Feb. 7, 2018
|Virginia at Cowgirl Classic|
|Date/Time||Feb. 8 – 6:30 & 8:30 p.m. | Feb. 9 – 2 & 4:30 p.m.
Feb. 10 – 11 a.m.
|Location||Lake Charles, La.|
|Live Video||McNeese All-Access|
CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. – Virginia softball opens its 2018 campaign Thursday (Feb. 8) as the Cavaliers face McNeese in a doubleheader on day one of the Cowgirl Classic in Lake Charles, La.
The Cavaliers continue their opening weekend with Friday (Feb. 9) matchups against Houston Baptist and No. 20 Tulsa, before wrapping play up against Southern on Saturday (Feb. 10). Fans can follow opening weekend through live stats and a live video stream, both of which are linked at VirginiaSports.com, or by following the Hoos on Twitter (@UVASoftball).
Thursday vs. McNeese DH – 6:30 p.m. (ET)
Friday vs. Houston Baptist – 2 p.m.
Friday vs. No. 20 Tulsa – 4:30 p.m.
Saturday vs. Southern – 11 a.m.
Virginia returns four field players who started more than 30 games a season ago, including seniors Allison Davis (Oak Hill, Va.) and Danni Ingraham (Laguna Niguel, Calif.). Davis boasts the top batting average among returners, hitting at a .328 clip in 2017. Ingraham, meanwhile, led the Hoos with 10 home runs and 34 RBI las season.
The Cavaliers also return their top three pitchers in the circle as Erika Osherow (Darien, Conn.), Lacy Smith (Lancaster, Pa.) and Lexi Mettler (Turlock, Calif.) combined to work 215.2 innings in 2017.
- Virginia opens its second season under head coach Joanna Hardin by visiting her former home in McNeese. Hardin was an assistant for the Cowgirls in 2013 and 2014 before taking over the program in 2015 and 2016.
- The Cavaliers returned to the ACC Tournament in Hardin’s inaugural campaign, the first trip to the postseason since 2013. The Hoos nine ACC victories marked the most since 2010.
- UVA is facing a trio of new foes in the Cowgirl Classic as the Cavaliers will meet McNeese, Houston Baptist and Southern for the first time ever. The Hoos have faced Tulsa just twice, with the most recent meeting in 2016.
- Virginia is making its first trip to Louisiana since playing in the Purple & Gold Challenge at LSU in 2013.
- The Wahoos are 25-13 all-time in season openers.
- McNeese returns as the Southland Conference favorite after winning the league title for the fourth time in five years in 2017. The Cowgirls finished the year at 43-18 overall.
- Houston Baptist is coming off a 17-26 season and returns its top hitter, third baseman Kassie James, while returning two-thirds of its pitching staff.
- Tulsa enters the season ranked No. 20 in the nation and rides the arm of ace Emily Watson (30-6, 1.25 ERA).
- Southern finished 2017 at 17-22 overall. The Jaguars return leading hitter Tiara Scott, who hit .326 with 21 RBI a season ago.
Virginia heads to Madeira Beach, Fla., for the Madeira Beach Classic on Feb. 16-18. The Hoos will face Ohio, Lipscomb, George Mason, UNC Greensboro and Eastern Michigan in the three-day tournament.