The North Carolina softball team (21-22, 5-12 ACC) defeated No. 4 Florida State (39-4, 12-4 ACC) on Saturday, 5-1, winning the second game of the series against the Seminoles and recording its first win of the season against a ranked opponent.
First-year pitcher Lilli Backes walked FSU batter Kaley Mudge to start off the first inning. The Seminoles loaded the bases early, and then a sacrifice bunt earned them a run. The Tar Heels had two flyouts and a base hit that yielded no runs in the bottom of the first.
UNC held the Seminoles to zero runs in the second, and their offense lit up with three runs. First-year Alex Brown tripled to right field to bring in two runs; Graduate student Sara Jubas then singled to bring Brown home, putting the Tar Heels up 3-1. FSU had another scoreless inning in the third, and UNC extended its lead with one run.
In the top of the fourth, the Seminoles reached base only with a walk and produced no runs. Jubas doubled in the bottom of the fourth, but UNC otherwise had a quiet inning at the plate. Florida State was unable to muster a base hit in the fifth. The Tar Heels were able to load the bases but couldn’t capitalize with a run.
After scoreless fourth and fifth innings and a 1-2-3 top of the sixth for FSU, Jubas hit a solo home run to left field, giving the Tar Heels a four-run lead. They remained strong defensively and closed out the game with a 5-1 win.
Who stood out?
Jubas had a standout game with a double, a home run and two RBIs. She led the team offensively, going 3-4 from the plate.
Backes held the team down from the mound, allowing just three hits and one run the entire game. This defensive performance was especially impressive against an ACC opponent and top-5 team.
When was it decided?
FSU opened with a run in the first, but UNC answered with three runs in the second and never looked back. FSU’s quiet fifth and sixth innings allowed the Tar Heels to prevail.
Why does it matter?
After a 2-0 loss to the Seminoles in the first game of the series, it was important for the Tar Heels to come out strong in game two. As game three approaches, the rubber match will be critical in setting a positive precedent for the rest of the Tar Heels’ season.
When do they play next?
The team will host North Carolina Central University on Wednesday at 6 p.m.
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