UNC softball (13-22, 3-6 ACC) fell 8-4 to ECU (22-12, 0-3 AAC) at home on Wednesday.
Sophomore pitcher Lilli Backes held East Carolina to just one hit in the top of the first. The Tar Heels had a hit of their own in the bottom of the inning, but the game remained scoreless after the first.
The Pirates got into an offensive flow in the second inning, putting up three runs to take an early lead. North Carolina had two hits from Isabela Emerling and Carsyn Snead in the bottom of the second, but failed to earn a place on the scoreboard.
The Pirates batted three up, three down in the third. A walk and an error allowed UNC to limit cut deficit to two in the bottom of the inning. UNC's Kenna Raye Dark kept it going on the mound in the fourth, pitching three up, three down, but the Tar Heels offense also batted three up, three down in the fourth inning.
In the fifth inning, two errors and a home run led to three runs for the Pirates to give them a 6-1 lead. Three hits for North Carolina, including a second hit and run for Bri Stubbs, gave UNC two runs before the end of the fifth.
ECU’s bats failed to quit, and the team racked up another two runs in the top of the sixth. UNC’s bats, on the other hand, were slow, but the team managed to put up an unearned run to make the score 8-4 going into the final inning.
The final at-bat for the Pirates resulted in no hits or runs. North Carolina failed in its comeback attempt, batting three up, three down to finish the game in an 8-4 loss.
Who stood out?
Stubbs thrived at the plate, putting up two hits and two runs in her three at-bats against ECU. Sophomore Alex Brown also had a successful batting performance, with two hits and a run of her own. Pitching was a struggle for UNC as a result of successful Pirates batting, but junior Talia Hannappel did her job on the mound in the one inning that she pitched, allowing just one hit and no runs.
When was it decided?
Things looked promising for the Pirates when they took a 3-0 lead after two innings. The Tar Heels limited their deficit on multiple occasions, but the game had gotten away from them when they trailed by four after six innings.
Why does it matter?
North Carolina is coming off its first ACC series win over Boston College after a struggling season thus far, but was unable to advance its win streak to three. UNC could bet on its odds against ECU, leading the series 43-5 heading into Wednesday’s matchup, but the Tar Heels’ bats couldn’t keep up. The team will need to better its offensive performance and minimize errors to find success in the remainder of the season.
When do they play next?
The Tar Heels will travel to Charlottesville, Va. this weekend for an ACC series against Virginia.
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