CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. – Virginia softball (10-12) earned its first two wins at Palmer Park by sweeping Bucknell (8-12) in a Tuesday (March 10) doubleheader. The Cavaliers earned 2-1 wins in both games to snap an eight-game skid.
GAME 1: Virginia 2, Bucknell 1
Virginia sophomore Aly Rayle (Herndon, Va.) carried a no-hitter into the sixth inning to lead the Cavaliers to a 2-1 victory over Bucknell in the front end of Tuesday’s doubleheader.
Rayle surrendered just one run on two hits over the course of six innings to earn the victory. She struck out seven Bison hitters. Freshman Mackenzie Wooten (Windsor, Va.) closed the door with a scoreless seventh to record her first collegiate save.
HOW IT HAPPENED
Virginia broke out the bats early, using three hits to score a pair of runs in the first. Freshman Katie Goldberg (Atlanta, Ga.) singled to open the game and a fielder’s choice failed to record an out, putting two Cavaliers aboard. Fellow freshman Mikaila Fox (Ocean Springs, Miss.) opened the scoring by driving a double off the left field wall to plate Goldberg. Junior Savana Avilla (Phoenix, Ariz.) followed with an RBI-single to give Virginia a 2-0 advantage.
After the opening inning, it was all pitching as Rayle and Bucknell starter Kaiya Burton shutdown both offenses.
Bucknell finally broke through in the sixth, using a walk to set the table. With two outs and the runner on second, Taylor Wolfgang singled up the middle to simultaneously break up the no-hitter and shutout.
In the seventh, Bucknell got a lead-off double as the wind played havoc with a pop-up. Wooten entered out of the bullpen and recorded the first out on a sacrifice bunt. Wooten then earned a critical strikeout for out number two in the inning before the Cavaliers snuffed out a double-steal attempt to end the game.
GAME 2: Virginia 2, Bucknell 1
Freshman Molly Grube (Chesterfield, Va.) tossed a complete game, allowing just a single unearned run, to lead Virginia to its second 2-1 victory of the day.
Grube scattered three hits while Fox added a 2-for-3 game with an RBI. The Cavaliers earned the win in dramatic fashion, walking-off the Bison in the bottom of the seventh on a throwing error.
HOW IT HAPPENED
Much like game one, Virginia used three early hits to score in the first inning. Arizona Ritchie (Stafford, Va.) started the rally with a one-out single. Donna Friedman (Orange, Calif.) followed with a single of her own before Fox produced the RBI-knock, a single to left, to give Virginia a 1-0 lead.
Bucknell drew level in the third, using a two-out single and an error to plate a run. Once again following the pattern of the front end of the doubleheader, game two turned into a pitchers’ duel through the middle innings.
Grube escaped a crucial bases-loaded jam in the fifth which represented Bucknell’s best scoring opportunity the rest of the way. A single and walk put two aboard before a two-out error loaded the bases. Grube induced a pop-up to second base to wiggle away.
In the bottom of the seventh, sophomore Ashley Jennings (Forest, Va.) sparked the Cavaliers with a lead-off single to left. Sophomore Emma McBride (Magnolia, Texas) followed by laying down a sacrifice bunt and reached safely when Bucknell attempted to cut down Jennings at second. A walk then loaded the bases before Ritchie initiated the game-winning play. Ritchie hit a comebacker to the Bison pitcher who came to the plate for an out, but, as Bucknell tried to turn the double play at first, the throw skipped away into the outfield allowing McBride to race home from second.
ON THE LINES
• Virginia pitchers combined to allow just five hits in the doubleheader.
• Fox went 1-for-3 in game one and 2-for-3 in game two with an RBI in both contests.
• Friedman and Jennings each added 2-for-3 performances at the plate in game two.
Virginia concludes its homestand by hosting North Carolina in a three-game ACC set beginning Friday (March 13) at 4 p.m.