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Feb. 9, 2007

Box Score

TAMPA, Fla. – The Virginia softball team opened the 2007 season with a pair of extra-inning victories Friday (Feb. 9) at the Best Western Invitational at the USF Softball Field. The Cavaliers won the first pitchers’ dual 1-0 in 10 innings over Western Kentucky and then registered a 2-1 nine-inning win over Arkansas.

Fourth-year Coty Tolar (Marietta, Ga.) and second-year Karla Wilburn (Del Mar, Calif.) combined to pitch 19 innings and limit Western Kentucky and Arkansas to one run. The duo shared the shutout in the win over the Hilltoppers. Tolar earned the victory with two innings of hitless relief. Wilburn threw the first eight innings and gave up only four hits with seven strikeouts and two walks. Tolar then started vs. Arkansas and went five innings, allowing one run on five hits with four strikeouts and two walks. Wilburn registered the victory over Arkansas with a four-inning relief effort. She gave up two hits with three strikeouts and one walk.

In season-opening pitchers’ duel against Western Kentucky, fourth-year Meghan O’Leary (Baton Rouge, La.) broke up Ryan Rogge’s perfect game with a one-out single in the top of the seventh. The Cavaliers scored the lone run of the game in the top of the 10th inning. Using the international tie-breaker (which begins in the eighth inning), fourth-year second baseman Elea Crockett (Tucson, Ariz.) was placed on second base. With two outs, first-year Kelly Haller (Leesburg, Va.) singled to right field to score Crockett from second base. It was Haller’s first career hit and only the second of the game by UVa. Virginia cut down the tying run at the plate in the bottom of the 10th. Fourth-year catcher Michelle Salmiery (San Jose, Calif.) corralled a pitch that got away and threw to Tolar, who tagged out the runner at the plate. UVa got out of a no-out bases loaded jam in the fifth inning. Wilburn got a strikeout and then began a 1-2-3 double play for the final two outs. The Cavaliers also turned a double play in the seventh with the winning run on second base. Rogge went the distance in the circle for the Hilltoppers, allowing only two hits with 15 strikeouts and no walks.

In the Arkansas game, the Lady Razorbacks put the first run on the scoreboard in the top of the sixth inning when Jocelyne Moncrief scored Dayna Huckabee from third base with a groundout. Virginia came back to tie the game at 1-1 with an unearned run in the bottom of the seventh. Salmiery led off with a single down the left field line. Crockett then faked a bunt and slapped a hit over the third baseman’s head and O’Leary loaded the bases with no outs with a bunt single. After a strikeout, Salmiery was thrown out a home on Haller’s fielder’s choice grounder. Arkansas’ catcher tried to complete a double play, but her throw to first hit Haller for a throwing error that allowed Crockett to score the tying run.

UVa scored the game-winning run in the bottom of the ninth inning. First-year right fielder Sarah Tacke (Merced, Calif.) was placed on second base to start the inning. Tacke moved to third on Salmiery’s sacrifice bunt and then O’Leary ended the drama with a base hit to left field that brought Tacke home with the game-winning run.

Arkansas’ Katy Henry was the tough-luck losing pitcher. She gave up two unearned runs on six hits with 12 strikeouts and three walks.

The Cavaliers continue play in the Best Western Invitational on Saturday (Feb. 10) with a 12:30 p.m. game against host South Florida. UVa will also play a second game at either 3:00 p.m. or 5:30 p.m. The tournament wraps up on Sunday (Feb. 11).

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