Teammates danced around first-year Hannah George to the alma mater as she celebrated leading the North Carolina softball team to its first mercy rule win of the season.
The Tar Heels beat UNC Charlotte, 9-0, in five innings on Tuesday evening to pick up their third shutout of the season. George toppled her previous career high with seven RBIs and tied the UNC (9-8) record for most RBIs in a single game.
“It was a good day, a really good day today,” George said. “It’s another day at the ball field, and I’m really grateful to be here so just taking that and having a positive mindset.”
George went 3-3 at the plate, beginning the game with her first career grand slam and finishing with her third home run this season. George’s grand slam was just the second grand slam for the Tar Heels this season, the other hit by fellow first-year Kiersten Licea.
“There’s always time for someone to come out and have their day, and today was Hannah George's day,” head coach Donna Papa said.
On the mound, George threw her second complete game for the Tar Heels, just three days after her first against Florida Atlantic. Before each pitch, George drew a cross in the dirt behind her. George said this gesture of her faith calms her before she throws.
“It reminds before every single pitch that it’s OK, that I have Jesus by my side and that with every pitch I can do it,” George said. “He has given me the ability to play ball so it’s just a reminder to not take it for granted.”
In the absence of junior powerhouse pitcher Brittany Pickett, George stepped up and controlled the game until the last strikeout. Papa said Pickett’s injury has had a silver lining because the Tar Heels have gotten to see players like George emerge. Without Pickett to close, it’s on their shoulders.
“It is huge to watch Hannah have a day like she did today,” senior Leah Murray said. “With Brittany out too, it’s really cool to see one of our freshmen step up and score.”