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The Daily Tar Heel

North Carolina softball goes 0-5 at Mary Nutter Collegiate Classic over the weekend

Brittany Pickett JMU
Brittany Pickett pitches against James Madison on April 26, 2017, in Anderson Stadium.

The North Carolina softball team traveled to California to take part in the Mary Nutter Collegiate Classic from Feb. 22-24. It was a tough weekend for the Tar Heels, as they lost all five games.


The first game of the tournament for UNC (5-10) was against a streaking No. 13 Arizona squad (13-1). It was a hard one for the Tar Heels – it ended via mercy rule in the fifth inning with a score of 10-0.

What happened?

Following a quick and scoreless first inning, the second inning featured the Wildcats’ first run of the game – a home run by the first batter up. The Tar Heels could not answer and went six-up, six-down through two innings.

Arizona got hot in the third inning, recording two runs to make the score 3-0. The Wildcats only got hotter in the fourth inning, scoring seven more runs to make the score 10-0. UNC could not get anything going in the fourth or fifth innings, which resulted in the mercy rule victory for the Wildcats.

When was it decided?

The game was seemingly decided when the Wildcats got their first run of the game. At that point Arizona’s prowess was evident, and it was clear the Tar Heels were no match for the squad in the eventual blowout.


Following the loss to Arizona, UNC faced a less formidable opponent in Liberty (10-4). The game went into extra innings, but the earlier loss seemed to drain the Tar Heels. The Flames snatched the victory in the ninth inning and won by a score of 3-2.

What happened?

After three uneventful innings, UNC got its first run of the tournament off the bat of designated hitter Destiny DeBerry. DeBerry reached on an infield single to plate a run. North Carolina held onto its one-run lead until the bottom of the seventh, when Liberty took advantage of a UNC error to tie the score at one apiece.

In the eighth inning, UNC went up 2-1 on a sacrifice fly from second baseman Sierra Parkinson. In the bottom of the inning, the Flames took advantage of a North Carolina miscue yet again – this time on the wild pitch – tying the score, 2-2.

UNC could not get anything going in the ninth inning offensively, so Liberty took to the plate to try to win the game in the bottom half of the inning. In what became a trend late in the game, the Flames scored the game-winning run off the third Tar Heel error of the game. 

When was it decided?

Unlike the first game, this one went down to the wire. In the end, the game was ultimately decided by three UNC errors – all of which led to runs, and the final one sealed the deal for Liberty.


After a tough two games on Thursday, the Tar Heels tried to flip the script on Friday, first taking on Missouri (10-7). Unfortunately for UNC, this game ended much like the first one the day before – with a mercy rule.

What happened?

The first at-bat of the game resulted in a home run for the Tigers, quickly making the score 1-0. Later in the inning, Missouri made the score 3-0 off a two-run double.

The Tigers scored two more in the second to make the score 5-0. Then, after a quiet third inning, Missouri tallied on four more runs in the fourth, which eventually led to the mercy rule at the conclusion of the fifth inning.

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When was it decided?

The first inning ended up being the deciding factor in the game. Following a cold hitting day for UNC on Thursday, the team was unable to heat up at all in this contest. The three-run first inning likely would have been enough for the victory, but they tacked on six additional runs for added security.


After a disappointing loss to Missouri, the Tar Heels looked to turn thing around against No. 19 California (13-1). This game was much closer than the previous one, but UNC couldn’t get the win, recording its fourth loss of the weekend.

What happened?

Following a score for the Golden Bears in the first inning, the Tar Heels had their best inning of the weekend in the second. Following a quick three outs for Cal, in the bottom of the inning sophomore Brittany Pickett hammered a three-run home run, making the score 3-1 – the team's largest lead of the weekend.

The game then stalled a bit, but then in the sixth inning that all changed. The Golden Bears recorded a three-run home run of their own to take a 4-3 lead. The Tar Heels tried to even it up, but to no avail. The game ended with six straight outs, putting an end to UNC’s comeback effort. This loss marked UNC’s fourth straight of the weekend.

When was it decided?

Like the game against Liberty, this one went down to the wire. Following the Golden Bears taking the one-run lead in the top of the sixth inning, the Tar Heels had six outs to try to tie it up. In the two innings, UNC was not able to get a single runner on base and fell 4-3.


The final game of the weekend for North Carolina was arguably against its hardest opponent – two-time reigning national champion No. 4 Oklahoma (9-2). UNC fell for the fifth straight time, this time by a score of 3-1.

What happened?

The Sooners scored in the bottom of the first inning, then the Tar Heels kept them quiet until the fifth inning. Oklahoma added two runs in the fifth, making the score 3-0.

After a quiet sixth inning, it all came down to the seventh and final frame for UNC. Redshirt first-year right fielder Kristina Burkhardt – the first batter up – homered to right center field to give the Tar Heels their first run of the game. Unfortunately for UNC, no one else was able to get on the board and the game ended in a 3-1 Sooners win.

When was it decided?

Like the game against California, this one came down to the final two innings. This time, though, the Tar Heels needed to overcome a three-run deficit.

It all came down to the seventh inning for the Tar Heels to try to tie or win it. Burkhardt’s home run decreased the deficit to two, but no one else was able to score as UNC fell for a fifth straight time.


Who stood out?

Although no Tar Heel had a stand-out weekend, Burkhardt’s first career home run gave her the edge above her teammates. After redshirting last year due to a wrist injury, she recorded the home run nearly a year to the date after suffering the injury that forced her to sit out the rest of the season.

She also produced hits against Liberty and Missouri and had another hit in addition to her home run against the Sooners. Following a promising start to last season before her injury, she’s off to a good start this season, which is certainly a good sign for the Tar Heels.

Why does it matter?

The Tar Heels are on an eight-game losing skid. The last time UNC lost eight games in a row was in 1997, when the team finished the season with a 21-34 record.

Where do they play next?

After a six-game road stint, the Tar Heels will be back in action in Chapel Hill on Wednesday against Hampton University at Anderson Stadium at 4 p.m.


@DTHSports |