Brittany Pickett once again proved why she is the North Carolina softball team's most valuable player, leading the Tar Heels (26-21, 13-5 ACC) to a 4-3 victory over East Carolina.
With the game tied 3-3 in the bottom of the sixth inning, Pickett stepped into the batter’s box with an 0-2 count. After striking out in her previous two at-bats, she was facing the possibility of a three-strikeout night.
Pickett watched the next two pitches go by for balls, evening the count at 2-2. On the next pitch, she launched a home run to dead-center field, giving UNC the decisive 4-3 lead. It was the game-winning run.
The Indian Trail, N.C., native put on a show against the Pirates on offense and on the rubber. She pitched a complete game while holding ECU to only three runs and striking out five.
“Brittany Pickett, she came through,” associate head coach Mary Jo Firnbach said. “She’s just been a workhorse. She’s steady. She’s confident. She gives us a chance to win every time she’s on the mound, and that’s our philosophy throughout the rest of the season.”
In the victory over ECU, Pickett delivered her fourth complete game in her last six starts. She has been heavily relied on by the Tar Heels in 2018 as the team’s primary pitcher. As a result, she leads all ACC pitchers with 249 innings pitched and has the second most wins in NCAA softball this season with 24 — one behind Michigan pitcher Meghan Beaubien.
“I think I’m used to it,” Pickett said. “I really think that the first part of the season helped me build to where I am now.”
Pickett is undoubtedly the most-used pitcher on the team. All other Tar Heel pitchers have combined to pitch just 69.2 innings on the season.
While Pickett has become accustomed to pitching such a large workload, she credits her off-season training for preparing her.