The North Carolina softball team (23-13, 11-4 ACC) mercy-ruled Coastal Carolina (29-11) on Tuesday, winning 9-0 for its fourth mercy rule victory in the last four days.
After back-to-back successful ACC series in the past two weeks against Virginia and Pittsburgh, UNC played its fourth straight home game against Coastal Carolina on Tuesday. The Tar Heels, with a combination of strong hitting and steady pitching, shut-out the Chanticleers at home in Anderson Stadium in just five innings.
In the bottom of the first, senior Kiani Ramsey crushed the first hit of the day, doubling down the left field line. Then sophomore Megan Dray walked, and with two Tar Heels on base, junior Brittany Pickett went deep for a home run, driving in three runs and giving UNC an early 3-0 lead.
The second inning proved to be equally smooth for the Tar Heels. After walking one batter, Pickett struck out the side with ease.
The bottom of the second was another hot inning for UNC. The Tar Heels manufactured their first run of the inning when first-year Abby Settlemyre singled, stole second, and advanced to third on a throwing error. She then scored on a ground out from junior Campbell Hutcherson, who was the next batter.
But before the Chanticleers could leave the field, seniors Destiny DeBerry and Leah Murray both singled. With two on base, redshirt sophomore Kristina Burkhardt homered to center field and put the Tar Heels ahead 7-0 early.
Coastal Carolina was held hitless until the top of the third inning, but it proved to be meaningless. UNC quickly got two hitters on base in the bottom of the third. The Chanticleers walked Pickett and senior Berlynne Delamora singled. The two runners scored on a two-run double from Hutcherson. These were the final runs scored.
In the bottom of the fifth, the Tar Heels wrapped up the game with a crisp double play in the field, beating Coastal Carolina 9-0.
Who stood out?
As a whole, UNC shined offensively; the team outhit the Chanticleers 9-2, consistently building off the momentum of the previous hitters.
Burkhardt and Pickett stole the show, each hitting their third homer of the season. It was also announced Tuesday afternoon that Pickett was named ACC Co-Pitcher of the week for third time this season and seventh time in her North Carolina pitching career.
When was it decided?
The Tar Heels started out strong and never looked back. They jumped to an early lead and did not let up, scoring all nine runs in the first inning. As they piled on the runs, Coastal Carolina was left in the dust.
Why does it matter?
Tuesday’s game marked the fourth-straight mercy-rule win for UNC, after three 8-0 five-inning victories against the Cavaliers last weekend. The Tar Heels are on a hot streak, and there is no better time to be playing so well than before facing Florida State, the third-ranked softball team nationally, coming up next weekend.
Over the last four games the Tar Heels have put up 33 runs on 41 hits, while giving up just an average of two hits per game to their opponents. With tougher competition ahead, that kind of impressive play bodes well for the team's confidence.
When do they play next?
Before the ACC series against Florida State, UNC is back at Anderson Stadium to take on Liberty on Wednesday, April 10th at 6 pm.
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