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Thursday December 2nd

North Carolina softball upsets No. 21 Virginia Tech, earns fifth ACC series win

UNC junior pitcher Brittany Pickett (28) winds up for a pitch during a double header against the FSU Seminoles at G. Anderson Softball Stadium on Monday, April 15, 2019. The Tar Heels beat the Seminoles in both games.
Buy Photos UNC junior pitcher Brittany Pickett (28) winds up for a pitch during a double header against the FSU Seminoles at G. Anderson Softball Stadium on Monday, April 15, 2019. The Tar Heels beat the Seminoles in both games.

The North Carolina softball team upset No. 21 Virginia Tech in an ACC Coastal series this weekend. The Tar Heels took the first and third games to claim the series win. 

What happened?

The Tar Heels (29-15, 15-6 ACC) opened the series with a 3-0 win on Saturday afternoon against Virginia Tech (40-8, 17-4 ACC). In the first inning, junior pitcher Brittany Pickett struck out two batters. After a scoreless first three innings, first-year Lexi Godwin plated a RBI single with the bases loaded in the fourth inning to put the Tar Heels on the scoreboard. In the fifth inning, senior Leah Murray hit a single and stole second before senior Kiani Ramsey hit a RBI single up the middle for two insurance runs to give North Carolina a 3-0 lead. With no runs in the last two innings, the score was finalized at 3-0. 

On Sunday, the Tar Heels played in a double header and won the series finale despite losing to the Hokies in the first game. In the first game of the day, Virginia Tech got on the scoreboard early with a two-run shot from Emma Strouth in the first inning. The Hokies chalked up two more  runs off of RBI singles from Maddi Banks and Kelsey Bennett in the second and third innings. In the fifth inning, Murray hit a single and stole second base to earn her 100th career stolen base. However, the efforts by Murray were not enough as the Tar Heels went scoreless. Virginia Tech put another on the board in the fifth inning to finalize the score, 5-0. 

The Tar Heels bounced back from the loss to secure the series finale in game three. After another scoreless first three innings, North Carolina exploded in the fourth inning with seven runs on eight hits. Murray kicked off the inning with a single to center before Ramsey hit a triple to center to score her. 

Pickett hit her sixth home run of the season to clear the bases and give the Tar Heels a 4-0 lead. Sophomore Zoë Goodman and Godwin both hit doubles down the left field line to give the Tar Heels three more runs in the fourth. The Hokies countered with four runs of their own in the fourth inning. North Carolina responded with a run in the fifth to make the game 8-4. First-year  pitcher Hannah George shut down her final six batters to end the game with a pair of strikeouts and finalize the victory for the Tar Heels. 

Who stood out?

Murray was a consistent leader for the Tar Heels. In Saturday’s game, Murray scored one hit and one run for the Tar Heels. During Sunday’s double header, Murray scored three hits and one run, totaling four hits and two runs for the series. 

According to head coach Donna Papa, the pitchers were big this weekend. On Saturday, Pickett struck out six batters. Not only did Pickett perform as a pitcher, but she performed at bat with two RBIs and one run in the series finale. Meanwhile, George earned the win on the mound in game three. 

Why does it matter?

After Sunday’s win, the Tar Heels total eight top-25 wins. Additionally, this is North Carolina’s fifth ACC series win this season.

When do they play next?

The Tar Heels play non-conference foe UNC-Wilmington on Tuesday in Chapel Hill at 6 p.m.

@savannahbhunt

@DTHSports | sports@dailytarheel.com

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