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GREENVILLE, N.C. The Virginia softball team (2-1) knocked off Middle Tennessee (0-3) by a score of 7-2 Sunday at the Pirate Invitational in Greenville, N.C. Third-year Nicole Koren belted her first career home run, a three-run shot in the bottom of the fifth inning. First-year Stephanie Coates also picked up her first collegiate win in the circle for the Orange and Blue.

Virginia finished with seven runs off seven hits in the contest. Koren was the only Cavalier with two hits, adding a single in addition to her home run. Alison Pittman, Carly Winger, Sarah Tacke, Clara Kendall and Casey Steffan also registered singles in the winning effort.

Coates (1-0) went the distance, allowing just two runs on 10 hits, thanks in part to a solid defensive effort. She also tallied two strikeouts. MTSU’s Caty Jutson (0-2) took the loss and finished with six strikeouts and five walks. The Blue Raiders also committed two errors in the game.

Middle Tennessee got on the board early. Corrie Abel led off the game with double to right and a groundout moved her over to third. She scored later in the inning on a Coates wild pitch.

Virginia came back in the bottom half of the inning to tie the game. Pittman led off for the Cavaliers with a walk and stole second. A sacrifice bunt by Giannina Cipolloni moved Pittman over to third and she scored on a Winger groundout to the right side.

UVa added two runs in the bottom of the second and one more in the third. Koren’s single began the second, followed by walks by Abby Snyder and Casey Steffan to load the bases. With one out, Pittman singled to center to score Koren and keep the bases juiced. A sacrifice fly to left field by Cipolloni scored Koren.

In the third, Tacke reached on a Blue Raider error and third-year Megan Wind came on to pinch run, making her Virginia debut. A sac bunt from Kendall moved Wind over to third and she scored on a Snyder sacrifice popup to shallow center which the shortstop chased down.

Middle Tennessee added a score in the fifth to cut the lead to 4-2, but the Cavaliers also had a big inning, thanks to Koren’s three-run homer. With one out, Tacke and Kendall reached on back-to-back singles and each would move up a base after a wild pitch. Koren then belted the ball over the left field fence. It was the first home run for Virginia this season.

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