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CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. – The Virginia softball team (12-9) welcomes Fordham, Princeton and No. 25 Syracuse to The Park for competition in the UVa Spring Break Invitational, a round-robin tournament set for this weekend.

The Cavaliers open tournament play at 9 a.m. Saturday against Princeton and will then face Syracuse at 11:30. Virginia will have a rematch against the Orange at 9 a.m. Sunday and battle Fordham at 11:30. The tournament ends for UVa with a 3 p.m. contest Monday against the Rams. A complete tournament schedule is listed at the bottom of this release; live stats for all games will be linked to

Virginia is coming off a doubleheader loss to Longwood Tuesday in its home opener. The Cavaliers fell to the Lancers 2-1 and 10-8.

Freshman Stephanie Harris continues to pace the UVa offense with a .344 average, including four doubles and 12 RBI. Sophomore Alex Skinkis is hitting .317 while junior Alison Pittman (.293) has scored a team-best 15 runs on the season.

In the circle, sophomore Melanie Mitchell has racked up seven wins and posts a 3.19 ERA. She has 114 strikeouts in 98 2/3 innings. Freshman Erica Cipolloni has made five starts; she has a 3.30 ERA to date.

Princeton is 1-2 on the year and opened its season last weekend at the UMBC Retriever Classic. The Tigers beat Iona (7-6) but fell to Siena (2-0) and Liberty (8-2).

Freshman Tory Roberts and sophomore Nikki Chu each hit .333 over the weekend to lead Princeton offensively. In the circle, three different pitchers saw action, including sophomores Liza Kuhn and Alex Peyton and senior Michelle Tolfa.

The Tigers lead the all-time series with UVa, 2-1. The Cavaliers won the last meeting between the two teams, a 2-1 decision back in 1998.

No. 25 Syracuse made history this week when it was nationally ranked for the first time in the school history, appearing in the USA Today/NFCA top-25 poll. The Orange is 16-3 on the season and has won nine of its last 10 games. Most recently, Syracuse went 4-1 at Florida’s Lipton Invitational; its only loss was to the Gators, 2-0.

Junior Lacey Kohl’s .365 average leads Syracuse this season, as does her four home runs, and senior Rachel Helman is hitting .327 with four doubles. Junior Jenna Caira, the reigning BIG EAST pitcher of the week, boasts a 1.28 ERA with a 10-2 mark on the year. Teammate Stacy Kuwik, a sophomore, has a 2.25 ERA with a 6-1 record.

Virginia and Syracuse have not previously met on the softball field.

Fordham is 9-10 on the season and has appeared in the same tournaments as Virginia the past two weekends, including the Cathedral City Classic and the Citrus Classic. The Rams went 2-3 in Lake Buena Vista, Fla., with wins over Illinois State (2-1) and North Carolina (1-0). Fordham dropped its games against Illinois (4-1), Alabama (3-1) and Notre Dame (6-0).

Junior Nicole Callahan paces the Rams offense with a .311 average. Senior Jocelyn Dearborn bats .306 with three doubles and three triples. She also posts a team-best seven RBI. All-American pitcher Jen Mineau was selected as the A-10 pitcher of the week after going 2-1 at the Citrus Classic. On the season, Mineau is 5-2 with a 1.45 ERA. She has 47 strikeouts in 53 innings of work. Teammate Chelsea Plimpton (4-7, 2.35 ERA) has also seen significant action.

Virginia holds a 1-0 advantage over Fordham in the all-time series. The lone meeting between the two teams came in 2000, a 5-4 Cavalier win in their third game of the season.

2011 UVa Spring Break Invitational

Saturday, March 12 9 a.m.
Virginia vs. Princeton 11:30 a.m.
Syracuse vs. Virginia 2 p.m.
Fordham vs. Princeton 4:30 p.m.
Syracuse vs. Fordham Sunday, March 13 9 a.m.
Virginia vs. Syracuse 11:30 a.m.
Fordham vs. Virginia 2 p.m.
Princeton vs. Syracuse 4:30 p.m.
Princeton vs. Fordham Monday, March 14 12 p.m. Princeton vs. Syracuse 3 p.m.
Fordham vs. Virginia

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