CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. – The Virginia softball team (6-6, 2-4 ACC) fell in the series opener with Clemson (10-2, 5-2 ACC) at Palmer Park on Friday (Mar. 5), falling by a score of 9-1 to the Tigers in five innings.

Morgan Murphy (1-1) suffered the loss for the Cavaliers, allowing eight runs – seven of them earned – on seven hits with three strikeouts in 4.1 innings of work.

Valerie Cagle (7-1) picked up the win for Clemson, allowing one run on five hits with a walk and four strikeouts in her 5.0 innings of work.

Clemson got on the board in the first inning with a two-out, RBI single from left fielder Alia Logoleo that scored McKenzie Clark. Clark reached when she was hit by pitch and then stole second to get into scoring position. A double to right field from Grace Mattimore plated Logoleo before Virginia would get out of the inning.

The Tigers extended the lead in the third inning with a two-run home run from Cagle.

Virginia got on the board in the fourth with three straight hits, sparked by a double from Donna Friedman (Orange, Calif.) Two batters later she came home as Savana Avilla (Phoenix, Ariz.) singled through the left side to bring Friedman home.

Clemson responded in the fifth, pushing five runs across the plate with the help of a grand slam to take the lead out to 9-1. Virginia was unable to get a run across in the home half of the inning, despite getting a runner in scoring position, as Clemson took the series-opening win.

• Aly Rayle made her first appearance of the season, entering in the fifth inning to work 0.2 in relief of starter Morgan Murphy. Rayle allowed one unearned run on one hit with a walk.
• Savana Avilla recorded a hit for a team-leading sixth consecutive game, going 2-for-2 with an RBI.
• In her six-game hitting streak, Avilla has gone 8-for-16 with a run scored and three RBI.
• It is only the fourth time this season Virginia has been held to fewer than three runs as the Cavaliers are averaging almost four runs per game in 2021.

“Though it’s not the way we wanted to start the series against Clemson, we know we have three more games to play. Our job right now is to learn as much as we can from tonight and get better for the next three games. I thought our team stayed composed and focused at the plate, even when the score got away from us at the end. Fortunately, tomorrow is a new day and we get another opportunity to compete.”

Virginia and Clemson will continue the weekend series on Saturday with a doubleheader. Game one of the twin bill is set for a 1 p.m. first pitch on ACCNX.