If the Tar Heels were hot in the second, then they were scorching in the third. Four batters in, Burkhardt recorded yet another two-run double, giving UNC a 4-2 lead. Following a fielder’s choice a few batters later that tallied another UNC run, senior Taylor Wike doubled to left-center field, scoring two more batters to make it 7-2.
The game then went quiet for three innings. In the bottom of the sixth, Notre Dame started to mount a comeback, starting with a solo home run. The Irish then tallied on another run, making the score 7-4 headed to the top of the seventh.
After a few quick at-bats for the Tar Heels, the game went to the bottom of the seventh. Following an Irish single, the Tar Heels secured three straight outs, giving them the 7-4 victory.
When was it decided?
The five-run third inning for UNC seemed to be the difference maker in the contest. Following a two-run first inning for Notre Dame, the Irish then went quiet, and it seemed as if the North Carolina victory was imminent after going up 7-2. Although Notre Dame tried to mount a comeback, it was clear the five-run deficit was too much to overcome.
On Saturday, the Tar Heels and Fighting Irish faced off in cold and windy conditions. In the bottom of the first, Notre Dame hit two straight doubles, making the score 1-0. UNC managed to escape the inning despite hot hitting, but not before the Fighting Irish tacked on another run to increase their lead to two.
The top of the second was similar to the first – the Tar Heels managed to get on base, but no one could run them home. In the bottom of the second, Notre Dame added another run with bases loaded off a UNC error.
In similar fashion, UNC couldn’t get anything going in the top of the third inning, so the Fighting Irish took to the plate. The Tar Heels committed two straight errors, which allowed Notre Dame to get another run on the board, making the score 4-0.
In the top of the fourth, the luck of the Irish fell onto the Tar Heels for a bit. With bases loaded, junior Kiani Ramsey scored on a wild pitch, making the score 4-1. But the luck quickly went back to the Fighting Irish, as more Tar Heel errors translated to more Notre Dame runs – three to be exact.
Following a quiet fifth inning for both teams, the game headed to the sixth. The Fighting Irish reached base on yet another fielding error by UNC. Notre Dame then homered, tacking on two more runs and ending the game by mercy rule.
When was it decided?
The Fighting Irish victory appeared evident in the bottom of the third inning. When Notre Dame went up by four runs, it seemed very unlikely that the Tar Heels would bounce back, given the fact that they had already committed multiple errors and weren’t able to get much going offensively.
The series came down to the Sunday contest. Much unlike the previous two games, the final game was all defense, and it came down to the final inning. The first six innings featured nine strikeouts between the two opposing pitchers – five of which belonged to sophomore Brittany Pickett.
In the top of seventh inning, junior Berlynne Delamora singled to left field, then advanced to second on a Notre Dame throwing error. The error sent Ramsey home, who scored what turned out to be the game-winning run.
In the bottom of the seventh, Pickett sealed the deal with her sixth strikeout of the game – giving the Tar Heels the series win.
When was it decided?
The final game went down to the wire, and the Tar Heels delivered. In the bottom of the seventh, the UNC win wasn’t a done deal until the final out.
Notre Dame doubled in its first at bat, which threatened the one-run Tar Heel lead. The same runner then advanced to third on the sacrifice bunt, giving Notre Dame a runner in scoring position with only one out. The next batter up grounded out, which meant the game came down to one more at bat. Pickett delivered with the strikeout, giving the Tar Heels the narrow 1-0 victory.
Who stood out?
Pickett’s great pitching in the final game of the series was the impact performance of the weekend. She matched and upped Notre Dame’s pitcher, keeping the Fighting Irish off the board. Also, along with six strikeouts, Pickett only allowed five hits. This game marked the fifth shutout Pickett has thrown.
Why does it matter?
This road ACC series win is the Tar Heels’ first of the season. UNC will have three more this season, the next one coming over Easter weekend.
Where do they play next?
The Tar Heels will head to Rock Hill, South Carolina later this week to compete against Winthrop in a Wednesday night matchup at 6 p.m.
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