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The Daily Tar Heel

UNC softball drops three-gamer series to Pittsburgh

It was an inconsistent three games packed with the highest of highs and the lowest of lows for the North Carolina softball team.

In their ACC road opener, the Tar Heels dropped two of three games against Pittsburgh this weekend after splitting a doubleheader on Saturday. 

The Panthers took Game 1, 7-3, but the Tar Heels fired back in Game 2 with a 13-3 run-rule victory over Pittsburgh in six innings. In Game 3, the roles reversed, as the Panthers secured an 11-3 run-rule victory in five innings to win the series.

Game 1 saw the Panthers (18-9, 2-4 ACC) attack early, scoring five runs in the first three innings. The game was plagued by a 50-minute rain delay in the bottom of the sixth inning, but even the stoppage couldn’t help the Tar Heels (14-14, 3-3 ACC) get back on track. 

North Carolina batters only recorded five hits in the game and were unable to support struggling junior pitcher Kendra Lynch, who allowed 11 hits.

But Lynch bounced back in Game 2 and got the run support she desperately needed in the first game. Lynch pitched five shutout innings and went into the bottom of the sixth inning with a 13-run cushion. UNC’s bats were hot in Game 2, tallying 11 hits and four home runs.

Sunday's rubber match saw Pittsburgh take an early 8-1 lead in the second inning. The game never got much better for UNC, as the contest finished early in the fifth inning when the Panthers scored two runs to enforce the mercy rule.

For the Tar Heels, the weekend series proved both hitting and pitching need to be in sync for the team to survive the heat of ACC play.

Quotable

“We had opportunities. We had bases loaded and didn’t come through. We left 10 people on base (in Game 3). Everything has to come together. We had opportunities to establish ourselves and we didn’t … We just didn’t capitalize. ” — Coach Donna Papa on North Carolina’s inconsistency throughout the weekend series.

Notable

It was a weekend of firsts for the young Tar Heels. First-year outfielder Destiny DeBerry recorded her first career triple in Game 1 and first-year catcher Katie Bailiff hit her first career home run — a two run shot — in Game 2.

Three numbers that matter

10: Senior shortstop Kristen Brown hit her 10th home run of the season in Game 2 on Saturday. She ranks second in the ACC in home runs behind N.C. State's Tyler Ross, who hit her 11th home run of the season on Sunday.

13: The Tar Heels scored a season-high 13 runs in Game 2.

11: Lynch surrendered 11 earned runs during the series. Lynch started all three games for UNC, losing Games 1 and 3 and winning Game 2.

What’s next?

North Carolina faces Coastal Carolina at 3 p.m. on Wednesday in Conway, S.C.

@Evan_Chronis

sports@dailytarheel.com

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