The North Carolina softball team (3-1, 3-1 ACC) came out on top in the second game of its double header against Syracuse (2-1, 2-1) by a score of 4-0.
The game started scoreless through the first two innings before UNC sophomore Destiny Middleton broke the tie with a home run to right field in the top of the third inning. Following an impressive performance in the bottom of the third with UNC securing three straight outs, the Tar Heels were able to get back in the batters box to keep their momentum going.
The fourth inning started with redshirt senior Kristina Burkhardt bunting to get to first base before advancing to second on a wild pitch that walked junior Kiersten Licea. Burkhardt and Licea would both advance a base on a groundout from fifth-year Brittany Pickett. Following a pitcher change by Syracuse, junior Taylor Greene would hit a ball into the outfield that ended in Burkhardt scoring. The two teams headed into the sixth with the Tar Heels up 2-0.
Burkhardt would get the next home run of the game, with a knock past the center field wall to open the sixth inning. Following a ground out, Pickett was walked before advancing to second on a wild pitch. First-year Kayla Baptista would be struck out next, but Pickett advanced to third in the process. Following a Greene flyout, Pickett would score to put the Tar Heels up 4-0. That would be the last run of the game, though, with the matchup ending after seven innings to give UNC a 4-0 victory.
Who stood out?
The Tar Heels received big performances at the plate from Middleton and Burkhardt, each of whom finished with three hits. Burkhardt added on two runs, and Middleton and Pickett each scored one run a piece.
North Carolina's shutout was led by Pickett, who finished with 12 strikeouts in seven innings pitched in a dominant performance on the mound.
When was it decided?
The Tar Heels were able to set the tone from the start, allowing only one hit in the first four innings, keeping the Orange from ever getting into a rhythm. By comparison, the Tar Heels were able to get at least one hit in every inning. This discrepancy allowed UNC to keep the pressure on Syracuse and stay in control of the game from start to finish.
Why does it matter?
Following a close loss to the Orange, UNC dropped down the ACC standings, but the Tar Heels showed their resilience in bouncing back in the afternoon for a decisive victory to tie the series at 1-1 entering Sunday's matchup.
When do they play next?
After finishing out the series against the Orange with two wins and one loss, the Tar Heels will face Troy in a double header on Friday, Feb. 26 in Tuscaloosa, Alabama.
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