Feb. 9, 2018
LAKE CHARLES, La. – Virginia softball dropped its season-opening doubleheader at McNeese as part of the Cowgirl Classic on Thursday night (Feb. 8).
Virginia (0-2) fell 7-0 in game one before McNeese earned the sweep with a walk-off victory in game two. Freshman outfielder Kate Covington (McLean, Va.) led the Cavaliers with a 3-for-4 day and RBI in her debut.
GAME ONE | McNEESE 7 – VIRGINIA 0
Covington opened her Virginia career with a 2-for-2 performance, including a double, but McNeese used a big fourth inning to drive a 7-0 victory in game one.
McNeese opened the scoring in the second inning as a pair of infield singles sparked the Cowgirls. A bunt single to lead off the inning was followed by a pop-up in no-man’s land behind the circle. The Cowgirls would push across the first run of the game on a ground ball to short, taking a 1-0 lead.
Virginia owned the next scoring chance as Olivia Gott (Weston, Fla.) and Danni Ingraham (Laguna Niguel, Calif.) produced back-to-back singles with one out in the top of the fourth. Freshman Rachel Keshin (New Canaan, Conn.), pinch running for Gott, advanced to third on a fly out, but the Cavaliers stranded runners at the corners.
McNeese seized the opportunity, tacking on four runs in its half of the fourth. A leadoff walk signaled early trouble as a double and throwing error would score the first run of the frame. Another walk chased Lacy Smith (Lancaster, Pa.) as junior Tabby Dabney (Forest, Va.) came on in relief for the first time as a Hoo. A ground out scored another before a double steal made it 4-0 in favor of the Cowgirls. A two-out single from Morgan Catron capped the scoring.
Smith (0-1), who took the loss for Virginia, finished the night with four runs, three earned, on four hits with three strikeouts.
Dabney finished the game in the circle for the Hoos, allowing three runs on four hits. McNeese added a pair of runs in the bottom of the sixth for the 7-0 final.
GAME TWO | McNEESE 4 – VIRGINIA 3
The nightcap featured a thriller as Virginia rallied twice on its last strike to extend the game before McNeese walked off a 4-3 winner.
Virginia struck first in game two, as the red-hot Covington laced a single back through the box in the second inning for her first career RBI. Her single scored Allison Davis (Oak Hill, Va.) who had singled earlier in the frame.
McNeese would answer right back in the bottom half, using consecutive squeeze bunts to score two runs. The Cowgirls would extend their advantage in the third as a sacrifice fly made it 3-1.
Over the next three innings, Virginia pitcher Erika Osherow (Darien, Conn.) allowed just two Cowgirls to reach base, giving the Cavaliers an opportunity to rally late. UVA started the comeback in the fifth as Covington drew a leadoff walk and later scored on Gott’s two-out double to left field.
Needing a run in the top of the seventh, the Cavaliers used a pair of two-out, two-strike knocks to level the game. Freshman Hayley Busby (Phoenix, Ariz.) sparked the last-ditch rally by sneaking a triple just inside the first base bag. Smith followed with an RBI-single on an 0-2 pitch to bring the Hoos even at 3-3.
In the bottom half, McNeese walked off with a 4-3 win as Catron delivered a single up the middle and Justyce McClain scrambled home just in front of the throw.
Osherow (0-1) took the loss in a complete-game effort for the Cavaliers. Caroline Settle (1-0) earned the victory after tossing 1/3 inning in relief for McNeese.
The Hoos return to action at the Cowgirl Classic Friday (Feb. 9) with a 2 p.m. (ET) start against Houston Baptist. Virginia will then face No. 20 Tulsa at 4:30 p.m.