CHAPEL HILL, N.C. – The Virginia softball team (12-19, 8-14 ACC) opened the weekend series in dramatic fashion, pushing a run home in the seventh inning to take a 5-4 victory at North Carolina (10-14, 6-8 ACC) on Friday (April 9) at Anderson Softball Stadium.
Due to inclement weather in the area, the weekend schedule was altered and game two of the originally scheduled doubleheader was postponed on Friday night. The teams will now play a single game on Saturday and a doubleheader on Sunday. Games will begin at noon on both days.
Abby Weaver (Roanoke, Va.) reached on a fielding error to open the seventh inning before taking second on a wild pitch and moving to third on a sac bunt. She then came home on a ground ball deep to second from Katie Goldberg (Atlanta, Ga.) to give Virginia the one-run lead.
Clare Zureich (1-4.) picked up the win in relief for the Cavaliers. Zureich (Cary, N.C.) worked the final 1.1 innings and retired all four batters faced. She got a pop up to end the sixth after North Carolina tied the game and then retired the side in order, striking out two, in the seventh.
Gabby Katz (0-1) took the loss, allowing five runs – two of them earned – on five hits with two walks in the complete-game.
Virginia struck first as Goldberg delivered her two-run shot to straight-away center, scoring Weaver. The Cavaliers then took the lead out to 3-0 as a Emma McBride (Magnolia, Texas) capped a two-out rally with an infield single to score Arizona Ritchie (Stafford, Va.).
North Carolina erased the lead, using a pair of runs on a pair of errors in the second inning to push two runs home before adding a third run in the third inning to tie the game.
Each team would score again as Virginia reclaimed the lead when McBride scored in the fifth, but North Carolina answered with a run in the sixth.
The Cavaliers moved in front for good in the seventh inning when Weaver scored on a Goldberg ground ball to second. Zureich then closed things down in the seventh.
NOTES ON THE GAME
• Katie Goldberg moved into a tie for the team lead in home runs with her fifth home run of the season.
• Goldberg went 1-for-3 on the day with three RBI to extend her team-leading total to 18 RBI this season.
• Weaver was 1-for-3 with a pair of runs scored and a walk as she continues to settle in at the leadoff position.
• Weaver now holds a five-game hit streak after Friday’s game, her season long and longest active on the team.
• Mikayla Houge went 5.2 innings in the start, allowing four runs – three of them earned – and striking out one.
• Virginia has now won the series opener in three consecutive ACC series: vs. NC State, Boston College and UNC.
FROM HEAD COACH JOANNA HARDIN
“I loved seeing our team fight back after a few mishaps early in the game. Offensive execution is something we have invested a lot of time in over the last few weeks; Abby Emma and Katie have been so consistent for us at the top of the lineup. They continue to have quality at bats and keep us in games.
I am really proud of Clare for coming into a tight situation, remaining calm and throwing aggressively. She has great stuff, so when she throws with confidence, opponents really struggle to make quality contact.
Moving forward in the series, we need to clean up our defense; overall I am really proud of the fight and maturity we showed. Our team never thought we were out of the game and that confidence is vital going into the next three games.”
UP NEXT FOR THE HOOS
Virginia and North Carolina will continue the weekend series with a single game on Saturday (April 10) at noon before closing out the weekend with a doubleheader on Sunday (April 11) that begins at noon.