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Feb. 23, 2007

CATHEDRAL CITY, Calif. – The Virginia softball team hit five home runs on the evening, but only came out with a split during the first day of the Palm Springs Classic Thursday (Feb. 22) at the Big League Dreams Sports Complex Yankee Field. The Cavaliers tied the school record with four home runs against UNLV, but fell to the Runnin’ Rebels 7-6 in eight innings. UVa rebounded with a 7-5 win over Brigham Young to salvage a split on the evening. Virginia now stands at 6-6 on the season.

UVa’s game against UNLV was scoreless through four innings, but the Cavaliers exploded for three home runs to take a 4-0 lead in the fifth inning. Third-year center fielder Lindsey Preuss (La Plata, Md.) started the home run barrage with a solo shot to deep left field to lead off the inning. Then with two outs, first-year first baseman Kelly Haller (Leesburg, Va.) drilled a home to straight-away center field. First-year shortstop Abby Snyder (Cantonment, Fla.) followed with a single to shortstop and then fourth-year designated player Amy McKean (Kent, Wash.) capped off the inning with a two-run homer to left center.

UNLV answered with five runs in the bottom of the fifth inning to take a 5-4 lead. The Runnin’ Rebels scored their first two runs when a single by Kelli Fangonilo turned into a two-base fielding error. Kendall Fearn tied the game at 4-4 with a two-run single and then scored the go-ahead run on a wild pitch. Fearn gave UNLV a 6-4 lead with a RBI single in the sixth.

Virginia rallied with two outs in the seventh. Snyder singled through the left side of the infield and then McKean belted an opposite-field two-run homer down the right field line to tie the game at 6-6. McKean tied the single game school record with her two home runs. It is the ninth time a Cavalier has hit two homers in a game and the third time (and third consecutive season) UVa has hit four homers in a single game.

UVa failed to score in the top of the eighth using the international tie-breaker. The Runnin’ Rebels pulled out the win in the bottom of the eighth on Fearn’s bases loaded single.

Second-year Karla Wilburn (Del Mar, Calif.) started in the circle and took the loss, falling to 3-4. In 4.2 innings, Wilburn gave up four runs (three earned) on five hits. She struck out four and walked four. She re-entered the game in the bottom of the seventh with two outs and gave up the unearned run in the eighth. Fourth-year Coty Tolar (Marietta, Ga.) tossed 2.2 innings and gave up three runs on six hits and a pair of walks. Stephanie Bregante (3-1) earned the win for UNLV with one inning of relief work. She struck out all three batters she faced in the eighth inning. Heather Slettvet went the first 4.2 innings for the Runnin’ Rebels and allowed four runs on six hits with three strikeouts. Christie Robinson relieved Slettvet and threw 2.1 innings while allowing two runs on four hits.

In the 7-5 win over Brigham Young, the Cavaliers got off to a 3-0 lead in the top of the second on fourth-year catcher Michelle Salmiery’s (San Jose, Calif.) three-run homer to right field. First-year left fielder Nicole Koren (Warminster, Pa.) walked and Preuss hit a hustle double to left before Salmiery’s second homer of the season.

The Cougars came right back to tie the game at 3-3 in the bottom of the second. Jodi Norton had a RBI single and then Angie Quiocho hit a two-run homer to left center. The Cavaliers came right back and scored a single run in the fourth to take a 4-3 lead. McKean reached second when the first baseman attempted to tag her out running to first and the ball squirted away. Third-year Casey Steffan (Long Valley, N.J.), who was pinch running for McKean, scored on Koren’s fielder’s choice grounder to second base.

UVa added three runs in the fifth to extend its lead to 7-3. McKean led off with a walk and stole second base. With one out, first-year right fielder Sarah Tacke (Merced, Calif.) was hit by a pitch and McKean came around to score on Preuss’ single to left. Preuss moved up to second on an error by BYU’s left fielder with Tacke taking third. Salmiery then drove in her fourth and fifth runs of the game with a single to left field. The Cougars made the score 7-5 on Tracee Hoch’s two-run homer to left center.

Wilburn went the distance in the circle for the Cavaliers to improve to 4-4 on the season. She gave up five runs on 10 hits with one strikeout and one walk. Christie Zinanti fell to 3-2 in the circle for BYU. In a complete-game effort, she allowed seven runs (five earned) on nine hits. She struck out six and walked three.

The Cavaliers continue play in the Palm Springs Classic Friday with a pair of games. UVa plays Cal State Fullerton and Cal Poly San Luis Obispo at 8:30 p.m. (ET) and 11:30 p.m. (ET), respectively.

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