April 13, 2014
THE FLATS – The North Carolina softball team scored eight runs in the seventh inning to defeat Georgia Tech, 15-6, and avoid the series sweep Sunday. The Jackets fell to 21-17 overall and 10-12 in ACC play, while the Tar Heels improved to 22-20 on the season and 13-9 in league action.
“We talk about having all three parts of our game, pitching, defense and hitting, and we didn’t have it all together today,” head coach Shelly Hoerner said. “I’m really proud of our hitters. They were resilient and they did a good job chipping away. We talk about that.
“I give the team a lot of credit. We fought back hard and had quality at bats, which is good no matter what the score is. We’ve got to do a better job defensively throughout the game and pitching wise we’ve got to step up our game in the circle.”
The Jackets continued to chip away at North Carolina’s lead throughout the game and matched the Tar Heels in hits, 14-14, but North Carolina solidified the victory in the final inning. The Tar Heels took a tightly contested 7-6 lead into the seventh inning before scoring eight runs on four hits to run away with the game, 15-6.
All but one batter in the Georgia Tech line up tallied a hit and six Yellow Jackets logged two each. Ashley Thomas went 2-for-4 with two runs, and Maddie Lionberger was 2-for-3 with a run and two RBI.
North Carolina jumped out to a 4-0 lead in the third inning and the Jackets pulled within one, 4-3, thanks to an RBI single in the third from Downs to score Ashley Thomas, and Maddie Lionberger’s two-RBI double in the fourth.
The Tar Heels tacked on three runs in the fifth to extend their lead, 7-3, but the Jackets proved resilient. Karly Fullem plated Kanani Cabrales in the fifth, and Alysha Rudnik and Samantha Pierannunzi scored Lionberger and Ashley Thomas in the sixth to again pull within one, 7-6.
Kylie Kleinschmidt (13-10) suffered the loss, pitching 6.0 innings with 10 runs on 10 hits. North Carolina’s Lori Spingola (16-11) earned the win, tossing 4.2 innings with seven hits and one run.
The Jackets are back in action Wednesday with a rematch against the Georgia Bulldogs. Action begins at 7 p.m. at Mewborn Field.