Virginia Downs Norfolk State 9-1 and 3-2
CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. – The Virginia softball team (10-9) downed Norfolk State 9-1 and 3-2 in a doubleheader Wednesday at The Park.
Senior Nicole Koren and freshman Kristen Hawkins both went yard in game one, while sophomore Kennedy Byxbee went 3-for-3 at the plate to lead Virginia in game two.
Virginia outhit the Spartans 9-1 in the first game, led by multi-hit performances from Giannina Cipolloni and Sarah Tacke. Cipolloni, Tacke and Hawkins each finished with two RBI in the winning effort. Alex Skinkis, Clara Kendall and Abby Snyder also recorded singles for the Orange and Blue.
Norfolk State was first on the board, taking advantage of a Cavalier error to score in the third. But Virginia responded when Koren hit her team-best sixth home run of the year to tie the game at one.
The Cavaliers batted around in the fourth and finished the stanza with six runs and a 7-1 lead. Skinkis, Kendall and Cipolloni each had singles in the inning before Tacke knocked a two-out double into left center.
In the fifth, Hawkins hit a two-run shot to dead center that also scored Kendall, who led off the inning with a walk. It was her third home run of the season.
Nicole Koren (4-1) earned the win in the circle, tossing all five innings and allowing just one hit. She finished with three strikeouts.
Teammate Melanie Mitchell (6-7) followed up with a season-high 16 strikeouts and also limited the Spartans to one hit in the second game. Her previous season best was 13 strikeouts against Delaware State on March 6. She recorded her eighth complete game of the season.
Virginia outhit the Spartans 7-1 in the second game, including two singles and a double from Byxbee, who drove in two of UVa’s three runs. Tacke also recorded two singles while Lauren McCaskey and Rachel Harvey each added singles.
The Cavaliers jumped out to a 1-0 lead in the first. With one out, McCaskey singled to center. She came around to score on Tacke’s two-out RBI single to center.
Norfolk State tied the game in the second. Casey Pomeroy led off the inning with a walk and she would eventually come around to score on an RBI single by teammate Sarah Spanka.
The Cavaliers added two more runs in the third to take a 3-1 advantage. McCaskey walked and Tacke doubled to left field to put runners on second and third. With two outs, Byxbee singled through the right side to score both of her teammates.
The Spartans cut the lead to 3-2 in the seventh, scoring on a double steal to bring home Pomeroy, who walked to lead off the inning. Mitchell struck out two consecutive batters before a groundout as Norfolk State left a runner on third to end the game.
The Spartans fell to 2-11 on the year.
Virginia opens ACC play Saturday at Maryland. Game times are set for 1 p.m. and 3 p.m. in College Park, Md.