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The Daily Tar Heel

UNC softball handles N.C. State, advances to ACC Championship

Brittany Pickett UNC v FSU
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 (35-17, 17-7 ACC) tamed the North Carolina State Wolfpack (31-27, 9-15 ACC) behind a five-run rally in the fifth inning and a complete game gem from junior pitcher Brittany Pickett. With the victory, the fourth-seeded Tar Heels will play for the ACC Championship on Saturday.

What happened?

The Tar Heels drew first blood in the bottom of the first, when a sacrifice fly from senior Kiani Ramsey allowed redshirt sophomore Kristina Burkhardt to score. The Wolfpack soon responded with a run of their own in the top of the second. In the top of the third, Pickett would strike out the side, giving her seven strikeouts in just three innings. 

The score remained tied 1-1 until the bottom of the fourth, when North Carolina broke out into a five-run rally and batted around. The rally started thanks to a one-out home run from sophomore Zoe Goodman to give the Tar Heels a 4-1 advantage. UNC would add two more runs thanks to a single from senior Leah Murray and a sacrifice fly from Burkhardt. 

With a 6-1 lead now in hand, Pickett shut out the Wolfpack the rest of the way to cruise to the ACC Championship Game.

Who stood out?

Pickett handled the Wolfpack the entire game, as she surrendered one run and just three hits and struck out 13. The win improved her record on the year to 21-11, with a 1.99 ERA. 

Two Tar Heels starred at the plate as well. Ramsey had a perfect 3-for-3 day at the plate with one RBI, while Murray went 2-for-3 with an RBI and a walk. 

When was it decided?

The score was deadlocked at one run apiece in the bottom of the fourth before the Tar Heels exploded for a five-run rally to make it 6-1. With the suddenly large cushion, and Pickett pitching a gem in the circle, it was enough for the Tar Heels to seal the victory.

Why does it matter?

With the victory, the Tar Heels advanced to their sixth ACC Championship Game in program history.

UNC had nine stolen bases, a single game record, with Murray, Ramsey and junior Tainasha Vines each posting two stolen bases. The Tar Heels now have 117 stolen bases on the season, a new team record, and Murray now holds the program record for steals with 103. 

When do they play next?

The Tar Heels will face Florida State in the ACC Championship Game on Saturday at noon in Tallahassee, Fl. In Chapel Hill earlier this season, North Carolina won two of three games against the Seminoles to take the season series from April 14-15. 


@DTHSports |

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