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Junior infielder Lauren Didlake and the Virginia softball team open conference play this weekend at Georgia Tech with a three-game series. The Cavaliers will face the Yellow Jackets in a doubleheader at 1 p.m. Saturday before the series finale at 1 p.m. Sunday. Didlake, a native of Bowling Green, Va., recently sat down with VirginiaSports.com to talk about the season, her interest in engineering and her love for hunting, fishing and country music.

Question: How would you describe the season so far?
Didlake:
We came out pretty strong to start the year. We hit a few bumps in the road last weekend but we’re going to come back out this weekend against Georgia Tech. It’s our first ACC games of the year and we’re excited for that.

Question: What are some things this team has learned?
Didlake:
We have learned how to make adjustments early. For example, it’s important to come out strong and aggressive when you see a new pitcher instead of waiting until you’ve been through the lineup. We have learned about ourselves a lot. We are a much more aggressive team than we have been in the past. We want to get on base early.

Question: How is the team chemistry this season?
Didlake:
We are extremely close. We hang out a lot outside of practice. It seems like everyone gets along really well. We eat dinner at JPJ every night together. Sometimes we’ll have bonfires over at (former teammate Cynthia Javaras) Javy’s house, also known as The Shelter. We will cook for someone’s birthday. I like to make chicken and cornbread is my specialty.

Question: Why did you choose to come to UVa?
Didlake:
I decided in high school that I wanted to go into engineering. Basically what happened was my guidance counselor told me I was good at math and science so it was something I should look into. I applied to a bunch of engineering schools on the east coast and it ended up coming down to UVa and Virginia Tech. I visited UVa for an engineering weekend and the person I stayed with convinced me I wanted to come to UVa. Then I came to softball camp and talked to Coach (Schmidt) and she told me if I came to UVa I could try out for the team.

Question: What is your focus in the engineering school?
Didlake:
My major is civil and environmental engineering. I have an internship back at home at the Department of Public Works at Fort A.P. Hill, Va. Over winter break I did a lot of erosion and sediment control inspections. It has a lot to do with pollution and I have also done a lot of culvert work with creeks. In the engineering division, we take the work orders from all the places on base and make a project plan and execute what needs to be done.

Question: What has been your favorite class at UVa?
Didlake:
That’s a tough question. I don’t really take “fun” classes. My favorite though has probably been statics. We learned how to determine the forces of beams. I also liked geotechnical engineering. It is a soil mechanics class and you learn how to determine the compaction of soil before you build something on top of it.

Question: What do you like to do for fun?
Didlake:
From November to January, I hunt every Saturday with my family. In the spring and summer I like to go fishing with my brother, Buck. I have a personalized UVa finishing pole with a blue reel and orange and blue stitching. I go to a lot of concerts. I have seen Luke Bryan about five times in the past year and a half. My sister Courtney comes with me and we try to get as close to the front as we can.

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