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March 16, 2006

CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. – The University of Virginia softball team begins its 21-game Atlantic Coast Conference slate with a three-game series this weekend against in-state rival Virginia Tech at the Tech Softball Park. The Cavaliers are scheduled to take on the Hokies in a doubleheader beginning at noon on Saturday (Mar. 18) and wrap up the series with a single game at 1:00 p.m. on Sunday (Mar. 19).

The winner of the three-game series earns a point in the Commonwealth Challenge, presented by Adelphia. Virginia leads the Commonwealth Challenge 11-5 over Virginia Tech. UVa needs just half a point to clinch the first edition of the Commonwealth Challenge.

The Cavaliers currently stand at 13-7 on the season. Virginia will attempt to bounce back from a pair of one-run losses suffered against Cal-State Northridge (5-4, 9 inn.) and Loyola Marymount (2-1) at the Loyola Marymount Tournament on March 9.

“We are excited to begin our ACC schedule,” said head coach Karen Johns. “We had a good preseason and are anxious to start the next part of our schedule. Virginia Tech is a very good team and I think it will be an exciting and competitive series.”

Third-year catcher/designated player Amy McKean (Kent, Wash.) leads the Cavaliers with an impressive .431 batting average (22-51). She has eight extra-base hits, including a career-best five home runs. McKean also leads the team with 19 RBI, 11 walks and a .784 slugging percentage. Third-year second baseman Elea Crockett (Tucson, Ariz.) is hitting .333 (10-30), while third-year catcher/designated player Michelle Salmiery (San Jose, Calif.) is batting .300 (18-60) with nine RBI. In the circle, fourth-year Erin Horn (Tallahassee, Fla.) sports a 4-2 record with a 1.58 ERA.

The Hokies stand at 17-6 on the season and were ranked as high as 23rd in the Mar. 7 Softball Top 25 Poll. Virginia Tech leads the all-time series 11-10. Virginia’s last faced the Hokies in the 2005 ACC Tournament, where the Cavaliers’ fell 2-1 in the semifinals. The Cavaliers won two of three games during the regular season series and also won 2-1 in the two teams’ first meeting in the ACC Tournament.

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