RALEIGH, N.C. – The Virginia softball team (17-11, 4-1 ACC) clinched its second consecutive ACC series with a 5-2 victory at NC State (19-9, 2-6 ACC) at the Dail Softball Stadium on Saturday (March 19).
The Cavaliers scored a single run in five of seven innings, including the first four innings, on the way to the victory. Three Virginia pitches combined to keep the potent NC State offense in check for the second straight game on the way to the series win.
HOW IT HAPPENED
Virginia scored in three straight innings to jump in front of the Wolfpack, using an RBI double from Gabby Baylog in the first, back-to-back doubles from Katie Goldberg and Arizona Ritchie in the second and a solo home run from Tori Gilbert in the third to build the 3-0 lead.
NC State responded in the third with a one-out double to push a run home, but Virginia answered in the fourth when Goldberg scored her second run of the game on a throwing error.
The Wolfpack cut the lead in half with a run in the bottom of the fourth, making it a 4-2 lead for the Hoos. Again Virginia found a way to get a run home by taking advantage of a sixth-inning error to get the run back. The 5-2 lead would stand as Virginia picked up the victory.
Mikayla Houge (7-4) picked up the win, working 3.2 scoreless innings in relief of starter Savanah Henley. She allowed one hit with two walks and two strikeouts in her time in the circle. Houge entered the game with two on and one out in the fourth and surrendered the one inherited runner. Madison Harris picked up her second save of the season, getting the final out with a strikeout after entering the game with two on and two outs in the seventh.
Aisha Weixelman (7-4) took the loss, allowing three runs on five hits with two strikeouts in 2.1 innings of work.
NOTES ON THE GAME
• Virginia has won back-to-back ACC series for the first time since the 2017 season (Georgia Tech, at Notre Dame).
• UVA has won two of the last three series vs. NC State and seven of the last nine games vs. the Wolfpack.
• With Tori Gilbert’s home run in the third, the Cavaliers have 25 home runs to pass last year’s season total.
• Katie Goldberg went 3-for-3 with two runs scored at the plate as one of three Hoos with multiple-hits on the day.
• Savanah Henley worked 3.1 innings in the start as she made her 13th appearance and sixth start of the year.
FROM HEAD COACH JOANNA HARDIN
“I am so proud of how our team grinded out the win today. Heading into this series, our emphasis was competing on every pitch of every game regardless of the score or individual outcome and performance. I love the fight I’m seeing in our team. It takes time to learn how to win close games and come through in big moments. Today was a team win. Multiple pitchers, hitters and defenders made plays to get the job done. We have another opportunity to put ourselves in a good position in the ACC by competing hard for the sweep tomorrow. We will regroup, rest up and put our best effort forward on Sunday.”
UP NEXT FOR THE HOOS
Virginia and NC State will close out the weekend series at noon on Sunday as the Cavaliers look for the series sweep. The game will be broadcast on ACC Network and streamed through the ESPN app.