But UNC pitcher Brittany Pickett, the ACC Freshman of the Year, did not turn in a good performance.
She recorded only one out in the first inning and gave up five runs – three of which came on a home run by Arizona State shortstop Chelsea Gonzales – before being replaced by Kendra Lynch.
The Sun Devils pushed across three more runs during the second and third innings to put the game out of reach, as UNC hitters struggled the rest of the way against Macha.
Already ahead 3-0 in the first, UNC had the bases loaded with one out against Macha. The opportunity was there for the Tar Heels to not only add to their lead but also to shatter Macha's confidence.
However, Brittany West and Destiny DeBerry, the eighth and ninth hitters in the batting order, struck out consecutively. From that point on, Arizona State was by far the more superior team.
Three to know
Breanna Macha, Arizona State: Macha’s start to the game was bad, but the junior pitcher was able to put it behind her as she recorded her 13th win behind a five-strikeout performance.
Chelsea Gonzales, Arizona State: The first-team All-Pac-12 selection finished with a pair of home runs and gave the Sun Devils the lead with a three-run blast off Pickett in the first. Whatever momentum UNC had from its fast start was lost at that moment.
Leah Murray, UNC: The Tar Heel leadoff hitter was the only player on her team to have a multi-hit game, going 2- 4. She also stole a base before scoring UNC’s first run of the game.
By the numbers
1: hit for UNC after the first inning.
1.1: scoreless innings pitched out of the bullpen by UNC’s Sydney Matzko.
4: Arizona State batters with at least two hits.
They said it
“It’s just a tough way to start, but that’s why it’s a double-elimination tournament.” – UNC head
coach Donna Papa on the loss.
UNC plays the loser of the No. 13 seed Ole Miss-Southern Illinois game on Saturday at 5 p.m. in a win-or-go-home match-up.