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CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. – The Virginia softball team (6-2) opens the home portion of the 2012 schedule this weekend by playing host to the UVa Invitational Friday through Sunday at The Park. The Cavaliers welcome Colgate, Ohio and Saint Joseph’s for the round-robin tournament. Live statistics for all games will be available at

Virginia opens the weekend with a doubleheader against Ohio at 1 p.m. Friday. On Saturday, the Cavaliers will face Colgate at 10 a.m. and Saint Joseph’s at 12:30 p.m., before closing the tournament with another game against the Hawks at 3 p.m. Sunday. There is free admission for all games at The Park.

Through the first eight games of the season, seven Virginia players are hitting over .300, led by three Cavaliers at .375 – sophomore Erica Cipolloni (Philadelphia, Pa.), junior Kristen Hawkins (Elizabeth, Pa.) and freshman Megan Harris (Knoxville, Tenn.). Cipolloni has contributed a team-best nine hits and eight runs while sophomore Marcy Bowdren’s eight RBI are tops on the team. Bowdren (Fairfax Station, Va.), hitting .333, joins Cipolloni with three home runs apiece.

In the circle, junior pitcher Melanie Mitchell (White Plains, Md.) is 4-1 on the year with a 0.98 ERA. Splitting time with freshman pitcher Rachel Gillen (2-1, 2.62 ERA), Mitchell has tallied 39 strikeouts on the young season.

Ohio is off to a 4-4 start and went 1-3 last weekend at Campbell’s Hampton Inn Tournament. Senior Jillian Van Wagnen is hitting .476 with a team-best 10 hits and seven runs while going 5-for-5 on the basepaths thus far. Classmate Alexis Joseph is averaging .346 and has contributed nine hits and six runs. Freshman pitcher Lauren McClery is 2-2 on the year with a 1.67 ERA and 35 strikeouts.

Virginia leads the all-time series with Ohio, 11-2. The two teams last met in Charlottesville in 2008, an 8-3 Bobcat victory. Virginia last beat Ohio 6-0 to open the 2002 season.

Colgate is opening the year at the UVa Invitational. Last season, the Raiders finished with a 27-21 record and went 16-3 in the Patriot League. Virginia will be meeting Colgate for the first time.

Saint Joseph’s joined Ohio at the Hampton Inn Tournament last weekend and won the team title after finishing 3-1. The Hawks also jumped up to No. 16 in the most recent mid-major poll. Sophomore Stephanie Earling is hitting .273 while junior Rochelle Christman contributes a .250 average; both have three hits apiece on the season. Senior pitcher Erin Gallagher went 1-1 last weekend and finished with a 1.32 ERA and 17 strikeouts.

The Cavaliers and Hawks have met just once previously, with Virginia earning a 12-3 win during the 2006 season.

UVa Invitational Tournament Schedule
Feb. 24-26, 2012 | The Park

Friday, Feb. 24
Virginia vs. Ohio, 1 p.m.
Virginia vs. Ohio, 3 p.m.

Saturday, Feb. 25
Virginia vs. Colgate, 10 a.m.
Virginia vs. Saint Joseph’s, 12:30 p.m.
Colgate vs. Ohio, 3 p.m.
Saint Joseph’s vs. Ohio, 5:30 p.m.

Sunday, Feb. 26
Ohio vs. Colgate, 10 a.m.
Saint Joseph’s vs. Colgate, 12:30 p.m.
Virginia vs. Saint Joseph’s, 3 p.m.

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