“I knew what she was throwing before; I knew I just had to kind of ...” Pickett said, pausing to search for the right word. “Swing.”
Pickett’s long ball at the plate — her first home run as a Tar Heel — was only half of her contribution. Her pitching performance held Pittsburgh to only three hits and an unearned run. North Carolina earned a 5-1 victory.
UNC picked up exactly where it left off on Saturday, scoring two first-inning runs.
Strong pitching again lifted the Tar Heels over the Panthers. Kendra Lynch helped UNC escape numerous jams, allowing two runs through 5 1/3 innings. Pickett, the star of Friday’s gem, put the bow on Saturday in a relief appearance.
UNC added two home runs to the tally — one from Taylor Wike and another from Katie Bailiff in the 6-2 win.
The Tar Heels’ start in the final game of the series couldn’t have been more different from the first two.
They were in a hole from the start, when Pittsburgh blasted a three-run home run. The Panthers tacked on two more runs in the second for a five- run lead. For a second, it looked like North Carolina’s win streak was in doubt.
UNC finally stirred awake in the fifth inning, plating six runs to tie the game.
After going to extra innings, the game didn’t offer much action for either side until the ninth. UNC capped off the comeback thanks to a bases-loaded single from Bailiff in the bottom of the ninth.
But Bailiff wasn’t overtaken by the moment.
“It was a complete team effort,” she said. “I mean, we used everybody.”
With Sunday’s 8-7 win, the Tar Heels extended their win streak to 10 and opened ACC play with a series sweep. Head coach Donna Papa said that isn’t the point of emphasis.
“We are really trying to focus on the process,” she said. “If we focus on what we are supposed to, then hopefully at the end of the game we have the victory.”