsburgh jumped out to an early lead at the expense of UNC pitcher Sydney Matzko, who had her own struggles opposite the UNC offense.
Matzko would open the game by giving up back-to-back infield singles and eventually walked the bases loaded with one out. The next two Panther batters plated runs on a single and a sacrifice-fly respectively, giving Pitt a 2-0 lead early.
Matzko would walk in another run before she was replaced by Kaylee Carlson, and after just one half-inning of play, the Tar Heels were already staring at a 3-0 deficit.
"(Pittsburgh) just came out swinging … and after the first inning we just didn't compete well enough," said Coach Donna Papa. "They just kinda knocked us on our heels, and we never got off of that."
Carlson would give up a solo home run in the second to push the lead to 4-0, but by then it didn't matter. The Tar Heels' offense wasn't going to be able to come back.
With the dreams of an ACC championship now out of reach, the Tar Heels can only sit and wait as a selection committee begins to build the field of teams for the NCAA tournament. North Carolina came into the ACC tournament on the bubble, but Papa said she believes that the team deserves a spot.
"You know our RPI is good, our record is good, but you just never know with the committees," she said. "You put in their hands instead of taking control by not being in the championship game. I think we'll be OK , but I can't say for sure yet."
UNC will find out its fate on Sunday when the committee announces the field for the tournament. And if the Tar Heels do end up taking a spot, the feeling among players and coaches is that they could be dangerous.
"We've played in some big games this year and have been successful, and that's exactly how the tournament is," said senior catcher Amber Parrish. "Coming into this game, we said we were playing for each other, and I think that's enough hype to carry us into the postseason really well."