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April 7, 2005

CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. – Former University of Virginia softball star Kristen Dennis (Encinitas, Calif./La Costa Canyon) will have her uniform number retired Saturday (April 9) at The Park following the first game of the Cavaliers’ doubleheader against Atlantic Coast Conference rival Maryland. The first game of the doubleheader will begin at noon Saturday and the ceremony will take place immediately following the conclusion of the game. The weekend is also serving as Alumni Reunion Weekend for Virginia softball players.

Dennis, a standout pitcher and designated player for Virginia from 1999 to 2002, is the only Virginia softball player to earn All-America honors twice as she was selected as a Louisville Slugger/NFCA second-team All-American in both 2001 and 2002. She was named the 2002 ACC Player of the Year and the league’s Freshman of the Year in 1999. Also in 2002, Dennis was named the Eastern College Athletic Conference Player of the Year and the Virginia Sports Information Director’s State Player of the Year for the second consecutive season. She was also the recipient of the Virginia Athletic Department’s 2001-02 Distinguished Student-Athlete Scholarship Award as well as the Ralph Sampson Scholarship Award winner in 2000-01.

The only Virginia softball player to capture All-ACC honors four times, Dennis graduated with a plethora of school records, including 29 home runs, 58 doubles, 158 RBI, and 414 total bases, all of which she still holds today. Dennis also established ACC records for walks and doubles and maintains the doubles record. Her 144 career walks currently ties for second among all ACC players.

One of the most feared hitters in the country, Dennis hit an impressive .363 during her career, including a school record .417 batting average as a fourth-year in 2002. The same season she set the school marks with 13 home runs, 58 RBI, 134 total bases and a .766 slugging percentage, records that still stand today.

An equally imposing pitcher, Dennis registered a 57-37 record in the circle with a 1.36 earned run average. Her 702 strikeouts rank second all-time at Virginia. In 2002, she posted a 24-11 record with a 0.97 ERA and threw back-to-back no-hitters against Tennessee Tech and Louisville. She was the only Division I softball player to hit over .400 and register 20-plus pitching victories in 2002.

Dennis, who graduated from the Curry School of Education with both a bachelor’s and a master’s degree in 2003, wore number 21, and joins Lisa Palmer (1986-89) as the only softball players to have her uniform number retired (Palmer wore number 22). Dennis is the 13th Virginia student-athlete to have his or her uniform number retired with nine of the previous retirements being for basketball players.

Virginia enters the three-game series against Maryland with a 14-21 overall record and a 3-2 mark in the ACC. The Terrapins stand at 18-10 overall and 2-1 in the conference. After Saturday’s doubleheader against Maryland, the three-game series will conclude with a noon contest on Sunday (April 10).

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