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ELON, N.C. – The University of Virginia softball team (1-0) blanked UNC Wilmington 9-0 in the season opener of the 2010 campaign Sunday at the Elon Tournament in Elon, N.C. Freshman pitcher Melanie Mitchell (White Plains, Md.) earned her first career win in the circle and finished with 12 strikeouts.

Virginia outhit the Seahawks (1-2) 10-4 in the contest, including a 2-for-4 performance from freshman Taylor Williams (Woodbridge, Va.). Sophomore Gianinna Cipolloni (Philadelphia, Pa.) hit a triple and senior Nicole Koren (Warminster, Pa.) also contributed a three-run homer in the winning effort.

Mitchell threw six innings and allowed just four hits. She did not walk a batter.

Virginia scored in every inning but the first.

The Cavaliers took a 2-0 lead in the bottom of the second. With one out, junior Lauren McCaskey (Santa Barbara, Calif.) singled and newcomer Kennedy Byxbee (Paradise Valley, Ariz.) reached on a fielder’s choice as McCaskey was thrown out at second. With two outs, Alison Pittman (Newburg, Pa.) singled up the middle, advancing to second on the throw as Byxbee moved over to third. Cipolloni then tripled to right center to score Byxbee and Pittman.

UVa added another run in the third. With one out, Koren walked and Abby Snyder (Cantonment, Fla.) singled to right, advancing Koren all the way to third. She would then score on sophomore Alexa Martinez’s (Fort Lauderdale, Fla.) RBI single to center.

Virginia took a 5-0 lead in the fourth. With one down, Byxbee singled through the right side. Pittman reached on a fielding error, laying down a sac bunt, to put runners on the corners. After Pittman stole second, Cipolloni notched a sac fly to right field, scoring Byxbee. Pittman advanced to third on the flyout and later scored on Williams’ RBI single to right field.

Another Koren walk led off the Virginia fifth. After advancing to second on a passed ball, freshman Alex Skinkis (La Plama, Calif.) doubled to left in her first career at-bat to score Koren. The Cavaliers led 6-0 after five innings of play.

With two outs in the bottom of the six, Williams notched her second hit of the game with a single to center. After Williams stole second, senior Sarah Tacke (Merced, Calif.) was hit by a pitch to put two runners on. Koren then homered to deep center, a three-run shot that ended the game in a run rule. It was Koren’s 13th home run of her career.

Virginia will play host Elon at 3:30 p.m.

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