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ATLANTA – The Virginia softball team (15-5, 2-0 ACC) opened conference play by taking a doubleheader from Georgia Tech (15-11, 0-2 ACC) Saturday in Atlanta, Ga. The Cavaliers earned a 3-1 win in game one before topping the Yellow Jackets 13-2 in five innings in game two.

The Cavaliers outhit Georgia Tech 7-3 in game one led by sophomore Marcy Bowdren’s (Fairfax Station, Va.) 3-for-3 performance at the plate. Junior pitcher Melanie Mitchell (White Plains, Md.) tallied 11 strikeouts to move to 9-3 on the season. It marked the fourth game in which she has tallied double figure strikeouts.

Virginia got on the board early with two runs in the top of the first inning. With two outs, Erica Cipolloni (Philadelphia, Pa.) drew a walk. The next batter, Bowdren, doubled to right center, allowing Cipolloni to score from first. After an illegal pitch allowed Bowdren to take third, Stephanie Harris (Knoxville, Tenn.) beat out a dribbler to first. Bowdren came in to score and gave the Cavaliers an early 2-0 lead.

UVa added another run in the top of the third inning. Again with two outs, Bowdren singled to center. Junior Alex Skinkis (La Palma, Calif.) followed with a triple all the way to the right center field wall and Bowdren slid in safe at home for a 3-0 lead.

The Yellow Jackets got a run back in the bottom of the fifth inning. Mitchell allowed a leadoff single by Katie Johnsky. Then with two outs, Georgia Tech put more runners on with a hit by pitch, walk and RBI hit by pitch by Kate Kuzma with the bases loaded to scored the run. Mitchell rebounded by striking out Alysha Rudnik, the team’s leading hitter, to end the threat.

Junior pitcher Hope Rush (9-6) took the loss for Georgia Tech. The 2010 ACC Freshman of the Year, Rush finished with four strikeouts and two walks. She threw all seven innings.

In game two, the Cavaliers put together 13 runs on 11 hits and batted through the lineup twice with six runs in both the second and fifth innings.

Senior Giannina Cipolloni (Philadelphia, Pa.) was 3-for-4 at the plate in game two with two RBI, while Bowdren was 2-for-4 with a game-high five RBI. Freshman pitcher Rachel Gillen (Wilmington, Del.) was 2-for-2 at the plate.

Gillen threw five innings in the complete game outing. She finished with five strikeouts and did not walk a batter to improve to 5-2 on the season and earn her first career conference victory.

With their two wins Saturday, the Cavaliers have ensured a series victory over Georgia Tech for the first time since 2008, head coach Eileen Schmidt’s first year at the helm. That year, Virginia took two-of-three in Atlanta. It also marks the first series loss for the Yellow Jackets since April of 2008 when they were swept at NC State.

Virginia and Georgia Tech conclude the series at 1 p.m. Sunday in Atlanta.

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