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UNC softball swept in three-game UNCG tournament this weekend


UNC softball sophomore Hannah George (42) gets ready to pitch the ball during the last game of the ACC Big 10 Challenge versus Wisconsin on Sunday, Feb. 16, 2020. UNC lost 8-3.

The North Carolina softball team competed in the weekend-long UNC Greensboro tournament and was defeated in all three games it played, losing to Purdue, Fairfield and UNCG by a combined 13 runs.

What happened?

After a Friday game with Purdue was cancelled due to weather, Saturday pitted North Carolina against the Boilermakers. In what was a pitcher’s duel, North Carolina was on the wrong end of a 1-0 shutout. 

Purdue scored in the bottom of the sixth with an RBI single, while the Tar Heels failed to generate a run. Despite the loss, sophomore Hannah George had a solid game for the Tar Heels with six innings pitched, one earned run, three strikeouts and a walk.  

Later that same afternoon, North Carolina went up Fairfield. In the first inning, the Stags jumped out to a 1-0 lead, but North Carolina took a 2-1 advantage in the bottom of the second thanks to a double from junior Zoe Goodman. 

The lead disappeared when Fairfield notched another run to tie the game in the top of the third and scored twice in the top of the fourth to go up 4-2. From there, the deficit ballooned to six as Fairfield scored four runs on five hits and a North Carolina error in the top of the fifth to make it 8-2. 

In the top of the seventh, Fairfield scored another three for a hefty 11-2 lead, which was the eventual final.

In the finale on Sunday, North Carolina scored three in the top of the third inning against UNCG thanks to a two-run homer from senior Campbell Hutcherson and a solo home run from sophomore Lexi Godwin. 

UNCG scored a run in the bottom of the fourth and added three more — on three straight solo homers — in the fifth to take a 4-3 lead. Hutcherson responded with a double to send in another two runs to retake a one-run lead. 

In the bottom of the sixth with a 2-2 count, though, UNCG hit a grand slam to shift momentum and take a three-run lead. North Carolina couldn’t respond in the top of the seventh inning and fell in heartbreaking fashion, 8-5.

Who stood out?

George pitched an impressive game one and kept the Tar Heels in it, while Godwin had a 2-3 day at the plate despite the loss.  

Sophomore Abby Settlemyre went 3-4 with a double and two runs scored in the finale against UNCG, while Hutcherson went 2-4 with four RBIs.

When was it decided?

The first game against Purdue was tied at zero until the bottom of the sixth when Purdue finally broke through. North Carolina batted in the top of the seventh but was unable to tie the game up and suffered a 1-0 loss. 

Against Fairfield, at the top of the fourth inning North Carolina was only down 4-2. But the fifth inning proved disastrous for UNC as Fairfield scored four runs and pushed their lead to 8-2, and another three in the top of the seventh to make it 11-2.

Why does it matter?

Head coach Donna J. Papa said her team wasn't consistent in some respects, but believes it made strides toward getting better. She felt the team had a chance to come away with a perfect 3-0 weekend.

“Very disappointing, because we went into that tournament knowing the competition — definitely I felt like we would come out of there 3-0, and we came out 0-3,” Papa said. "That’s just not something I’m used to and our program is used to, and we have to get better.”

When do they play next?

UNC hosts Elon on Wednesday at 4 p.m. 

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