In the last game of the regular season, North Carolina softball (26-27, 13-10 ACC) picked up a midweek victory, 10-9, against the Furman Paladins (22-33).
After a quiet first inning, Furman’s Alex Rose Molinar hit a three-run homer to right field in the top of the second. Following a series of errors and another three runs from Furman, UNC exited the second frame down six.
To gain momentum, senior center fielder Bri Stubbs hit a double that allowed junior left fielder Carsyn Snead to score. Working to end their deficit, sophomore pitcher Carlie Myrtle quickly singled bringing Stubbs home. The Tar Heels ended the third down 6-2.
Following a quiet fourth inning, Furman’s Kiley Perry opened the fifth inning with a long ball to center field, extending the lead to five. The Tar Heels were unable to respond in the bottom of the inning.
Refusing to give up, redshirt first-year catcher Isabela Emerling hit a three-run jack to center field that decreased the Tar Heels’ deficit to just two in the bottom of the sixth frame. Working to take the lead, Stubbs quickly followed with a single, driving in Snead.
Following a double to left field from Myrtle, the Tar Heels tied the Paladins in the bottom of the sixth. Feeling the shift, graduate first baseman Kiersten Licea doubled down the left field line. Senior third baseman Destiny Middleton quickly hit in two more runners, increasing the Tar Heels' lead to three runs. North Carolina overtook Furman for the first time during the matchup after an eight-run inning.
With two outs in the top of the seventh, Furman’s Perry — who refused to go out easily — hit a two-run homer. Still, the Tar Heels quickly followed with the third out to win 10-9.
Who stood out?
Stubbs proved to be a point of consistency for the Tar Heels. In the third frame, she began an early rally to cut Furman’s lead to four. On the defensive end, with two players on base in the top of the fourth, Stubbs prevented another runner from scoring with a crucial grab in center. She worked to keep North Carolina in the game with an impressive offensive and defensive performance.
When was it decided?
Following an eight-run performance from the Tar Heels in the bottom of the sixth, the Paladins were unable to take the lead once again, even with a two-run home run later in the game.
Why does it matter?
After winning 12 of their last 15 games, the Tar Heels ended the regular season on a high note after an impressive April showing. With this win, the Tar Heels are squarely in the sixth-place spot in the ACC and will receive a bye in the upcoming ACC tournament. Heading into the tournament with a win is good for morale, especially since the Tar Heels most likely need to win the ACC championship to make the NCAA tournament.
When do they play next?
With this being the last game of the regular season, UNC will begin its post-season play in the ACC Tournament, which starts on May 10.
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