CHAPEL HILL – North Carolina hit three home runs while holding Charlotte to just two hits to cruise to its 11th straight victory by a score of 5-1. With the win, UNC improves to 16-4, while the 49ers fall to 15-8.
“I really feel like we are trying to play together,” said senior Kendra Lynch. “We’ve figured out our roles and where we stand on the team. We’re playing really loose and confident right now and I don’t think we need to change anything.”
Berlynne Delamora, Kendra Lynch and Katelyn Shifflett all homered in the game, while Lynch added a walk and an RBI double. Taylor Wike contributed UNC’s first hit of the game, the Heels’ only single, and scored on Delamora’s first-inning bomb.
“I’m just trying to stay confident,” said Lynch. “I’m not trying to change anything. I feel like I’m seeing the ball really well so I’m trying to attack pitches.”
The Heels threw the freshman duo of Hannah Nommensen and Brittany Pickett in the circle. Nommensen improved to 3-0 on the season after allowing a single run on two hits and two walks over the first four innings. Pickett collected her third save of the year by hurling three perfect innings of relief. The Tar Heel rookie is now tied for third all time in single-season saves, just one shy of the UNC record set by Crystal Cox in 2005 and matched by Lisa Norris in 2009. Just six Tar Heels in program history have posted more than three career saves, with Norris holding the record at 11.
“It was very complimentary with Hannah and Brittany,” said head coach Donna J. Papa. “Hannah throws a little bit slower and then when Brittney comes in, she keeps the ball down and throws more velocity. I think we really threw them off balance.”
Haley Wiseman (10-5) started for Charlotte but allowed five runs on five hits and four walks over 4.1 innings. Alison Green was nearly perfect in relief, allowing a single base runner on an error over the final 1.2 innings.
Charlotte manufactured a run in the top of the first, as Kiersten Berrier led off with a walk and was bunted over to second, then Grace Beatty drove her home with a two-out single to right center.
The Tar Heels replied with three runs in the bottom of the first, with a single by Wike and back-to-back home runs by Delamora and Lynch.
“It’s always good to come off hard so we can get the momentum and keep it throughout the game,” said Delamora. That’s always important.”
Shifflett gave Carolina some insurance in the botom of the fourth with a leadoff home run to left center.
Delamora drew her conference-leading 21st walk of the season with one out in the fifth, and pinch runner Micaela Abbatine stole second. Lynch then roped an RBI double off the wall in left center to put UNC ahead 5-1.
Pickett took over in the circle in the top of the fifth and retired nine straight batters with two strikeouts to secure the 5-1 Carolina victory.
North Carolina kicks off an 11-game road trip on Wednesday, March 8, with a visit to Greensboro to face UNCG at 5 p.m. The game will be streamed live on YouTube.