“We knew going in that it was going to be tough scoring off of Kramer,” Papa said.
And Kramer lived up to the hype, limiting the Tar Heels to one hit in a game that was decided by small ball.
Western Kentucky took advantage of three errors from North Carolina early on to push across its two runs, which proved to be enough for Kramer, who came into the game as the national leader in both strikeouts and hits allowed per seven innings. The Tar Heels bounced back, however, and kept the Hilltoppers off the board in innings three through seven.
The one hit for the Tar Heels was a home run from junior Kristen Brown with two outs in the bottom of the 7th inning to break up Kramer’s no-hitter and shutout.
“Give credit to her, she is a great pitcher,” Brown said after the game.
Brown also acknowledged how commanding Kramer was throughout the game, especially in keeping the Tar Heels off balance.
Besides Brown’s blast, the only other mistake Kramer made was a 5th inning walk to senior catcher Amber Parrish that broke up Kramer’s perfect game.
“We prepared all week, and when we came out here we didn’t do quite as much as what we had done preparing through practice,” Parrish said.
Parrish did a nice job of making Kramer sweat on the mound, as she worked the count to a minimum of four pitches in each of her three at-bats.
The consensus among the Tar Heels was that the execution during the game just did not match the preparation in practice.
Even though Kramer had a near-flawless game, Coach Papa still felt that her team could have benefited from hitting the ball on the ground and putting pressure on the Hilltoppers.
“My biggest disappointment is that we just didn’t use the ground more,” Papa said after the game.
North Carolina will look to bounce back today at 2:30 PM against Central Connecticut State.