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March 4, 2006

Box Score

MARIETTA, Ga. – The University of Virginia softball team slugged four home runs, including a pair of three-run shots by third-year catcher/designated player Amy McKean (Kent, Wash.), in a pair of victories Saturday (Mar. 4) in the Buzz Classic, which is being played at the Al Bishop Softball Complex. UVa registered a 5-2 come-from-behind victory over South Dakota State (3-4) to start the day, then came from behind to notch a 5-3 win over Evansville (10-5). The Cavaliers complete pool play with a 3-1 record and await their seeding in bracket play which begins Saturday evening at 8:30 p.m. UVa is now 9-3 on the season.

Virginia trailed for much of both games before using home runs to take the lead. Against South Dakota State, McKean blasted a walk-off three-run homer in the bottom of the eighth inning to propel UVa to a 5-2 victory. In the game against Evansville, fourth-year third baseman Sara Larquier (Burbank, Calif.) belted a two-run homer in the bottom of the sixth to snap a 3-3 tie and lift the Cavaliers to the victory. Larquier’s homer was the 29th of her career, which ties Kristen Dennis (1999-02) for UVa’s all-time home run record. The win over South Dakota State also marked the 200th career coaching victory for Virginia head coach Karen Johns. Fourth-year Erin Horn (Tallahassee, Fla.) picked up the win against South Dakota State and registered her school record sixth career save against Evansville. Horn had shared the saves record with Joanna Barstad (2001-04).

Against South Dakota State, the Cavaliers never led until the bottom of the eighth inning when McKean blasted her three-run walk-off homer with one out. Larquier was placed on second in accordance to the international tie-breaker to begin the eighth. She advanced to third on a failed pickoff attempt and fourth-year center fielder Jessica Taylor (Philadelphia, Pa.) drew a walk. McKean ended the drama with her third home run of the season.

Horn pitched the final two innings in relief of first-year Madi Gore (Acworth, Ga.) to earn the victory and improve to 2-1 on the season. Horn did not allow a hit and struck out two batters while walking one. Gore pitched the first six innings and allowed two runs (one earned) on four hits with five walks and five strikeouts. Kim Westendorf (3-3) went all 7.1 innings for South Dakota State and gave up five runs (four earned) on seven hits with four strikeouts and a walk.

The Jackrabbits took a 1-0 lead in the second inning on Steph Kuhl’s solo home run. The Cavaliers took a 2-1 lead in the third on third-year first baseman Brooke Sorber’s (Alexandria, Va.) two-run homer to right center that scored Taylor. SDSU tied the game at 2-2 in the fifth with an unearned run. The game remained tied until McKean’s homer.

UVa spotted Evansville a 3-0 lead in the top of the first inning. Brittany Herald brought in the Purple Ace’s first run with a single and then the next batter, Alicia Laraway, made it 3-0 with a two-run homer to left. The Cavaliers knotted the game at 3-3 in the bottom of the third on McKean’s second three-run homer of the day. Larquier and Taylor scored on McKean’s fourth homer of the season. The game remained tied at 3-3 until the sixth inning. With two outs, second-year shortstop Lindsey Preuss (La Plata, Md.) hit her second double of the game and Larquier followed with a two-run blast to left to give Virginia the lead for good, 5-3.

After allowing three runs on three hits in the first innings, second-year Karla Wilburn (Del Mar, Calif.) settled down and held Evansville to three singles over the next five innings. In six innings of work, Wilburn allowed three runs on six hits with three strikeouts and three walks, including two intentional base on balls. Horn pitched the seventh to register her school record sixth career save. She struck out one and walked one. Ashley Hobbs (6-2) suffered the loss for the Purple Aces. She allowed two runs on six hits with six strikeouts and one walk in five innings. Danny Murphy gave up three runs on four hits with one strikeout in one inning of work.

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