The North Carolina softball team (20-13, 9-4 ACC) defeated Virginia (16-19, 5-8) on Saturday, 8-0, after piling on four runs in the fifth inning to put the game away by mercy rule.
The game remained scoreless until the bottom of second inning, when UNC scored the first run of the game.
Campbell Hutcherson hit a double to left center field for only the third hit of the game that scored first-year Shayla Thompson that inning. The Tar Heels created another opportunity to score later that same inning as a single by Leah Murray brought Hutcherson in to put UNC up by two.
Junior Brittany Pickett continued to hold the Cavaliers scoreless in the third inning, as the Tar Heels put up two more runs to give her a comfortable lead. The first came from a solo shot home run from sophomore Megan Dray to left centerfield. The second was scored by first-year Lexi Godwin on a single to left centerfield by senior Berlynne Delamora.
With the bases loaded and two outs in the bottom of the fifth inning, UNC extended its lead to six. Sophomore Zoë Goodman drove in two on a single to right field, while senior Kiani Ramsey doubled to center field to score the final two runs of the game. The Tar Heels scored eight runs while shutting out Virginia.
Who stood out?
Pickett threw one of her best games of the season from the mound. She struck out six batters, while walking one and giving up just two hits. Her five scoreless innings was just as crucial to the victory as the eight runs her teammates put up on 14 hits.
From the plate, Delamora went 3-for-3 on the day, and driving in one run, while her teammates Goodman and Ramsey drove in a pair of runs each.
When was it decided?
The game was decided in the bottom, as the Tar Heels piled on four more runs to put the game completely out of reach. The total was good enough to mercy rule Virginia in five innings, ending the first of three games through offensive firepower.
Why does it matter?
The shut out victory was part of a confidence-building start to the weekend for the Tar Heels. With Pickett pitching well and a host of players contributing from the plate, plenty of players saw action — which is good for the depth of the team moving forward.
The victory can only prove positive for a program that will enter the postseason later this month.
When do they play next?
UNC continued its series against UVA on Sunday with a doubleheader.
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