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The Daily Tar Heel

UNC softball picks up 4-2 win against Liberty on Wednesday

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Utility player Alex Brown (5) prepares to throw to first base during a home game against UNCW. The Heels won 2-0 on Tuesday, March 15, 2022.

The North Carolina softball team (16-10, 2-1 ACC) defeated Liberty University (14-12) on Wednesday afternoon with a 3-2 win. 

What happened?

The Tar Heels got off to a hot start with two runs at the top of the first inning. Graduate student Sarah Jubas and junior Bri Stubbs both scored. Stubbs reached base via a hit by pitch. Jubas then singled to right field as she advanced to second base and allowed Stubbs to advance to third. 

Stubbs eventually ran home after senior Taylor Greene’s sac fly to left field. Jubas scored after junior Destiny Middleton’s hit singled up the middle.

Despite a quick start and a 2-0 lead after the first inning, UNC failed to keep the momentum going into the rest of the game. 

Both teams remained scoreless until the bottom of the fourth inning when Liberty found a groove. After the first hitter hit to center field and another got a hit by pitch, the Eagles hit a two home run which tied the game 2-2.

The game remained tied until the sixth inning when sophomore Kianna Jones hit a solo home run that soared over the left field fence.

The Tar Heels held onto their one-run lead through the bottom of the seventh inning when first-year pitcher Lilli Backes struck out two Liberty hitters to end the game. 

Who stood out? 

Backes was key to the Tar Heel victory. She pitched her second complete game of the season and matched a career best seven strikeouts. Backes earned her fourth win of the season after allowing two runs and only one walk. 

Stubbs and Jubas continued to demonstrate their ability to produce runs, when they helped the Tar Heels score twice in the first inning.

When was it decided?

The game came down to the wire. The Tar Heels led 3-2 going into the seventh and final inning. Hitting at the top of the seventh, the team found momentum. They had runners on first and second bases, but after one out and a foul out from Taylor Greene, North Carolina remained scoreless with one runner left on base.

The team’s inability to convert at the top of the seventh opened the door for Liberty to tie up the match or defeat UNC all together. However, Backes ensured that this did not happen. She struck out two of the Liberty hitters with the other out coming from a fly out. Liberty remained scoreless in the seventh giving the Tar Heels a 3-2 victory. 

Why does it matter?

This win marks North Carolina’s fourth consecutive victory which ties the team’s longest winning streak of the season. 

Momentum from this matchup and streak will be crucial as UNC begins to face tougher conference opponents. The Tar Heels won their first ACC series of the season against Boston College last week. This weekend, the Tar Heels play Virginia Tech, one of the top teams in the nation. North Carolina has yet to defeat a ranked team, but this will be only one of many tests. A tough schedule looms with games against No. 7 Florida State and No.16 Clemson over the next few weeks. 

When do they play next?

UNC softball will continue its play in the state of Virginia this weekend, traveling to Blacksburg on Friday. The Tar Heels will take on the No. 1 Virginia Tech Hokies in a three-game series on Friday, Saturday and Sunday. 

@dthsports | sports@dailytarheel.com

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