The UNC softball team (23-28, 6-18 ACC) fell to the Syracuse Orange (25-20, 7-15 ACC), 9-1, in the third game of its weekend series and the final game of North Carolina’s season.
The Orange jumped out to an early lead thanks to a run in the bottom of the first inning. After graduate student Neli Casares-Maher singled to center field, a groundout from first-year Tessa Galipeau scored Casares-Maher to put the Orange up 1-0.
The Orange tacked on another seven runs in the following two innings.
In the bottom of the second inning, junior third baseman Rebecca Clyde singled to right field to score redshirt senior outfielder Carli Campbell. A triple from sophomore outfielder Angel Jasso and a single from Casares-Maher brought in two more runs for the Orange, bringing the score to 4-0.
In the bottom of the third inning, a triple from graduate outfielder Paris Woods brought in three runs, scoring first-year Taylor Posner, Campbell and sophomore Ryan Gallegos. This was followed by a single from Jasso that scored Woods, as Jasso reached base for the third time in just three at-bats.
This prompted a pitching change for the Tar Heels, as first-year righty Carlie Myrtle was brought in to pitch for first-year lefty Lilli Backes. Myrtle struck out Casares-Maher to end the four-run frame for the Orange.
With the score at 8-0, senior first baseman Kiersten Licea stepped up to the plate and delivered a much-needed home run in the top of the fourth inning. Despite this, UNC was unable to accrue any more runs in this inning. After redshirt sophomore Kianna Jones walked, a strikeout, pop-up and a runner caught stealing ended the inning for the Tar Heels.
Despite a seven-run lead, Syracuse’s offensive onslaught still wasn’t done. In the bottom of the sixth inning, a home run from Jasso ended the game early thanks to an eight-run lead.
Who stood out?
Jasso had an absolutely dominant offensive performance on Sunday behind a .414 batting average. Within four at-bats she totalled three hits and three RBIs, making her responsible for a third of Syracuse’s runs in this game.
On the mound, SU’s Ariana Adams recorded the win on Sunday. Adams allowed one earned run on three innings pitched. She only struck out two batters, but these strikeouts came at crucial times. In the top of the third inning, with the bases loaded, Adams was able to record a critical strikeout to terminate one of UNC’s best scoring opportunities of the game.
When was it decided?
By the third inning, the eventual outcome of the game was obvious. Thanks to a three-run frame in the second, and a four-run frame in the third, Syracuse jumped out to an early 8-0 lead. From then, it was only a matter of time until the game progressed to the fifth inning and the eight-run mercy rule kicked in.
Why does it matter?
Sunday’s game effectively ended the season for the UNC softball team. The loss highlights struggles the Tar Heels have had all season, including defensive errors and being dominated by power hitting.
When do they play next?
The loss concludes the end of the Tar Heels’ regular season.