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The Daily Tar Heel

UNC softball team mercy rules North Carolina Central, 11-1, in five innings

UNC first-year catcher and infielder Isabela Emerling (13) warms up before the game against North Carolina Central University on Feb. 21, 2023.

The North Carolina softball team (6-4) mercy ruled North Carolina Central (0-6), 11-1, in the finale of its six-game home stand.

What happened?

Errors defined the first inning of Tuesday’s game North Carolina Central scored early after an error at third base for UNC resulted in the ball going over the first baseman’s head. North Carolina also gained a spot on the scoreboard in the first inning, racking up three runs, although two were unearned as a result of an error.

The Eagles batted three up, three down in the second and the Tar Heels followed with the same pattern. First-year North Carolina pitcher Kenna Raye Dark allowed one hit in the top of the third but held NCCU. Dark showed out offensively as well, with a double in the bottom of the inning. This combined with a single by Annie Kate Dalton and an error allowed UNC to further its lead with four runs. 

The top of the fourth resulted in three up, three down for Central once again. North Carolina picked up four hits including a strong-hit double by Dalton in the fourth as well as four more runs for an 11-1 lead.

Dark pitched three up, three down in the top of the fifth to secure a mercy-rule win for UNC.

Who stood out? 

Dark proved essential in this win. She pitched the entirety of the game, allowing only one hit. The pitcher also had one hit and two RBIs to contribute offensively as well. Skylar Brooks and Dalton each had two hits to further aid in the offensive performance for North Carolina.

When was it decided?

UNC gained an early lead after the first, but the addition of errors by both teams made it difficult to say which was playing better. While North Carolina was able to clean up its defensive approach, Central continued to struggle. UNC also found offensive momentum, while NCCU failed to do so. With a 7-1 lead after three innings, it seemed clear that the Tar Heels were going to pick up a home win.

Why does it matter?

The Tar Heels had won their last two matchups against the Eagles coming into Tuesday’s game and mercy ruled N.C. Central the last time they met. In the last of six-straight home games, UNC mercy ruled NCCU once again to end their home stretch on a positive note.

When do they play next?

This weekend, UNC will make the trip down south to Boca Raton, Florida for the Joan Jayce Classic.


@dthsports |

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