ELON, N.C. – An 11-run outburst capped a perfect weekend for Virginia (4-5) as the Cavaliers downed Northern Kentucky (1-3) by a score of 11-1 to wrap up the Elon Softball February Classic at Hunt Softball Park. The Cavaliers’ game against NC Central was cancelled after rain moved into the area.
Freshman Aly Rayle (Herndon, Va.) worked four scoreless innings in relief to earn the win. Rayle (2-1) allowed just a single hit while striking out six Norse in her dominant outing. She did not issue a walk.
Offensively, the Cavaliers exploded for a season-high 11 runs with four players driving in multiple markers to key the win.
With a 3-1 lead, Virginia broke the game open with four runs in the fifth. All four of those runs came with two outs. With one on and two outs, Donna Friedman (Orange, Calif.) started the rally with a double down the left field line. That put runners on second and third for Ashlee Davis (Gilbert, Ariz.), who drove home a pair with a single up the middle. Freshman Abigail Barber (Providence Forge, Va.) added two more runs with her first collegiate home run.
• Hayley Busby (Phoenix, Ariz.) led off the game with a solo home run, roping a 3-2 pitch over the wall in left. The home run was the first of the season for Busby.
• NKU tied the game in the bottom half as two walks and two wild pitches allowed a run to score without a hit.
• Olivia Gott (Weston, Fla.) put Virginia back on top with a two-run blast to right center in the third. The long ball was the first of the season for the senior.
• Davis singled home a pair and Barber homered to put the Hoos ahead 7-1 in the fifth.
• The Cavaliers scored four more in the top of the seventh, as Kate Covington (McLean, Va.), Emma McBride (Magnolia, Texas), Lacy Smith (Lancaster, Pa.) and Busby all added RBI.
ON THE LINES
• Four Cavaliers had two RBI in the game as Busby, Gott, Davis and Barber all plated a pair.
• Smith finished the game 3-for-5 at the plate with an RBI and a run scored.
• McBride recorded her first collegiate hit with a double and finished 2-for-4.
• Barber finished the day a perfect 3-for-3 at the plate with two runs scored in addition to her two RBI.
• Allyson Frei (Branchville, N.J.) came on to work the final two innings in the circle. She battled the rain to allow just a bunt-single while striking out three.
• The Virginia pitching staff limited NKU to just two hits, both infield singles, on the day.
FROM THE TOP STEP
“I think this weekend is a little more of a testament to who we are and what we’ve been doing,” said head coach Joanna Hardin. “It’s exciting to see the kids really getting some results for the work they have been putting in. We felt like opening weekend wasn’t really who we are so this weekend was really good for us to show ourselves, and prove to ourselves, that all the work we’ve been putting in is paying us back.”
Virginia returns to action next weekend at the Tennessee Classic in Knoxville, Tenn. The Cavaliers will take on Louisville, Kansas, No. 6 Tennessee, Bradley and Tennessee State in the tournament.