The UNC softball team (19-19, 4-9) lost to Louisville (20-15, 4-6), 9-4, in the first game of its away weekend series.
The Tar Heels struck first after Bri Stubbs reached base on a wild throw from the Cardinals' third baseman, then she was batted in by a ground ball from Sara Jubas. But Louisville’s pitcher, Taylor Roby, responded promptly with a two-run homer to left field later in the inning.
After a quiet second inning for UNC, the Cardinals broke the game open after Ally Alexander batted an RBI single down the middle and Carmyn Greenwood brought in two more with a double to left field. Greenwood was brought in by a pop out to right field for the fourth and final run of the inning, bringing the score to 6-1.
The Tar Heels showed some life at the top of the third after Taylor Greene brought in two more runs with a double to right field. But in the fourth inning, Louisville’s Kendall Smith smashed a ball over the left field fence to bring in two runs and retake a five-run lead.
At the top of the fifth, Jubas brought in another run with a two-out double to left, but the momentum was squandered after she was caught stealing third to end the inning. The Cardinals earned that run back by way of an RBI groundout from Vanessa Miller, bringing the score to 9-4 going into the sixth inning.
Who stood out?
First-year Kiannah Pierce led UNC in hits, going two for three in the batter’s box, while Greene and Jubas sparked the offense two RBI apiece.
Just about all of Louisville’s batting order found success tonight. Seven Cardinals recorded hits, five of which also knocked doubles. Roby was undeniably the star tonight, allowing just four runs in seven innings on the mound and helping herself out with two hits of her own.
When was it decided?
Down five runs going into the seventh inning, the Tar Heels had a lot of ground to make up. Destiny Middleton got the team off to a good start with a single up the middle, and she advanced to second base off a wild pitch. The next three batters couldn’t make anything happen though, with two fly outs and a ground out to end the game.
Why does it matter?
The Tar Heels recorded only one less hit than Louisville today, but they couldn’t convert those hits into runs. In the big moments, UNC struggled to take advantage of the opportunities they had to swing the tide of the game.
The Tar Heels are in desperate need of a conference series win after getting swept by No. 18 Clemson in their last series and dropping the midweek game to Charlotte. UNC is nearing the bottom third of the ACC standings with a 4-9 conference record. A series loss would sink the team’s overall record under .500 and be a serious blow as the end of the regular season looms.
When do they play next?
The second game of the series will start at 1:00 p.m. tomorrow.
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