CHARLOTTE – Virginia (2-1) split a pair of one-run games on Saturday (Feb. 8), falling to App State (1-1) in a 1-0 pitchers’ duel before outlasting Charlotte (1-2), 7-6, in eight innings.
GAME 1: App State 1, Virginia 0
App State used three hits and capitalized on a Virginia error in the outfield to score an unearned run in the top of the seventh and hold off the Cavaliers, 1-0.
Freshman Molly Grube (Chesterfield, Va.) dazzled in the circle for Virginia, tossing a complete game without allowing an earned run. She struck out six Mountaineers while scattering five singles. She did not issue a walk in the game.
On the other side, App State senior Sydney Holland was equally impressive in spinning a shutout. She scattered four Cavalier hits while striking out five to earn the win.
Virginia’s best chance of the day came in the sixth as Arizona Ritchie (Stafford, Va.) and Katie Goldberg (Atlanta, Ga.) strung together back-to-back singles. The pair would be stranded at second and third.
App State used two one-out singles to put a pair aboard in the seventh. Baylee Morton singled to left and a bobbled ball allowed pinch-runner Delaney Smith to score. Three pitches later, Grube induced an inning-ending double play.
Virginia had a chance to level in the bottom half with a runner on second, but Abigail Barber (Providence Forge, Va.) narrowly missed an RBI-hit on a foul ball to right. After she was hit by the next pitch, a strikeout ended the game.
GAME 2: Virginia 7, Charlotte 6 (8 Inn.)
For the second night in a row, Virginia earned an extra-inning victory over Charlotte as Ashley Jennings (Forest, Va.) delivered a two-out RBI-double in the top of the eighth to give the Cavaliers the 8-7 win. Six of Virginia’s seven runs were scored with two outs.
Jennings’ game-winning RBI was one of three in the game for the redshirt sophomore, finishing the game 3-for-5 at the plate. Sophomore Aly Rayle (Herndon, Va.) earned the win by tossing five innings in relief. She allowed just one run on two hits while striking out seven.
Virginia jumped to a 3-0 lead in the first inning as Donna Friedman (Orange, Calif.) delivered a two-out RBI-single before Jennings followed with a two-run knock of her own. In the second inning, Goldberg extended the lead to 4-0 with a RBI-fielder’s choice.
Charlotte chipped away with runs in the second and third to cut the lead to 4-2 before Tori Gilbert (Mechanicsville, Va.) uncorked a two-run shot to center to make it 6-2 Cavaliers. Once again, the 49ers scrapped their way back with a solo homer from Anna Devereaux and two-run shot from Bailey Vannoy in the fourth inning. Vannoy would go deep a second time to tie the game in the 6th inning.
In the eighth, Molly Keshin (New Canaan, Conn.) legged out an infield single to open the inning and moved to second on a passed ball. With two outs, Jennings stepped to the plate and lined a 1-2 offering to the wall in right center field, plating Keshin for the eventual game-winning run.
Rayle struck out the side in the bottom half to secure the victory for the Cavaliers.
FROM THE TOP STEP
“You couldn’t ask for better opportunities for us to learn how to handle big moments, tough moments,” head coach Joanna Hardin said. “Resilience and toughness is our ability to withstand adversity. So things haven’t gone the way we like, we haven’t played a perfect game by any means, haven’t been clean all the way around. But we’ve been resilient and no point in any of the last three games have we felt like we’re out of it and I think that’s really, really important. We’re starting to see the areas we need to grow. That’s what opening weekend is for – to see our deficiencies, see our strengths, but man, I am super proud of the effort and the fight.”
Virginia concludes opening weekend with a 10 a.m. matchup against App State on Sunday (Feb. 9).