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Feb. 17, 2006

Box Score

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. – The University of Virginia softball team opened the Karen Johns era with a pair of victories Friday (Feb. 17) at the Triangle Classic, which is being held at Anderson Stadium. The Cavaliers began the 2006 season with a 2-0 win over Gardner-Webb, then used some seventh inning heroics from third-year Michelle Salmiery (San Jose, Calif.) to notch a 4-2 come-from-behind win over Akron.

In the seventh inning against Gardner-Webb, Salmiery fouled off five consecutive 3-2 pitches before slamming a three-run homer to center field to erase a 2-1 deficit and give the Cavaliers a 4-2 lead. It marked Salmiery’s first career home run. Third-year Lara Rodriguez (Oak Hill. Va.) began the UVa rally with a one-out pinch hit single through the ride side of the infield. Fourth-year left fielder Erin Horn (Tallahassee, Fla.) then drew a walk before Salmiery cleared the bases with her home run.

Third-year Coty Tolar (Marietta, Ga.), who was the winning pitcher in the Gardner-Webb game, pitched the seventh inning to register her first career save. First-year Madi Gore (Akworth, Ga.) was credited with the win after pitching a perfect sixth inning in relief of second-year starter Karla Wilburn (Del Mar, Calif.). Gore also earned the save in the opener against Gardner-Webb in her first collegiate appearance. Wilburn, who was also making her collegiate debut, pitched five innings and allowed two run of five hits with one walk.

UVa jumped out to a 1-0 lead in the top of the first inning against Akron. Fourth-year center fielder Jessica Taylor (Philadelphia, Pa.) reached on a two-base throwing error by the Zips’ second baseman to lead off the game. Taylor advanced to third on third-year first baseman Brooke Sorber’s (Alexandria, Va.) sacrifice bunt and scored on fourth-year second baseman Sara Larquier’s (Burbank, Calif.) sacrifice fly to center. Akron tied the game at 1-1 in the bottom of the first on a RBI single by Megan MacKenzie. The Zips took a 2-1 lead on Sarah Zilles sacrifice fly in the second. The game remained 2-1 until Salmiery stepped to the plate in the seventh.

MacKenzie took the loss for Akron (1-1) in a complete-game effort. She allowed four runs (three earned) on five hits with seven strikeouts and two walks.

In the 2-0 win over Gardner-Webb to open the season, Tolar and Gore combined on a shutout. Tolar picked up her first win of the season with 5.2 innings of two-hit ball. She struck out six, did not walk a batter, and held the Bulldogs without a hit for the first 5.1 innings. In her first collegiate appearance, Gore registered a save with 1.2 innings in relief of Tolar. Gore struck out one batter and retired all four she faced.

The Cavaliers broke up a scoreless game with two runs in the bottom of the fifth. Salmiery led off the fifth inning with a walk and then stole second base. Second-year shortstop Lindsey Preuss (La Plata, Md.) followed with a bloop double down the left field line that advanced Salmiery to third. Horn plated Virginia’s first two runs of the season with a double over the head of Gardner-Webb’s right fielder. Horn was making her first career start in left field (and her first start at a position other than pitcher).

Taryn Beck suffered the loss for Gardner-Webb (0-1) in the circle. In a complete-game effort, Beck gave up two runs on four hits with nine strikeouts and a pair of walks.

“It’s nice to start the season with two wins and it was very pleasing to come from behind and win,” said head coach Karen Johns. “I was pleased with our defense and thought our pitchers were competitive. Our hitters were anxious early on, but started to settle down in the fifth inning of the second game.”

UVa is scheduled to continue play in the Triangle Classic on Saturday with a 10:00 a.m. game against St. John’s.

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