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The Daily Tar Heel

UNC softball falls 9-1 to No. 15 Oregon in the Carolina Classic

Junior infielder Katie Perkins (11) snags the ball out of the air during a game against Penn State. The Heels lost 0-12 on Friday, March 4, 2022.

In Day 2 of the Carolina Classic, the North Carolina softball team (10-9) was blitzed by the No. 15 Oregon Ducks (14-3), 9-1, on Saturday afternoon at Anderson Stadium. 

What happened?

The Ducks got on the board early, when leadoff hitter Allee Bunker’s hit rocketed over the centerfield wall. Just two batters later, Vallery Wong’s two-out home run extended the Ducks lead to 2-0. 

Despite an Oregon error that allowed sophomore Syler Brooks to reach first, a failed stolen base by the Tar Heels eliminated any hope of cutting into the early deficit.

After a rough start, first-year pitcher Lilli Backes’ three-up, three-down second inning provided a spark to the Tar Heel bats. 

Taylor Greene’s leadoff double put UNC in great position to get on the board. Yet, Oregon’s stout defense prevailed, as senior Kiersten Licea’s strikeout ended the second inning.

The Ducks broke through in the top of the third inning when KK Humphreys’ center field double brought home an Oregon run. The proceeding batter was hit by a pitch and ended Backes’ day for North Carolina.

Hannah George came to the pitcher's circle hoping to get the Tar Heels out of a jam with the bases loaded. The pressure loomed too large for the senior pitcher, as a walk and wild pitch brought two more runs home. However, the scoring attack wasn’t over as a sacrifice groundout brought one final run in for the Ducks and increased their lead to 6-0.

UNC’s offense continued to struggle in the third inning, as junior Brianna Stubbs’ one-out single was the only hit registered by the Tar Heels. 

George settled in during the fourth inning, as three consecutive fly-outs helped keep Oregon from expanding its lead. 

The Tar Heels got on the board behind the bat of Greene whose home-run blasted over the left field wall. Unfortunately, this proved to be the only run for North Carolina, as a double play ended the UNC push. 

Oregon’s bats continued to click in the fifth inning. Ariel Carlson’s moonshot soared over the center-wall trees and marked the third home run for Oregon.

With the deficit now sitting at 9-1, the Tar Heels had quick work to do in the fifth to avoid getting mercy ruled. But, Oregon made short work of North Carolina’s first three hitters, with their at bats all resulting in outs to conclude the contest.

Who stood out? 

Greene’s home run was the only point scored for the Tar Heels. The solo-shot was the first of the season for the transfer from Arkansas who's looking to regain her prowess as a power hitter.

As for Oregon, their sluggers lead the way with three home runs. In particular, Wong’s bat continues to be scorching hot, as the junior from Sacramento’s home run marked her fourth of the weekend.

When was it decided?

The Duck’s four-run third inning blew the game open. Engineered by the power hitting of Humphreys and pitching struggles of George, Oregon seemed to never look back from this moment. 

Moreover, the fifth inning proved to put the game out of reach for North Carolina, as Carlson’s two-run bomb catapulted the lead to eight, helping Oregon win by mercy rule.

Why does it matter?

The blowout defeat continues North Carolina’s losing streak as they’ve now lost five of their last seven games. In addition, the Tar Heels continue to struggle against stiff competition, as their record dropped to 0-5 against ranked opponents. 

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With ACC play just a week away, UNC will look to get back to its winning ways in its Sunday doubleheader to wrap up the Carolina Classic.

When do they play next?

The Tar Heels will conclude the weekend playing on Sunday, March 6. The first of two games is scheduled against UConn with first pitch coming at 12:30 p.m.  

@dthsports |