The Carolinas clashed on Tuesday night as the North Carolina softball team fell to No. 24 South Carolina, 5-0, in Columbia, S.C. It was the first of the Tar Heels’ six road games. The Tar Heels fell to 5-5 after their third loss in a row.
Despite both teams getting runners on base, South Carolina was the squad to break through, taking a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the first after loading the bases.
The second inning was rough for both teams, who each went three and out.
At the top of the third, first-year infielder Sierra Parkinson rallied to hit a single with two outs, but she was ultimately left on base.
Next up, sophomore Hannah Nommensen earned her first strike out of the season, and two more outs led to the fourth, where UNC went three and out.
First-year Katie Grace Olinger took over to pitch in the bottom of the fourth with one out and one runner on base for the Gamecocks. South Carolina scored their second run, and the bases were loaded before Olinger pitched back-to-back strikeouts to end the inning.
The next blood wasn't drawn until the sixth inning, when the Gamecocks knocked in four runs on a one-run single and a two-run double. The Tar Heels switched pitchers yet again, bringing out Hannah Todd for her career debut as North Carolina closed out the inning.
UNC rallied back in the seventh inning when junior outfielder Kiani Ramsey hit a hopeful single followed by a hit by Destiny DeBerry with two outs. But ultimately, the Tar Heels were unable to score, ending the game.
South Carolina finished with seven hits and no errors, while the Tar Heels had six hits and one error.
Who stood out?
The juniors on the team performed strongly. DeBerry went 2-for-3 in the batter's box. Murray and Ramsey also got hits for the Tar Heels, and Delmora had two impressive defensive stops in the game.
Why does it matter?
Despite having only one less hit and a slightly lower strike out percentage than the Gamecocks, North Carolina was unable to score any runs, and the team ended up leaving seven players on base — something it will need to work on moving forward.
The team was also able to see what its different pitchers had to offer. The Tar Heels face five more games on the road before returning to Chapel Hill, and they can certainly learn from the loss and improve in the upcoming matches.
When do they play next?
The Tar Heels will travel across the country tomorrow to California for the Mary Nutter Collegiate Classic from Thursday to Sunday. They will face Arizona in their first matchup.
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