Virginia Softball Plays Host to No. 23 North Carolina
CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. – The Virginia softball team (19-14, 5-4 ACC) will play host to No. 23 North Carolina in a three-game ACC series this weekend at The Park. The Cavaliers and Tar Heels will meet at 6 p.m. Friday before concluding the series with a doubleheader at 12 p.m. Saturday. Admission to all home Virginia softball games is free.
A pregame fan tailgate will be held and the second set of Virginia trading cards will be given away Friday. On Saturday, celebrate Easter at The Park with a postgame Easter egg hunt and autograph session following the second game of the doubleheader. UVa softball silicone bracelets will also be given away Saturday.
Virginia went 3-2 last week and won its second ACC series of the year with a 5-1 victory Sunday at Boston College. On Tuesday, the Cavaliers split a doubleheader with Longwood, winning the first game 2-0 before falling in game two, 3-0.
Virginia, 6-3 at home this season, is led offensively by junior shortstop Alex Skinkis (La Palma, Calif.) and senior second baseman Kennedy Byxbee (Paradise Valley, Ariz.), who are both contributing a .308 average through 33 games. Senior outfielder Giannina Cipolloni (Philadelphia, Pa.) bats .286 and leads the Cavaliers with 30 hits and 21 stolen bases. Sophomore third baseman Marcy Bowdren (Fairfax Station, Va.) adds a .284 average and a team-best 22 RBI.
In the circle, junior pitcher Melanie Mitchell (White Plains, Md.) has the third-lowest ERA among league pitchers (1.50) and is 13-7 on the season. Mitchell is also second in strikeouts with 168 in 126 innings of work. Freshman Rachel Gillen (Wilmington, Del.) is 5-6 on the year with a 3.76 ERA.
No. 23 North Carolina enters the weekend with a 24-10 record and a 3-3 mark in ACC play. Last weekend, the Tar Heels lost the series at No. 22 Florida State, two games to one, after the Seminoles edged UNC in the final game, 3-1.
Four Tar Heels are batting over .300 on the season, led by sophomore Amy Nece’s .395 average, a mark that ranks second among conference players. Seniors Kelli Wheeler (.333), sophomore Logan Foulks (.323) and senior Ally Blake (.317) also contribute high averages offensively.
Sophomore pitcher Lori Spingola’s 18 wins are the most from any conference pitcher this season. The reigning ACC pitcher of the week has 183 strikeouts in 142.2 innings to go along with a 2.21 ERA for UNC.
Friday will mark the 100th meeting between Virginia and North Carolina, with the Tar Heels owning a 71-27-1 advantage in the all-time series. The Cavaliers and took two-of-three last season in Chapel Hill.