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GREENVILLE, N.C. – The Virginia softball team (4-1) opened the East Carolina Pirate Classic with an 8-0 victory over Kent State (2-3) in six innings Friday at the ECU Softball Stadium.

Virginia outhit the Golden Flashes 12-4 for the game, led by a 3-for-3 performance at the plate by both sophomore Taylor Williams and freshman Stephanie Harris. Junior Giannina Cipolloni and sophomore Alex Skinkis also contributed two hits apiece.

Sophomore pitcher Melanie Mitchell recorded her second shutout of the season and fanned 11 batters in the winning effort. She did not allow a walk in six innings of work.

Virginia took a 1-0 lead in the first inning. With one out, Williams, Marcy Bowdren and Harris each singled to load the bases. The next matter, Alex Martinez, walked to score Williams.

The Cavaliers added two more in the second. With two outs, Cipolloni singled to left, stole second and moved to third on a wild pitch. After Williams walked to put runners on the corners, Bowdren took first on a hit by pitch to load the bases. Harris then doubled to left to score Cipolloni and Williams, giving UVa a 3-0 advantage.

Virginia followed with a big fourth inning. Martinez walked and was pinch ran for by sophomore Lauren Didlake. After a Skinkis infield single, Kristen Hawkins singled to left and Didlake would come in to score after an error trying to catch Skinkis overrunning second. A Kent State illegal pitch allowed Skinkis to score and Hawkins advance before freshman Alexandra Rodriguez came on to run for Hawkins. Alison Pittman, who walked, then stole second to put runners on second and third. Another illegal pitch allowed Rodriguez to score and Pittman moved to third. Williams bunted for another single that would score Pittman, extending Virginia’s lead to 7-0.

The Cavaliers tacked on one more run in the sixth to end the game early at 8-0. Cipolloni hit a blooper over the third baseman for a single and stole second. Williams then followed with a bunt single and an error on the throw allowed Cipolloni to score.

Virginia continues play in the Pirate Classic with a game against East Carolina at 2 p.m. today.

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