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CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. The Virginia softball team (9-5) opens up the home portion of the 2009 schedule this weekend with a three-games series against George Washington at the The Park. A doubleheader is scheduled for 1 p.m. Saturday with the series wrapping up at 1 p.m. Sunday.

The games will be the first at The Park since a major renovation project was completed during the offseason. Upgrades include a new infield playing surface, a new Patriot Bermuda grass outfield and an improved drainage and irrigation system. Both team dugouts have been replaced with larger areas that feature handsome wood interiors and new safety screens. The team bullpens were also upgraded, a second batting cage was added and the new outfield fence is now offset by a warning track.

Fans will also enjoy a larger, modern scoreboard located in right field. The dimensions of The Park were slightly altered and increased to 210-220-210. The official dedication ceremony for The Park is scheduled for March 29 when the Cavaliers take on rival Virginia Tech.

The Cavaliers are coming off a 3-1 record at South Carolina’s Gamecock Invitational last weekend, with wins against Troy (7-1), North Florida (1-0) and Sacred Heart (12-4). The lone setback of the weekend was an 11-3 loss to Eastern Illinois.

Sophomore Nicole Koren was named the Atlantic Coast Conference player of the week following a 6-of-13 performance at the plate during the tournament. She had the game-winning RBI in UVa’s 1-0 win over North Florida on Saturday and followed up with a 4-for-4 performance at the plate Sunday against Sacred Heart. She hit her fifth home run against the Pioneers and concluded the weekend with seven RBI.

For the season, Koren paces the Cavalier offense, hitting .475 on the season with 19 hits and 19 RBI. Teammate Sarah Tacke is batting .324 (12 hits, 11 RBI) and is second behind Koren with three home runs on the year.

Karla Wilburn is 8-1 in the circle on the season and needs just one victory to match her win total of nine from last season, when she compiled a 9-19 record. Wilburn has nine complete games in her 10 starts, including three shutouts. She enters the weekend with a 1.62 ERA.

George Washington is 2-4 on the weekend and is coming off two wins against UMBC Tuesday at home. The Colonials defeated the Retrievers 2-0 in the first game and 10-7 in the second.

Krissy Mackiewicz leads the Colonials with a .364 batting average in the team’s six games, while Tori Sensi his .333. Amanda Gabriel and Kara Clauss have split time in the circle. Gabriel has a 3.89 ERA and is 1-2 on the season.


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