CHARLESTON, S.C. – The Virginia softball team (3-4) split a pair of games on Friday (Feb. 18) to open play at the CSU Buc Up Tournament hosted by Charleston Southern. The Cavaliers dropped the first game of the day to Sacred Heart (1-1) before rallying to defeat Charleston Southern (2-5) in game two.

GAME 1: Sacred Heart 5, Virginia 4
After Sacred Heart took a 2-0 lead in the first, the Cavaliers answered in the second when Arizona Ritchie delivered a two-RBI single that scored Kailyn Jones and Leah Boggs who reached on a fielder’s choice and a double, respectively. Virginia then moved in front with a two-out, RBI single from Katie Goldberg that was followed by a double steal as Bailey Winscott scampered home when Goldberg swiped second.

The Pioneers responded with a three-run third inning to take the lead back at 5-4. Virginia would get baserunners in four of the last five frames, but Sacred Heart kept them in check each time to pick up the win.

Savanah Henley (0-4) suffered the loss, allowing five runs – three of them earned – on five hits with a walk and two strikeouts in 2.1 innings of work.

Sarah Lawton (1-0) picked up the win, allowing the four runs on eight hits with two walks and five strikeouts as she went the distance.

Game 2: Virginiam4, Charleston Southern 1
Charleston Southern took the early lead with a solo home run in the first inning before Virginia would even the game in the fourth on a sacrifice fly from Sarah Coon that scored Tori Gilbert.

Virginia would then move ahead in the sixth inning, plating two runs to take the lead out to 4-1. It began with another sacrifice fly from Coon that scored pinch runner Emma McBride. A second run would come home on an error at short that allowed Gilbert to score her second run of the game.

A fourth run came home in the seventh, this time a sacrifice fly from Gilbert that scored Lauren VanAssche as the Cavaliers put the game out of reach.

Mikayla Houge (2-0) picked up the win, working a complete game and allowing the one run on three hits with no walks and two strikeouts.

Baylee Eaton (0-1) took the loss as she allowed three runs – one earned – on six hits. She walked two and struck out three in 6.0 innings of work.

• In game one, senior second baseman Arizona Ritchie went 1-for-2 with 2RBI, a run scored and a walk.
• Mikayla Houge worked 2.2 scoreless innings in relief against Sacred Heart and faced only seven batters.
• Houge followed it up with her fourth career complete game against Charleston Southern.
• Houge retired 16-of-17 batters following the solo home run – including a stretch of 16 consecutive batters.
• Tori Gilbert was 1-for-2 with two RBI, a run scored and a walk in the win over Charleston Southern.

“Our team continues to respond to challenges. Game one was uncharacteristic of our team. I liked how we responded in game two with more enthusiasm and focus. Mikayla Houge set the tone in the circle to close out game one and throw all seven innings in game two. I loved her competitiveness. We will continue to learn and grow together. I love my team and believe in them so much. Tomorrow is a new opportunity to take what we learned today and execute at a higher clip.”

Virginia will return to action at the CSU Buc Up Tournament on Saturday (Feb. 19), facing Sacred Heart at 12:30 p.m. before taking on Charleston Southern at 3 p.m. Live stats will be available for both games.