The Daily Tar Heel
Printing news. Raising hell. Since 1893.
Friday, March 1, 2024 Newsletters Latest print issue

We keep you informed.

Help us keep going. Donate Today.
The Daily Tar Heel

UNC softball completes sweep of N.C. State with doubleheader in Raleigh

0301022_Crochik_Softball1.jpg

Sophomore pitcher Lilli Backes (99) pitches the ball at a game against the University of Michigan on Tuesday, Mar. 1, 2022. The Tar Heels lost 0-8.

UNC softball (23-25, 11-9 ACC) secured a sweep over the Wolfpack with two wins in Sunday’s doubleheader rivalry matchup at N.C. State (16-31, 6-15 ACC). 

What happened?

GAME ONE:

The doubleheader kicked off at noon Sunday with a three up, three down top of the first for the UNC offense. Sophomore pitcher Lilli Backes started on the mound for the Tar Heels after picking up her sixth consecutive win and a career-high ten strikeouts against N.C. State on Friday night. Backes pitched three up, three down to end the first inning.

Kiersten Licea got the North Carolina offense started in the second. As the first batter of the inning, she hit a home run over the right center field fence. UNC held the Wolfpack to three up, three down again in the bottom of the second.

Sophomore Alex Brown awarded the Tar Heels their second hit of the game with a bunt in the top of the third. Brown went on to steal second, and a double by Bri Stubbs brought her around to give UNC a 2-0 lead. 

A hit by pitch, error by the UNC defense and hit for N.C. State allowed the Wolfpack to bring in a run.

Licea kicked off the fourth inning with her second home run of the game, bringing UNC out to a 3-0 lead. In their final at bat of the game, the Tar Heels advanced their lead to three behind three hits. N.C. State started the bottom of the seventh with a home run, but this would be its final run of the inning, resulting in a 4-2 North Carolina win to secure the series.

GAME TWO:

A two-run home run gave the Wolfpack their first lead of the day in the third inning, and resulted in a UNC pitching change from starter Kenna Raye Dark to Carlie Myrtle. 

Redshirt senior Abby Settlemyre reached on an error in the fourth and was followed by Licea, who recorded her third home run of the day to even the score. Another N.C. State home run in the bottom of the fourth ended the short-lived tie.

Senior third baseman Destiny Middleton started the UNC comeback effort in the top of the seventh with a single. A walk and an inside the park home run for Alex Brown put the Tar Heels on top 5-3. Backes returned to the mound to finish things out and secured the 5-3 win and the undefeated series, limiting the Wolfpack to zero hits in the final frame.

Who stood out? 

Licea’s three home runs on Sunday served as a major contributor to the team’s offense. Brown’s two hits in game one awarded her an 11-game hit streak and demonstrated her role as an offensive contributor as well. Backes also got the job done on the mound, picking up her seventh straight win in Sunday’s first game, and closing out the series later that day in the second game.

When was it decided?

Sunday’s first game was a battle of the defenses. After two innings, Licea had the only hit of the whole game. Defense once again defined the fifth and sixth, as UNC was able to hold the Wolfpack while establishing a three-run lead that they carried into the final frame. 

The last game of the series also got off to a slow offensive start, particularly for UNC. North Carolina seemed out of luck before its seventh inning offensive dominance that allowed for the win.

Why does it matter?

North Carolina secured a 5-4 win in game one of the series on Friday and were looking to capitalize on this momentum in Saturday’s matchup, but were unable to do so as a result of a rain cancellation.

Sunday’s doubleheader provided UNC the opportunity to pick up a series win and its fourth and fifth consecutive wins.

When do they play next?

To get the day's news and headlines in your inbox each morning, sign up for our email newsletters.

The Tar Heels will return to Chapel Hill for a home matchup against Charlotte on Wednesday. 

@lindseyashe_

@dthsports | sports@dailytarheel.com