The North Carolina softball team (16-10, 6-1 ACC) took down Georgia Tech (20-12, 3-4 ACC) on Friday, 4-1.
After a 2-0 loss to No. 5 Tennessee on Wednesday, the Tar Heels turned their luck around and won the first of three games in the series against the Yellow Jackets.
The game began as a defensive struggle, with both UNC and Georgia Tech unable to drive in any runs in the early innings. The game remained scoreless until the bottom of the third inning, when UNC scored on a passed ball — which started a four-run flurry. Singles by junior Campbell Hutcherson and senior Destiny DeBerry helped set the table, giving the Tar Heels a 1-0 lead on that error.
UNC was not finished, however, when sophomore Megan Dray tripled to right field two batters later with the bases loaded. Her big hit drove in three runs and gave the Tar Heels a convincing 4-0 lead over the Yellow Jackets going into the fourth inning.
Both UNC and Georgia Tech’s bats were then quieted until the top of the seventh, when the Yellow Jackets put themselves on the board with a solo home run to right center. But this was not enough to sway the game, and the final score was 4-1 for the Tar Heels.
After that big third inning, UNC had three more hits for the game, but runner did not get any closer to scoring than second base. Stellar pitching the rest of the way ensured the team didn't have to.
Who stood out?
Dray and junior pitcher Brittany Pickett made the difference for North Carolina in Friday’s game. Pickett, after being named ACC Co-Pitcher of the week, pitched a complete game against Georgia Tech, giving up only one run and helping UNC get out of the field efficiently every inning.
Pickett gave up five hits, one walk and struck out six in 26 batters faced. In the victory, she won her ninth contest of the year.
Dray’s three-RBI smash in the bottom of the third, her only hit of the day, blew the game open. She said that she was happy to build off her teammates' efforts earlier in the inning.
“I was just really excited to be able to score some more runners in that inning,” Dray said.
When was it decided?
Dray’s triple turned the tide of the game, handing UNC a lead it would never relinquish, and giving the Tar Heels some confidence heading into the weekend.
Why does it matter?
UNC proved to rebound from its loss against Tennessee in game one of an ACC series. Friday’s win marked a promising beginning in the series against Georgia Tech, and the North Carolina softball team will hope to add to this momentum Saturday and Sunday. The win also improved the team to a 6-1 mark in the conference.
When do they play next?
The Tar Heels are back at Anderson Stadium to face the Yellow Jackets again on Saturday, March 23 at 1 pm.
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