CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. – The Virginia softball team (6-8, 2-6 ACC) scored first in both games, but a potent Clemson (12-2, 7-2 ACC) offense rallied in the sixth-inning both times as the Cavaliers dropped a doubleheader with the Tigers on Saturday (Mar. 6) at Palmer Park.
Virginia fell in game one 5-3, while game two went to the Tigers by a score of 4-2.
The scoring in game one came off the long ball with Tori Gilbert (Mechanicsville, Va.) and Katie Goldberg (Atlanta, Ga.) both hitting home runs. Gilbert hit a two-run shot, while Goldberg hit a solo home run. The Cavaliers manufactured runs in the second game, pushing out to the lead with scores in the fourth and the fifth to take the lead on the Tigers.
Virginia led both games heading into the sixth inning, but Clemson put together rallies in both games to take the victories and claim the four-game weekend series with the Cavaliers with one game remaining on Sunday.
GAME ONE: Clemson 5, Virginia 3
Mackenzie Wooten (1-1) took the loss in relief, allowing four runs on two hits with two walks in 1.0 inning of relief. Wooten (Windsor, Va.) entered with one out and one on in the fifth, coaxing a double play ball out of the first batter faced in relief of starter Mikayla Houge (Collins, Iowa).
Emma Whitfield (1-0) picked up the win as Clemson rallied in the sixth inning. She worked 2.1 innings and allowed one run on three hits with two strikeouts, entering the game with Virginia up 2-1 in the fifth inning.
Virginia got on the board in the fourth inning when Gilbert hit a two-run shot to straight-away center, scoring Savana Avilla (Phoenix, Ariz.). Avilla reached on an infield single in the previous at bat as the first hit of the game for either team.
Clemson got a rally started in the fifth, putting the first two runners on with back-to-back singles. A fielder’s choice from Kyah Keller pushed the first run home as the Tigers cut the lead in half. Mackenzie Wooten entered in relief and got a liner to shortstop for a double play to end the inning with Virginia up 2-1.
The Tigers got a leadoff triple in the sixth before back-to-back walks would load the bases. A sac fly and a two-RBI double pushed home three runs and gave Clemson the lead for the first time on the afternoon. The Tigers would add a fourth run before Virginia would get out of the inning.
Virginia got a run back in the seventh with Goldberg’s solo shot, but nothing else as Clemson took the win.
GAME TWO: Clemson 4, Virginia 2
Molly Grube (0-1)suffered the loss, working 5.2 innings and allowing 3 runs on five hits with three walks and five strikeouts. Grube (Chesterfield, Va.) allowed only two hits through the first five innings.
Regan Spencer (4-0) picked up the win, allowing the two runs on four hits with a walk in her 5.0 innings of work. Valerie Cagle picked up her third save of the season, working the final 2.0 innings with a strikeout and not allowing a hit or a run.
Virginia struck, scoring runs in the fourth and fifth innings. The scoring started with Virginia pushing home a run in the fourth inning when Gilbert scored on a groundout to first from Morgan Murphy (Chesapeake, Va.). The Cavaliers then extended the lead with an RBI single to center from Goldberg that scored Leah Boggs (Mansfield, Ohio) in the fifth.
Clemson moved in front with a three-run home run from Morgan Johnson with two outs in the sixth. The Tigers then took advantage of a miscue on a groundball to first in the seventh to push out to a 4-2 lead.
NOTES ON THE DAY
• Tori Gilbert hit her second home run of the season, a two-run shot – in game one to get the Hoos on the board.
• Katie Goldberg hit her second home run of the season in the seventh inning of game one of the doubleheader.
• Virginia now has four players with two home runs on the season and eight as a team this year.
FROM HEAD COACH JOANNA HARDIN
“I’m really proud of how the team competed today. One major step to becoming a championship program is competing in tight games and, from my perspective, we did that. We challenged the team to play aggressively from the first pitch to the last pitch and they did that. We are seeing growth and improvements with each game and that is exciting. We are moving in the right direction.”
UP NEXT FOR THE HOOS
Virginia and Clemson will close out the four-game set on Sunday (Mar. 7) with a single game at Palmer Park. First pitch is set for noon on ACCNX.