The North Carolina softball team (3-3) split its doubleheader on Friday, beating No. 17 Michigan 8-3 but falling to Northwestern, 9-3.
UNC played back-to-back games as part of the ACC/Big Ten Challenge, taking down Michigan thanks to a grand slam that put the Tar Heels over the edge in what started as a low scoring tangle. As night set in at Anderson Stadium and the lights came up for the second game, the Tar Heels were overwhelmed from start to finish by Northwestern’s sluggers.
Game 1: UNC 8, Michigan 3
The Tar Heels and the Wolverines stayed neck-and-neck through the first two innings, as both teams were unable to score in the first inning. But each loaded the bases and brought one runner home in the second.
The game remained a defensive struggle at 1-1 until the bottom of the fourth inning when first-year Abby Settlemyre drilled the ball over the right field wall. This two-run homer drove in senior Berlynne Delamora as well, who had reached base on a walk, and gave UNC a 3-1 lead going into the top of the fifth inning.
The Wolverines answered with a two-run blast of their own in the top of the fifth inning, tying the game at 3-3. But UNC did not back down, with senior Kiani Ramsey hitting a line drive double just inside the foul line. Shortly after, redshirt sophomore Kristina Burkhardt grounded out, allowing senior Leah Murray to score on the play, and giving the Tar Heels the lead at 4-3.
But UNC did not stop there. First-year Kiersten Licea broke the game open with a grand slam to centerfield, putting the Tar Heels up 8-3. Neither team scored again after this smash hit from Licea.