After trailing 3-0 in the second inning, the UNC softball team (14-10, 2-1 ACC) scored eight unanswered runs to secure a 7-3 victory and the season series against Boston College (12-9, 1-2 ACC).
After both teams had no runs in the opening inning, the Eagles struck first in the second thanks to a home run from sophomore shortstop Djhane Valido to make the score 2-0. Boston College quickly followed that up with another home run during the next at-bat and, suddenly, UNC trailed by three.
The early Eagle spurt forced the Tar Heels to make a quick pitching change, replacing senior starter Hannah George with first-year Lilli Backes. Despite allowing a double, North Carolina was able to beat a runner to third base and one to first at the next at-bat to get out of the second inning.
A walk and a single by redshirt-sophomore utility player Kianna Jones led to a UNC run off of a Boston College error to bring the score to 3-1. The Tar Heels had a prime opportunity to take control of the matchup after another walk loaded the bases – and they converted.
Junior Lexi Godwin subbed in as a pinch hitter and she blasted a double into left field, bringing three runners to home base to grab a 4-3 advantage. The Eagles also had to pull their starting pitcher Susannah Anderson, who dominated the Tar Heels in the first matchup, so they could get out of the second inning without any more blemishes. But Boston College was in danger again when a walk and an errant pitch got the bases loaded for UNC for the second time of the inning. However, they were able to get out of it with no more runs added to the scoreboard, ending a very eventful second inning.
After a quiet third inning for both sides, North Carolina got a single, a walk and then senior catcher Taylor Greene capitalized off a base hit to get another run to make the score 5-3 in the bottom of the fourth inning. The next batter, sophomore outfielder Kiannah Pierce, doubled to center field, leading to more scores to extend the lead to four.
Each team was held scoreless in the fifth inning, but the Tar Heels increased their lead by one after a sacrifice fly. The Eagles had to come up with five runs in the seventh inning, but UNC’s defense came up big to shut them out and earn the 8-3 win.
Who stood out?
Godwin only got one at-bat but she made most of it, getting three RBIs to fuel her team’s comeback.
Backes was put in a tough situation, down multiple runs in the second inning, but the young pitcher stood strong. It was a nice bounce-back performance after a tough day on the mound Friday and a nice momentum builder for a player that was in high school a few months ago. She finished with three strikeouts and only allowed two hits.
When was it decided?
Godwin’s key double in the second inning gave the Tar Heels their first lead of the game after trailing by as much as three. The hit shifted the momentum permanently in UNC’s favor.
Why does it matter?
After the Tar Heels and Eagles split the first two games, Sunday’s game would decide who would win their first ACC series. Getting the victory gave UNC a much-needed boost entering play in a very deep and talented conference.
When do they play next?
North Carolina hosts UNC Wilmington on Tuesday, Mar. 15 at 6 p.m. for one-game matchup.
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