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UNC softball loses four in five-game Mary Nutter Collegiate Classic weekend

Abby Settlemyre Northwestern
Abby Settlemyre (29) slides into third base at a game against Northwestern on Friday, Feb. 15, 2019 at Anderson Stadium.

The North Carolina softball team (6-6) faced stiff competition this weekend, going 1-4 in the Mary Nutter Collegiate Classic.

Game 1: No. 20 Oklahoma State 7, UNC 5

Hot off a successful tournament last weekend, the Tar Heels aimed to maintain their momentum out in Cathedral City, Ca. On Thursday afternoon, UNC began by facing No. 20 Oklahoma State (10-5). 

OSU wasted no time setting the tone with a home run in the top of the first. The Cowgirls then drove in two more runs in the top of the second, bringing their lead up to 3-0. 

The Tar Heels scored their first run in the bottom of the third, aided by hits from sophomore Megan Dray, senior Leah Murray and senior Kiani Ramsey. The single by Ramsey brought home a single run before the Cowgirls got out of a bases loaded jam. 

Oklahoma State scored another run in the top of the fifth, followed by two homers in the sixth. In the bottom of the sixth inning, UNC responded with three runs, but still trained, 6-4. 

Both teams scored their final runs in the seventh. UNC scored its final run by way of singles from redshirt sophomore Kristina Burkhardt and senior Berlynne Delamora. 

However, the run was not enough to come all the way back. UNC fell by two runs.

Game 2: Kentucky 1, UNC 0

In the second game of Thursday’s doubleheader, the Tar Heels faced No. 16 Kentucky (7-6) in a game that ended up being halted in the fifth inning.

The first inning featured no runs or hits from either team. In the bottom of the second, the Wildcats scored a run on a double to left field. The third and fourth innings flew by, with both North Carolina and Kentucky retiring the other’s sides in order. 

In the top of the fifth, first-year Abby Settlemyre doubled down the right field line, but was left stranded on third base. With two outs and one Wildcat on base, the game ended in the bottom of the fifth inning. Because Kentucky was the home team and led by the fifth inning, the team was declared the winner.

Head coach Donna Papa said by the rules of the tournament it was a halted game, but that the officials did not make effort to have the remainder played on Saturday morning.  

“We have to take it on the chin with the loss which is really frustrating,” Papa said.

Game 3: UNC 7, Utah 2

On Friday night, UNC played another doubleheader. The team took on Utah (5-9) first and won its only game of the weekend. 

In the top of the fourth, first-year Hannah George doubled, driving in pinch runner Shayla Thompson for the first run of the day. The Tar Heels added two more runs in the top of the fifth to command a 3-0 lead.

In the bottom of the fifth, Utah brought in its only two runs of the game, cutting the lead to 3-2. From there, the Tar Heels extended their lead by four in the seventh inning. 

Ramsey singled and then scored by way of a triple from Settlemyre to left center, then Settlemyre scored on a sacrifice fly. George doubled to centerfield to bring in junior Hailey Cole and Delamora.

With combined efforts from pitchers George and junior Brittany Pickett, the Tar Heels gave up only two runs on seven hits against the Utes, securing their first and final win of the weekend.

Game 4: New Mexico State 6, UNC 2

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In the second game on Friday, UNC came up short once again, losing to New Mexico State (8-3). New Mexico State got on the board first, but the Tar Heels quickly tied it up 1-1 in the second inning.

In the top of the third, DeBerry singled and scored on a hit from Settlemyre, as UNC took the lead 2-1. Things were looking good for the Tar Heels as they gave up no more runs through the fifth inning. 

But in the bottom of the sixth, the Aggies exploded, scoring five runs and changing the course of the game. UNC could not score again, and lost 6-2.

“We really haven’t had the wheels fall off in an inning like we did last night,” Papa said. “They always say hitting is contagious, sometimes defense like that can be contagious, and not in a good way.”  

Papa said it was a “breakdown in communication,” that led to UNC being on the other side of victory in the game.

Game 5: Long Beach State 8, UNC 4 

On Saturday morning, the Tar Heels faced one last opponent, Long Beach State (6-7). Maintaining her hot bat this weekend, Settlemyre singled in the bottom of the first and Murray scored. From here, both offenses were quiet until the fourth.

Then, Long Beach State smashed a three-run homer to left field, taking the lead, 3-1. But the Tar Heels were quick to answer back with a three-run blast of their own. Dray sent her bomb to center field, scoring Settlemyre and Thompson, and regaining the lead 4-3. This was the last UNC was heard from in the tournament.

Long Beach State piled on three more runs in the top of the sixth, and still two more in the top of the seventh to clinch the win. 

After four losses on the weekend, the Tar Heels look forward to being back in Chapel Hill, taking on Elon on Wednesday, Feb. 27th at 4 p.m. at home.  

"We’ll get the opportunity to have some fun and take care of our home field," Papa said. "We don’t want to let anybody beat us at home.”


@DTHSports |