CHAPEL HILL, N.C. – Despite two home runs and several great attempts to stage a comeback, the Charlotte softball team fell 8-6 to North Carolina, Wednesday evening at Anderson Stadium.
It was all Charlotte (6-4 overall) in the first inning as the Niners sparked a two-out rally after Briana Gwaltney and Chelsea Ingersoll reached on back-to-back walks. Samantha Slade, the team’s RBI leader battled at the plate, fouling off several pitches before crushing a three-run shot over the left centerfield wall to take a 3-0 lead.
However the Heels (11-5) used a two-out rally of their own to respond in the bottom of the first. A hit from Haleigh Dickey along with Amber Parrish drawing a walk, lined up Constance Orr who tripled down the right field line to cut into Charlotte’s lead, 3-2.
Carolina tallied two runs off three hits in the second inning to take the 4-3 lead but Gwaltney responded in the third with her first home run of the season and 29th of her career to tie the game 4-4.
Carolina quickly answered and posted two runs in the third and fourth inning to take the solid 8-4 advantage.
The Niners found more life in the fifth inning after another two-out rally began by Gwaltney reaching on a fielder’s choice and Ingersoll driving a base hit up the middle to put runners in scoring position. Slade singled to left field to score Gwaltney and pick up her fourth RBI of the game. A Carolina throwing error on the next play allowed the 49ers to score another run and cut Carolina’s lead to 8-6.
Carolina pitcher Lori Spingola improved to 5-3 and recorded a game-high nine strikeouts. The Heels were led by Dickey who was 3-for-4 with a run.
Charlotte will head to the Auburn Invitational beginning on Friday, March 1. The three day tournament features the 49ers taking on Southern University, Auburn, Minnesota, and Middle Tennessee State. All games are in Central Standard Time (CST).