CHAPEL HILL – North Carolina secured the series victory on ACC opening weekend, capturing a 6-2 win over No. 21 Pittsburgh to claim the first two games of the three-game series. UNC (14-4, 2-0 ACC) is riding a nine-game winning streak and will look to make it 10 straight in Sunday’s series finale (1 p.m.). After opening the season 9-0, the nationally-ranked Panthers take their third loss in four games to fall to 12-4 (0-2 ACC).
Pitt narrowly out-hit the Tar Heels, 7-6, in the game, but four of Carolina’s six hits went for extra bases, as Kendra Lynch slugged two doubles and Taylor Wike and Katie Bailiff both went deep. Wike also recorded an RBI single in the first, along with Berlynne Delamora, and Erin Sugg drove in the final run of the game with a pinch-hit bases-loaded walk.
Kendra Lynch improved to 5-1 on the season, limiting Pitt to two runs on seven hits without a walk and four strikeouts over the first 5.1 innings. Brittany Pickett collected her second save of the year after retiring all five batters she faced with four strikeouts.
Kayla Harris (6-2) threw the first three innings for Pittsburgh, but allowed five runs on five hits and a walk with three strikeouts. Brittany Knight tossed three innings of relief, allowing just one hit but four walks and an earned run.
Leah Murray led off the first inning with a walk and a stolen base, and back-to-back RBI singles by Wike and Delamora put UNC on top, 2-0.
Wike crushed a solo home run in the third, her third of the season, to make it 3-0 Carolina.
Lynch led off the fourth with a double and Bailiff slugged a two-run home run to increase the lead to 5-0.
Four singles and a collision at second base allowed Pitt to get on the board in the top of the sixth. Kaitlin Manuel hit one off Lynch’s glove with the bases loaded. The ball was redirected towards Kaitlyn Shifflett, but Valerie Ortega ran right into her on the way to second, keeping Shifflett from getting to the ball and allowing two runs to score. Pickett then came off the bench to pitch and struck out a pair of batters to end the inning with the score sitting at 5-2.
Lynch led off the sixth with her second double of the day, and a bases-loaded walk issued to pinch hitter Erin Sugg sent the starting pitcher home to make it 6-2.
Pickett fired a perfect top of the seventh with two more strikeouts to seal up her second career save by a final score of 6-2.