GREENSBORO – North Carolina’s 11-game winning streak came to an end on Wednesday night as a four-run first inning led UNCG past the Tar Heels, 6-3. Carolina brought the go-ahead run to the plate in the top of the seventh inning but was unable to pull off the comeback, falling to 16-5 on the season. With the win, the Spartans improve to 12-7.
Brittany Pickett led UNC at the plate, going 2-for-2 with a walk. Kendra Lynch hit a two-run home run in the sixth, and Katie Bailiff put the Heels on the board with an RBI single. Berlynne Delamora walked three times and scored a run. The Tar Heel sophomore now has a total of 24 walks on the year, more than halfway to the UNC single-season record (43).
Lynch (5-2) took her first loss since opening day, surrendering five runs on seven hits and a walk with two strikeouts over the first 3.2 innings. Pickett tossed the remaining 2.1 innings, allowing a single unearned run on three hits.
Alicia Bazonski (7-5) limited UNC to one run on three hits over the first five innings. Mackenzie entered in the sixth but left after retiring a single batter, having first surrendered a walk and a two-run home run. Kylie Bouplon replaced her and picked up the save, allowing two hits and a walk over the final 1.2 frames.
Emily Acquaviva was the spark of UNCG’s offense, going 4-for-4, while Jordan Gontram and Jasmine Palmer each hit two-run home runs.
The Spartans took Lynch for a pair of two-run homers with two outs in the bottom of the first, putting up a quick 4-0 lead.
UNCG had a shot at more in the bottom of the second, loading the bases with one out on a pair of Carolina errors, but a key strikeout got Lynch out of the jam.
Carolina got on the board in the top of the fourth. Delamora walked and Lynch moved pinch runner Micaela Abbatine into scoring position with a ground out. Bailiff then singled up the middle with two outs to send the Tar Heels’ first run of the game across the plate.
The Spartans got the run back in the bottom of the fourth off an RBI double by Rachael McClaskey. Following the extra-base hit, Pickett came in and closed out the inning.
Pickett got into some trouble in the bottom of the fifth, loading the bases on two hit batters, but she snagged a line out and a ground out to strand all three.
The Tar Heels cut the deficit in half in the top of the sixth, as Delamora drew a leadoff walk and Lynch launched a two-run bomb to make it 5-3.
McClaskey hit one hard at Taylor Wike to lead off the bottom of the sixth. The ball took a tough hop off the Carolina shortstop who recovered as quickly as she could but the throw was not in time to get the speedy McClaskey. Acquaviva then drove her in with a two-out single up the middle to put UNCG back ahead by three.
Pickett led off the seventh with a single through the right side. Bouplon retired the next two batters, but Wike kept the game alive with a double down the right field line. Delamora walked to load the bases, bringing the go-ahead run to the plate, but Lynch grounded out to second to end the game with a final score of 6-3.
UNC heads south this weekend for the Holy City Showdown, hosted by the College of Charleston. The Tar Heels will play five games from March 10-12, starting with a 3:30 p.m. doubleheader on Friday, March 10, against Chattanooga and the host Cougars.