SPARTANBURG, S.C. – Virginia (7-4) strung together 12 hits to run-rule La Salle (0-4), 10-2, in five innings on Saturday night (Feb. 22) in the Wings Etc. Classic at Cyrill Softball Stadium.
Junior Savana Avilla (Phoenix, Ariz.) went 2-for-4 from the leadoff spot in the order and matched a career high with three RBI to lead the Cavaliers. Fellow junior Kate Covington (McLean, Va.) and freshman Katie Goldberg (Atlanta, Ga.) each went 2-for-3 with an RBI.
Freshman Molly Grube (Chesterfield, Va.) earned her first collegiate win with a complete-game performance. The right-hander scattered four hits while allowing just two unearned runs. Grube also notched a career high with nine strikeouts in the win.
Virginia scored four times in the bottom of the third on four hits. Goldberg sparked the inning with a lead-off double. Donna Friedman (Orange, Calif.) chased her home with a double into right center to build Virginia’s advantage to 4-2. Covington dropped a single into center field to add another run before Mikaila Fox (Ocean Springs, Miss.) laced a single into right field to put two aboard. A wild pitch allowed Covington to score before Fox crossed on a double steal to make it 7-2 Cavaliers.
HOW IT HAPPENED
Virginia opened the scoring in the first inning when Tori Gilbert (Mechanicsville, Va.) roped a one-out double to right center. Goldberg followed with an RBI-single to give Virginia the early lead. La Salle answered with a pair in the second, using a single and pair of walks to load the bases. A ground ball led to a throwing error with two outs, allowing a pair of unearned runs to cross.
Virginia regained the lead in its half of the second, using a two-out double from Avilla to score a pair. The Cavaliers then broke the game open with a four-run third to take a 7-2 lead.
The Cavaliers added a run in the fourth as Gilbert crossed on an error. Virginia would then end the game with a pair of runs in the fifth to invoke the run-rule. Emma McBride (Magnolia, Texas) drove home a run with a pinch-hit single and scored the winning run on Avilla’s RBI-single to center.
ON THE LINES
• 9-of-10 Cavaliers to record an at-bat produced a hit.
• Grube lowered her ERA to 1.05 after not allowing an earned run.
• Virginia produced four doubles in the victory.
• The Cavaliers scored in all five innings of the game.
FROM THE TOP STEP
“I think we regrouped after a really off day yesterday and stayed very committed to our plan at the plate,” head coach Joanna Hardin said. “You could see by where we were making outs and how we’re making outs that the offense just stayed completely committed to that. I think Molly [Grube] settled in really well in the circle, which when your pitchers can settle in, I think it gives the offense confidence to go in there and just keep swinging.
“It was fun to see Emma [McBride] get in there and get a big RBI and score the game-winning run. She works really hard, so it was really, really rewarding to see her get her opportunity and take advantage of it.”
Virginia closes play at the Wings Etc. Classic with a Sunday (Feb. 23) doubleheader against Tennessee Tech at 11 a.m. and USC Upstate at 1 p.m.