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Feb. 25, 2007

Box Score

CATHEDRAL CITY, Calif. – The Virginia softball team split a pair of games against nationally-ranked teams Saturday night (Feb. 24) in the Palm Springs Classic at Big League Dreams Sports Complex. The Cavaliers began the evening with a 10-9 eight-inning win over 22nd-ranked Fresno State and then fell to No. 6 Oregon State 6-2 to close out the tournament. UVa finished the tourney with a 2-4 record and now stands at 7-9 on the season.

Against Fresno State (6-6), the Cavaliers sent 10 batters to the plate in the first inning and took a 5-0 lead. Fourth-year third baseman Meghan O’Leary (Baton Rouge, La.) led off with an infield single to second base and fourth-year second baseman Elea Crockett (Tucson, Ariz.) followed with a single to left field. UVa loaded the bases when first-year first baseman Kelly Haller (Leesburg, Va.) was hit by a pitch. A wild pitch brought O’Leary home with the first run of the game. A single by fourth-year designated player Amy McKean (Kent, Wash.) scored Crockett with McKean taking second base on the throw. Third-year Casey Steffan (Long Valley, N.J.), who was pinch running for Haller, scored on a wild pitch with McKean moving to third. First-year left fielder Nicole Koren (Warminster, Pa.) drew a walk and then stole second base and first-year shortstop Abby Snyder (Cantonment, Fla.) knocked in McKean and Koren with the fourth and fifth runs of the inning with a double to left center.

After holding Fresno State scoreless for three innings, the Bulldogs took advantage of three UVa errors to put eight runs on the board (three earned) on five hits in the fourth inning. Jenna Cervantez drove in Merryann Barr with the first run with a double down the left field line. Barr added a two-run double to left field and then scored the eighth run of the inning on Robin Mackin’s double to left center. Only three of the eight runs were earned. The Cavaliers came right back with three runs in the bottom half of the fourth to tie the game at 8-8. Third-year center fielder Lindsey Preuss (La Plata, Md.) started the rally with an infield single and then stole second base with one out. Crockett drew a walk and McKean followed with a double off third base that scored Preuss. Fresno looked to be out of the inning, but Koren’s pop up was dropped by the Bulldogs’ first baseman, which allowed McKean to move to third. McKean then scored on a passed ball to tie the game at 8-8.

The Bulldogs took advantage of another UVa error to take a 9-8 lead in the top of the sixth. Virginia answered with its own unearned run in the bottom of the sixth. Haller drew a one-out walk and fourth-year Brooke Sorber (Alexandria. Va.) came in to pinch run and she moved to second base on McKean’s walk. Koren then hit a ground ball to second and Fresno tried to turn a double play but the shortstop threw high to first for an error, which allowed Sorber to score the tying run.

In the eighth inning, the Bulldogs got back-to-back singles to load the bases with one out, but second-year Karla Wilburn (Del Mar, Calif.) stymied the Bulldogs with a force out at home and a ground out to third. O’Leary began the home half of the eighth at second base and Crockett followed with an infield single. A throwing error allowed both runners to move to second and third with no outs. Sorber drew a walk to load the bases and after a force out at home, Koren ended the drama with a fielders’ choice RBI that plated Crockett with the winning run.

Wilburn picked up the victory in relief to improve to 5-5 on the season. In 4.1 innings she allowed one unearned run on four hits with a pair of strikeouts. Fourth-year Coty Tolar (Marietta, Ga.) went the first 3.2 innings and gave up eight runs (three earned) on seven hits with one strikeout and three walks. Robin Mackin (5-5) suffered the loss in the circle. In 7.1 innings she gave up five runs (one earned) on four hits. Mackin struck out six and walked seven batters. Barr started the game and gave up five runs on four hits.

Crockett went 2-4 with three runs scored against Fresno State, while McKean was 2-3 with two runs and two RBI.

In the Oregon State (8-4) game, the Beavers took a 2-0 lead in the third inning on Stefanie Ewing’s two-run single to left field. The Cavaliers tied the game at 2-2 in the top of the fifth inning. Fourth-year catcher Michelle Salmiery (San Jose, Calif.) reached on a fielding error by OSU pitcher Ta’Tyana McElroy. Steffan pinch ran for Salmiery and moved to second on a wild pitch. She scored UVa’s first run of the game on O’Leary’s single up the middle. O’Leary moved to second on the throw home and then Crockett reached on a fielders’ choice grounder. Haller tied the game at 2-2 with a hard single to right field that scored O’Leary. Oregon State broke the game open with four runs in the sixth. Dani Chisholm led off with a triple to right field and scored what proved to be the game-winning run on Natalie Johnson’s RBI single to right field. After a walk to Mia Longfellow, Cambria Miranda followed with a two-run triple down the right field line. Ewing’s RBI ground out scored Miranda from third to make the score 6-2.

Tolar took the loss to fall to 2-3 on the season. She pitched the final 2.1 innings and gave up four runs on five hits with three walks. Wilburn went the first 3.2 innings and gave up two runs on seven hits with two walks and a strikeout. In the complete-game effort, McElroy (3-3) limited UVa to two runs (one earned) on five hits with five strikeouts and three walks.

O’Leary had two hits, a RBI and scored a run for Virginia.

The Cavaliers return to action March 2-4 when they compete in the JU Invitational in Jacksonville, Fla. UVa opens the tournament on March 2 with a 1 p.m. game against Michigan and then at 3 p.m. Virginia takes on Notre Dame.

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