The North Carolina softball team (20-19, 5-9 ACC) defeated Louisville (20-16, 4-7 ACC), 9-5, to even up the weekend series on Saturday.
Louisville worked itself into a hole at the top of the first inning, loading the bases with a fielding error, a single and a walk. With two outs, UNC’s Taylor Greene was hit by a pitch to bring in the first run of the game. At the bottom of the inning, the Cardinals put two runners on base with back to back singles, but neither was able to score.
The Tar Heels came out strong in the second as sophomore Bri Stubbs brought in a run with a double to left field. Stubbs then reached home after Louisville’s catcher Kendall Smith overthrew the second baseman on a steal attempt, bringing UNC’s lead to three runs.
The Cardinals hit back at the bottom of the inning though, putting runners on base with a walk and a single. Carmyn Greenwood brought in those two runs with a stand up double hit deep to left field, making the score 3-2 before the inning ended with a groundout to second.
At the top of the fourth, Destiny Middleton knocked a ball into left center that soared over the center fielder’s head, good for an RBI triple. Stubbs came up clutch again with a single down the left field line that scored Middleton, giving UNC a 5-2 lead.
The fifth and six innings went relatively quickly, only taking 15 batters between the teams to get through twelve outs.
Going into the seventh already up three runs, the Tar Heels broke the game open with an offensive explosion. After a fielding error and two walks loaded the bases with just one out, Greene bounced a double down the left field line to score Stubbs and Middleton. A sacrifice fly from Kianna Jones brought in another run, then an RBI single from Katie Perkins rounded out the four-run inning.
Who stood out?
Stubbs did it all for the Tar Heels, scoring twice and bringing in two more runs off her two hits, as well as holding the defense down from the outfield. Carlie Myrtle was effective from the circle, holding Louisville two two runs across the first six innings while allowing her team to build up a big lead.
For Louisville, Otis had an impressive outing, recording three hits in four at bats, and Greenwood continued to be a power-hitting threat.
When was it decided?
The Cardinals got off to a good start in the final frame with a triple from Greenwood, but she was later tagged out at third base on a fielder’s choice. A single from Korbe Otis put two runners on base with two outs, and both were brought in by a deep hit ball from Dylann Cravens. Cravens then scored on a single from Vanessa Miller, but that’s the last run Louisville would put on the board, the game ending with a pop-up to the shortstop.
Why does it matter?
The Tar Heels broke a five game skid with this victory, and now find themselves in a position to leave Louisville with a much needed series win. UNC did a good job limiting Louisville’s power hitting offense, while their own batters took advantage of the scoring opportunities they were given. UNC will have to come into Sunday with the same ferocity they had today, if they are to clinch this series against a quality ACC opponent.
When do they play next?
The final game of the series will start at noon on Sunday.
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