CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. – The Virginia softball team (21-13) dropped a midweek contest to Longwood (13-18) at Palmer Park on Tuesday (March 29) as the Cavaliers played the first game of an eight-game homestand after an extended start to the season on the road.

Longwood started things off with a two-run home run in the first inning, taking the 2-0 lead on the Cavaliers. The Lancers added to the lead in the fifth, pushing three more runs home. An RBI single with no outs scored the first run, but an error extended the inning before Longwood came up with a two-RBI single to take the 5-0 lead.

Virginia answered in the home half, taking advantage of Longwood errors to push a run home and cut the lead to 5-1. The Cavaliers would get a second run home in the seventh and load the bases, but Longwood would escape the jam for the 5-2 victory.

Savanah Henley (6-6) took the loss as she allowed two runs on three hits with a strikeout in her 2.0 innings of work. She was one of four Virginia pitchers to see action on the night.

Sydney Backstrom (10-9) picked up the win, allowing the two runs – one of them earned – on three hits with four walks and eight strikeouts. She turned in a complete game.

“I challenged the team to come out with an energy and different mentality and I think we found it late in the game. The important thing for us now is to learn how to come out in the first inning and be a little more aggressive and attach our pitch early. We gave ourselves a chance at the end. Any time you can be one swing away from winning the game in the bottom of the seventh is a good sign, but the execution has to be more consistent and at a higher clip to compete at the top of the ACC. There were some good things there. We have to go back to work on Thursday and get ready for FSU. We’re excited to get after it and get back to work.”

Virginia will return to action this weekend, continuing the homestand with a three-game series against No. 2 Florida State. Game one of the weekend series is set for 6 p.m. on Friday (April 1) at Palmer Park. Game two is set for 1 p.m. on Saturday and will be the team’s Strike Out Cancer game. The series finale is set for noon on Sunday and will be Ticket Holder Appreciation Day at the Palmer Park.