The North Carolina softball team (2-0, 2-0 ACC) defeated the Boston College Eagles (2-6, 1-3 ACC) in both parts of a doubleheader on Friday, Feb. 19, starting the season off undefeated after winning the first game, 7-3, and the second, 11-2, resulting in a mercy rule ending after six innings.
Kiersten Licea set the pace for the winning game early by hitting a home run in the first inning and bringing Brittany Pickett and Kristina Burkhardt in to score.
The second inning was somewhat uneventful, as neither the Tar Heels nor the Eagles scored any runs, but this quickly changed in the top of the third inning when Boston College's Maddy Carpe scored the first run for her team.
With UNC leading the game at 3-1, anything was possible up until the bottom of the fourth inning, when the Tar Heels began to seal their 11-2 win.
Starting the inning off strong, Campbell Hutcherson stepped to the plate, doubling to left field. Bri Stubbs came behind her and bunted, allowing Hutcherson to advance to third. When it was Destiny Middleton’s time to bat, she singled to right field, resulting in Stubbs advancing to third and bringing in Hutcherson.
When Shayla Thompson grounded out to second base, Middleton advanced to second and Stubbs made it home, scoring the second run of the inning for the Tar Heels.
Burkhardt then singled up the middle, leading to Middleton’s advancement to third. As Pickett walked after batting, Burkhardt moved on to second, and keeping up the momentum of the game, Middleton stole home, putting the score at 6-2 for UNC.
As Burkhardt stole third and scored another run on a throwing error, Carsyn Snead kept her eye on the prize as she pinch ran for Pickett, stealing second and advancing to third. The Tar Heels' barrage of runs ended with the score at 7-2.
UNC brought home the win in an explosive sixth inning when Burkhardt started by doubling to left field. Pickett earned a walk, and Skyler Brooks pinch hit for Licea. With Brooks at first, Pickett at second and Burkhardt at third, Kayla Baptista stepped to the plate and grounded out to the pitcher but still brought Burkhardt in for an RBI.
Taylor Greene wrapped up this mercy rule win by hitting a three-run homer to center field, bringing in Brooks and Pickett to score the final runs of the game.
Who stood out?
North Carolina showcased the potential its batters can bring to the plate this year after putting up 18 runs in two games against the Eagles.
Burkhardt, Greene and Stubbs all had multi-hit games, and Greene concluded the opening day of the ACC pod with her first collegiate home run in the final inning.
When was it decided?
Though the Tar Heels were ahead the entire game, it wasn’t until their two four-run innings that the team truly secured the win.
Why does it matter?
Despite not playing against the Eagles in 2020, the Tar Heels won all three games against Boston College in 2019.
The way UNC played against the Eagles could be a preview of North Carolina's talent at the plate, not only for the rest of this tournament but the entire season as well.
When do they play next?
The Tar Heels will face the Syracuse Orange at Anderson Stadium in another doubleheader on Saturday, Feb. 20, as they attempt to continue their winning streak in the ACC Pod.
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