Donna Papa
Hokies Hand Heels First ACC Loss, 13-4
Release: 03/19/2017
  1 2 3 4 5 R H E
North Carolina (24-6, 5-1) 2 0 2 0 0 4 8 1
Virginia Tech (11-13, 3-6) 0 10 0 3 - 13 13 1

Blacksburg, Va. – An offensive onslaught by Virginia Tech forced North Carolina to take its first conference loss of the season, as a 10-run second inning led the Hokies past the Tar Heels, 13-4, in five innings. With the win, VT improves to 11-13 (3-6 ACC), while UNC drops to 24-6 (5-1 ACC).

Senior Kendra Lynch went 2-for-3 with a home run and two RBIs. Her leadoff bomb in the third inning was her ACC-leading 12th of the season and the 43rd of her career, as she moves into a tie with Haleigh Dickey (2010-13) for second all time at UNC in career home runs.

Six other Tar Heels hit safely in the game, including a double and a run by Katelyn Shifflett. Leah Murray and Taylor Wike both singled and scored in the first inning, while Brittany Pickett had an RBI single in the third.

Sydney Matzko (3-3) tossed a perfect bottom of the first, but left with no outs in the second after allowing four runs, three earned, on three hits. Kendra Lynch was first off the bench, but gave up five runs on four hits and a walk over just a third of an inning. Brittany Pickett tossed the final 2.2 innings for UNC, allowing four runs on six hits and a walk.

Carrie Eberle (5-3) tossed all five innings for Virginia Tech, picking up the win despite allowing four runs on eight hits and two walks. Emma Strouth shined at the plate for VT, going 3-for-3 with a double, a home run and three RBIs, while Breanna Davenport was 2-for-3 with a three-run home run.

Carolina attacked Eberle early, leading off the game with singles by Murray and Wike. Berlynne Delamora grounded to third, but a throwing error allowed her to reach safely, as Murray came around to score. Lynch then singled through the right side, sending Wike across the plate for a 2-0 lead before VT even came up to bat.

The Hokie offense exploded in the bottom of the second, going through three Tar Heel pitchers to score 10 runs off nine hits and an error. After the leadoff batter reached on an error, two doubles and a single sent Matzko to the dugout. Lynch entered but allowed two singles, a double and a three-run home run. Pickett then moved into the circle and allowed a double, a single and a sacrifice fly before another fly out finally ended the inning.

Lynch led off the top of the third with a solo home run, her 12th of the season. Shifflett kept it going with a double to right center, then Pickett drove her home with an RBI single to make it 10-4 VT.

A two-run home run by Emma Strouth put the Hokies in run-rule territory, and an RBI single by Eberle made it 13-4 Virginia Tech in the fourth.

Eberle retired the Tar Heels in order in the top of the fifth to close out the game and hand UNC its first conference loss of the season.

North Carolina’s extended road trip concludes on Wednesday, March 22, when the Tar Heels travel to Knoxville to take on No. 15/14 Tennessee. The game will be nationally televised on the SEC Network at 7:30 p.m.

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