CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. – The Virginia softball team (7-14, 3-12 ACC) split Saturday’s doubleheader with NC State (13-7, 9-7 ACC) at Palmer Park, taking the first game 4-2 before dropping the second game by a score of 6-4.
Aly Rayle (Herndon, Va.) picked up the win in game one in her first start of the season as she turned in a complete-game with nine strikeouts. Clare Zureich (Cary, N.C.) took a tough-luck loss in the second game as part of a relief appearance.
Tori Gilbert (Mechanicsville, Va.) added her team-leading fourth home run of the season to help power the Cavaliers to the win in game one of the series.
GAME ONE: Virginia 4, NC State 2
Rayle (1-1) picked up the win in the complete-game effort in the first game of the day, striking out nine batters and allowing only two runs while scattering five hits. She walked one on the afternoon.
Abby Trahan (7-3) suffered the loss for NC State, allowing the four runs on seven hits with four walks and four strikeouts in 4.2 innings of work. Estelle Czech worked the final 1.1 innings, allowing only one hit and striking out two in her time in the circle.
Virginia got the two-run home run from Gilbert in the first inning before Emma McBride (Magnolia, Texas) would add an RBI double in the second to give the Cavaliers the 3-0 lead.
NC State pushed a run home with small ball in the third before Virginia added a fourth run in the fifth inning on a single up the middle from Arizona Ritchie (Stafford, Va.). The Wolfpack would then add one more run in the sixth, but Virginia shut things down from there to take the 4-2 victory.
GAME TWO: NC State 6, Virginia 4
Zureich (0-3) took the loss in a relief appearance in game two of the day, allowing two runs on two hits with four walks and four strikeouts in 3.2 innings of work. Mikayla Houge (Collins, Iowa) started the game for the Cavaliers, working 3.1 innings and allowing four runs – three of them earned – on five hits with two walks and a strikeout.
Sydney Nester (4-4) picked up the win for NC State with a complete-game, allowing four runs on eight hits with six walks and six strikeouts.
Virginia struck first, using an RBI double from Savana Avilla (Phoenix, Ariz.) and a three-RBI triple from Katie Goldberg (Atlanta, Ga.) to take the 4-0 lead. NC State responded with four runs of their own in the third inning, however, to tie the game.
The Wolfpack then took the lead on back-to-back singles in the fifth following the mental miscue that extended the inning and take the lead out to 6-4 and claim the victory.
NOTES ON THE DAY
• Aly Rayle made her first start of the season in game one of the day, working the complete-game.
• Tori Gilbert hit her team-leading fourth home run of the season in the first inning of game one.
• Katie Goldberg extended her team-leading hit streak to nine games and moved into the team lead with 12 RBI.
• Goldberg also moved into the team lead in runs scored this season with 11.
FROM HEAD COACH JOANNA HARDIN
“I’m so proud of how our team competed today in both games. The ACC is a tough league; add in the four-game series format each weekend and every game is going to be a dog fight. It was great to have Aly (Rayle) back in the circle competing with the team. She is so locked in when she’s in the circle; we have missed her presence. We still need to clean up the mental mistakes because they are costly in key situations. But overall, the effort was pleasing to see.”
UP NEXT FOR THE HOOS
Virginia and NC State will continue the weekend series with a single game on Sunday. First pitch is set for 1 p.m. at Palmer Park and the contest will be broadcast on ACCNX through the WatchESPN app.