CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. – The Virginia softball team (4-5) split a pair of games on the opening day of the Cavalier Classic, dropping the opener to James Madison (1-0) before rallying to end the day with a victory over George Washington (0-1).

The Cavaliers got a solo home run from Donna Friedman (Orange, Calif.) in the seventh inning against JMU, falling to the Dukes 5-1. After the Colonials took the early lead in game two, Virginia got a two-RBI triple from Arizona Ritchie (Stafford, Va.) in the sixth inning to move in front and grab the win.

GAME ONE: JMU 5, Virginia 1
Mikayla Houge (Collins, Iowa) took the loss in the first game of the day, scattering three runs on four hits across 3.2 innings. Houge (1-1) struck out three and walked three in the outing as the Cavaliers used three pitchers against the Dukes.

Odicci Alexander picked up the win, tossing a complete game and allowing one run on four this with a walk and five strikeouts.

The Dukes pushed home a single run in the second, third and fourth innings to take the 3-0  lead on the Cavaliers.

Virginia would get several chances down the stretch, putting a pair of baserunners on in the fourth, fifth and sixth innings, but the Cavaliers were unable to push anyone across the plate as JMU responded to squelch each rally.

A two-run home run from Logan Newton in the seventh inning extended the lead for the Dukes before Friedman would hit her solo shot in the bottom of the inning. The Cavaliers would get nothing else across the plate, however, as JMU claimed the 5-1 victory.

GAME TWO: Virginia 3, George Washington 2
Morgan Murphy (Chesapeake, Va.) picked up her first career victory, allowing two runs on five hits with a pair of walks and six strikeouts through 6.2 innings of work. Murphy (1-0) was making her second start of her career. Madison Harris (Forest, Va.) picked up her first save as she allowed a walk and got the final out with a strikeout after relieving Murphy in the circle.

The Colonials got on the board in the fourth inning, manufacturing a run when Sierra Lange came home when Sidney Bloomfield got caught in a rundown between first and second.

Virginia then moved in front with a three-run sixth inning rally. After the first two batters reached base, Ritchie tripled to right, driving in the first two runs of the inning. A fielding error on a ground ball in the next at bat allowed Ritchie to sprint home and give the Cavaliers the 3-1 lead.

George Washington got a run back in the seventh with an unearned run following a two-out, RBI double after a throwing error allowed a runner on base. The Cavaliers’ Harris closed things out, rallying from a walk of the first batter faced to notch the bases-loaded strikeout and preserve the 3-2 victory.

• Morgan Murphy worked a career long 6.2 innings in her third appearance in the circle this season against GW.
• Madison Harris notched her first career save as she closed things down against after entering with two runners on and a one-run lead.
• Arizona Ritchie’s two-RBI triple was her second multiple-RBI performance of the last three games for UVA. She delivered a three-RBI performance last Sunday against Pittsburgh.

“I was really proud of the team for how they bounced back. We’re learning how to put together a pitching outing and a complete seven innings of offense and defense. You’re always happy with a win, even if you scrape it out at the end. Our bats got better as the second game went on and we were a little more competitive and aggressive. I’m really proud of Morgan (Murphy) for coming out in the second game and throwing really well. She’s been throwing really well and worked hard, so it was rewarding to see her get that win. She’s earned it. The team came behind her at the end and Madison Harris closed the door.”

Virginia will return to action on Sunday, facing George Washington in a doubleheader at Palmer Park. First pitch is set for noon.