Matzko closed out the inning, but not before allowing one more to cross the plate off an RBI base-hit, giving Northwestern a 6-0 lead.
UNC followed suit with four runs of their own in the fourth inning, where nine Tar Heels appeared at the plate. Senior Aquilla Mateen drew a walk and stole second base, later crossing the plate off a wild pitch, followed by Brown stealing home.
Northwestern reliever Amy Letourneau inherited a bases loaded situation and hit first-year Berlynne Delamora with a pitch, bringing a third Tar Heel across the plate. To close out the inning, Lynch, who walked, scored on yet another wild pitch after a long UNC rally.
UNC’s three-run fifth inning gave them a 7-6 lead, as Brown started the frame with a walk and later scored on an RBI single from Lynch. Katie Bailiff, a first-year catcher, picked up her first RBI of the game, giving her team its first lead.
Matzko worked her way into trouble in the bottom of the seventh, giving up three consecutive hits and loading the bases.
“For me, most of my pitches were working, but then I made a few mistakes and they were able to capitalize on them,” Matzko said.
After a Northwestern RBI single, Wildcats third baseman Morgan Nelson homered to center field, spoiling UNC’s attempt at a comeback win.
“Tough day,” Papa said. “We were down in that game early, 6-0, and to fight back and then have the lead going into the seventh, a two-run lead, says a lot about the character of our team.”
UNC’s second loss, which came against Illinois, began in similar fashion as the opposing team took an early 4-0 lead. In a long second inning for Illinois, which brought eight players to bat, Matzko gave up four hits, two of which were home runs.
“You can’t defend balls that are hit over the fence,” Papa said.
The Tar Heels broke through in the third inning with an RBI single from Brown, UNC’s second hit of the inning. Despite UNC’s six hits, it would be their only run of the game.
Matzko pitched five innings, allowing five hits before being relieved by Lynch for the final two innings.
“I don’t know, to be honest. I’m going to be truly, truly honest. I think (Lynch and Matzko) will see time tomorrow. Or we may throw Lauren Fuller in the middle of that mix, which we haven’t done a lot yet.” — Papa on who will be the starting pitcher in UNC’s final game of the weekend.
Before Saturday's game, UNC’s pitching staff hadn’t given up any home runs throughout the season.
Three numbers that matter
7: Combined, Matzko and Lynch allowed seven home runs Saturday.
16: The number of North Carolina players that saw playing time during the doubleheader, though only five had an RBI.
22: The number of hits opponents managed off of UNC, compared to the Tar Heels 14 hits on the day.
UNC hosts Illinois at 12:30 p.m. on Sunday in the Tar Heels' final game of the ACC/Big 10 Challenge.