Chapel Hill, N.C. – The UNCG softball team (22-12) fell to North Carolina (17-17), 5-2, on the road Wednesday night. The Tar Heels now lead the all-time series 47-8 and are 4-0 over the Spartans since head coach, and former UNC assistant, Janelle Breneman took over the UNCG program.
A two-run home run by Taylor Wike in the bottom of the first inning gave North Carolina a 2-0 lead. The Tar Heels added their eventual game-winning run in the next inning when Katelyn Shifflett scored on a throwing error by Danielle Vega (Rialto, Calif./Aquinas).
Lindsay Thomas (Irvine, Calif./Northwood) answered back for the Spartans in the top of the third inning with a solo home run to center field. The home run marked the program-best 50th of her career and team-leading ninth home run of the season.
UNC added one run each in the next two innings to extend their lead to 5-1. With the Spartans down to their last three outs in the top of the seventh inning, Stephanie Bryden (Orlando, Fla./East River) smashed her third career home run over the center field fence, cutting UNC’s lead to three.
Hagan Kiser (Asheboro, N.C./Southwestern) doubled down the left field line to put a runner in scoring position for Kendall McKinney (Suwanee, Ga./North Gwinnett). McKinney singled through the left side, advancing Kiser and putting runners on the corners with no outs as the tying run stepped to the plate. Marisa Sholtes (Albany, N.Y./South Colonie Central) pinch hit for Alison Geiner (Raleigh, N.C./Middle Creek).
Sholtes struck out swinging for the first out of the inning but UNCG would turn to Thomas and the top of the Spartans lineup for some late inning magic. Thomas turned all her power on the first pitch that came her way but a diving grab by Chapel Hill’s Wike robbed Thomas of the hit. She turned the driving stop into a double play when she threw McKinney out at first from her knees to end the game.
Bryden (threw four and two thirds in the circle for UNCG allowing five runs, four earned, on five hits in her seventh loss of the season. Alicia Bazonski (Sheffield, Mass./Mount Everett) came in to relieve Bryden with two outs in the fifth inning and allowed no hits in her one and a third innings. She walked two batters and struck out one improving her earned run average to 1.97.
Wednesday’s game marked the sixth-straight game that UNCG has hit at least one home run. The Spartans have homered in nine of their last ten games at least once and an 8-2 during that stretch.
The Spartans will travel to Western Carolina Saturday and Sunday, April 2-3, for their first Southern Conference games of the season.