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HARRISONBURG, Va. – The Virginia softball team (19-13) defeated James Madison (14-18) by a score of 5-4 Wednesday at Veterans Memorial Stadium in Harrisonburg, Va. Sophomore Clara Kendall led the Cavaliers with three RBI in the winning effort.

Virginia recorded six hits in the contest, including two singles by freshman Alex Skinkis. Seniors Nicole Koren, Sarah Tacke and Abby Snyder also singled in addition to Kendall’s double.

Freshman Melanie Mitchell picked up her 15th win of the season with the complete game outing. She finished with eight strikeouts and no walks.

The Dukes got on the board first, scoring a run in the bottom of the fourth. With one out, catcher Katie Spitzer doubled to right center and would move to third on Haley Johnson’s bloop single to center. Spitzer scored the go-ahead run on a suicide squeeze when Caitlen Manning bunted down the first base line.

Virginia answered in the top of the fifth thanks to Kendall’s double to right center with the bases loaded. Koren and Tacke, who both walked earlier in the inning, along with Skinkis, who singled, scored on the hit as Virginia took a 3-1 advantage.

JMU’s Ashley Burnham helped the Dukes cut the lead to one with a solo shot to left in the bottom of the fifth.

Virginia picked up two runs in the top of the seventh that proved to be huge. Koren led off the inning with a walk and would move to second on a wild pitch. Skinkis then singled up the middle to score Koren from second as Skinkis took second on the throw. She moved to third on Kendall’s groundout to short and scored on a wild pitch to give Virginia a 5-2 advantage.

The Dukes came fighting back in the bottom of the seventh. With one out, Brittney Dyson singled to center. Then with two down, pinch hitter Megan Shinaberry was hit by a pitch to put two on and bring the tying run to the plate. Burnham came through again and hit a double to right center to cut the Cavalier lead to 5-4.

The next batter, Lori Botkin, was thrown out by Kendall at short on a nice backhand in the hole to give Virginia the victory.

The two teams played in front of a record crowd of 712 at JMU’s Veterans Memorial Stadium, which is celebrating its inaugural season.

Virginia continues Atlantic Coast Conference play against No. 22 North Carolina at 6 p.m. Friday at The Park.

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