The Charlotte 49ers softball team is coming off a huge win for the program against North Carolina. The Niners left the yard early and often, which led to an 11-4 victory in Chapel Hill.
The team improves to 18-8 overall and boasts a 3-1 record in conference play. Charlotte will look to build off this victory in the coming games.
Here is what we learned from Tuesday's game.
Bailey Vannoy has solidified her role as a leader
Bailey Vannoy had a very productive night for the 49ers that proved to propel the team to victory. She was the spark for the team, starting the game with a homerun in the game's first at-bat. She wouldn't stop there, though, as she finished the game with three hits on five at-bats.
When the team reached slumps in the game, Vannoy was the spark that started the run for the Niners. Charlotte only led 6-4 heading into the final two innings, but she hit an RBI single that led to a five-run inning for the Niners that ultimately sealed the win.
Her energy transferred to her teammates throughout the night, which helped her team dominate the game in all three phases.
The long ball proved to be key
The 49ers struck early and often against the Tar Heels with multiple home runs throughout the game. The long ball has helped the 49ers stay in front in many games throughout the season, and it proved to be key against North Carolina.
In the first at-bat of the game, Vannoy homered to give Charlotte an early lead which they never gave up. Sophomore Cori Henderson followed it up in the second inning as she hit a two-run homerun to extend the Niners lead to 4-0. Finally, Spenser Gray was able to leave the yard as well in the second inning with a two-run shot that gave Charlotte a suffocating lead over North Carolina.
Charlotte has many heavy hitters that have been able to repeat this success many times over the season. The long ball played a key part of the win for the 49ers.
Pitching is a strength for the team
Sophomore Madelyn Wright started the game for the Niners and played a key role in the outcome. Wright pitched four innings for the 49ers and only gave up six hits. She was able to hold the Tar Heels in check during the game to earn her eighth win on the season.
Junior Lindsey Walljasper took over on the mound in the bottom of the fifth inning and had an outstanding performance. She wouldn't give up a hit and the North Carolina offensive attack would ground to a halt. Walljasper secured her second save of the season as well.
Pitching has been a strength all year long for the team and it is something that Charlotte prides itself on. If the Niners can continue to put the best product on the mound, they will be able to go far in the season.
Charlotte is a contender to win the Conference USA tournament
This win says a lot about what this team can accomplish this season. The 49ers had a large amount of time off from March 14 to April 1 but didn't miss a beat when they did get back on the field.
The win against the Tar Heels follows a 3-1 series win over Middle Tennessee. The 49ers beating a Power 5 team proves that the team is a true contender in the Conference USA. Charlotte is currently in first place in the east division and has the best record of any conference team.
The ceiling is high for this squad, and they have the opportunity to bring a conference tournament championship back home.
Charlotte will return to action on Apr. 9 in a four-game series against conference opponent Florida Atlantic in Boca Raton.