ELON, N.C. – Stellar pitching and clutch hitting carried Virginia (2-5) to a pair of wins on the first day of the Elon Softball February Classic on Friday (Feb. 15) at Hunt Softball Park.
 
The Cavaliers bounced back from a tough opening weekend to break through in the win column with a 4-2 victory over Northern Kentucky before shutting out Hampton, 2-0. In the circle, three Virginia pitchers combined to not allow an earned run between the two games. 
 
GAME 1: Virgina 4, Northern Kentucky 2 (8 inn.)
Lacy Smith (Lancaster, Pa.) uncorked a pair of home runs and delivered all four RBI for Virginia in the opening game to power a 4-2 victory over Elon. The senior was a perfect 4-for-4 in the game.
 
Freshman Aly Rayle (Herndon, Va.) came out of the bullpen in the seventh to get the final out to send the game to extras. She went on to work a perfect eighth inning to earn her first collegiate win. Rayle (1-1) struck out a pair of Norse and did not allow a baserunner in her 1 1/3 innings.

KEY INNING
In the international tiebreaker in the eighth inning, Smith followed a sacrifice bunt with a two-run home run, giving Virginia the lead for good. The veteran lifted a 2-0 offering from NKU pitcher Taylor Ginther (0-1) and curled it around the left field foul pole for the difference maker.
 
TOUCHING HOME
• After Hayley Busby doubled to open the third inning, Smith tagged an RBI-single to left to plate the game’s opening run.
• NKU took the lead with a pair of unearned runs in the bottom of the third. An early error was followed by three, two-out singles to score the runs.
• Smith tied things up in the sixth inning with a lead-off shot to left center.
• Smith would go deep again in the eighth, providing the difference maker with her third home run of the season.
 
ON THE LINES
• Smith’s two home runs mark the first time the senior has gone deep twice in a game during her career.
• Erika Osherow (Darien, Conn.) was excellent once again in the circle, going 6 2/3 innings and allowing only two unearned runs.
• Osherow fanned a season-high six batters while scattering four hits. She retired 12 consecutive batters from the third inning to the seventh.
• Busby finished the game 1-for-3 with a pair of runs scored.
 
GAME 2: Virginia 2, Hampton 0
 Allyson Frei (Branchville, N.J.) tossed a complete-game shutout, striking out 10 batters to lead Virginia to a 2-0 victory over Hampton. Olivia Gott (Weston, Fla.) plated the first run of the game with an RBI fielder’s choice in the fourth to give the Cavaliers the only run they would need in the game. The win gave the graduate transfer Frei (1-2) her first victory in the circle for the Cavaliers.
 
KEY INNING
Hampton strung together three-straight singles to load the bases with no outs in the bottom of the fourth. Frei responded by inducing an infield fly and fanning back-to-back Pirates to escape the jam with the 1-0 lead intact.
 
TOUCHING HOME
Hayley Busby led off the fourth with a double and later singled on Gott’s fielder’s choice to give Virginia a 1-0 lead.
• Busby singled on a hard-hit ground ball and advanced to second on a throwing error to open the sixth. A ground ball off the bat of Lacy Smith eluded the Pirates on the right side, giving Virginia a 2-0 lead.
 
ON THE LINES
• Frei’s 10 strikeouts are the most by a Virginia pitcher since Melanie Mitchell eclipsed the mark in 2013.
• Busby finished the game 2-for-3 at the plate with a double and scored both of Virginia’s runs.
• The shutout is the first for Virginia since a 6-0 win over Eastern Michigan on Feb. 18, 2018.
• Arizona Ritchie (Stafford, Va.), Osherow and Gott all had 1-for-3 games at the plate.
• Frei did not issue a walk in the victory.
 
UP NEXT
Virginia is scheduled to continue action at the Elon February Classic on Saturday (Feb. 16). The Cavaliers will face host Elon at 12:15 p.m.
 

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