BLACKSBURG, Va. – The Cavaliers took the early lead, but a fifth-inning rally for the home team was the difference as Virginia (22-20, 8-8 ACC) fell to No. 2 Virginia Tech (31-5, 14-1 ACC) by a score of 5-1 on Thursday (April 14) in the series opener.

Virginia struck first, using a solo home run from Tori Gilbert in the fourth inning to get on the board.

The Hokies answered in the fifth, using five straight hits to spark a rally as Virginia Tech would plate five runs in the inning.

Virginia started the seventh with a leadoff double from Leah Boggs, but the Hoos were unable to put together an answering rally as Virginia Tech grabbed the series-opening win.

Aly Rayle (4-5) took the loss for the Cavaliers, allowing three runs on seven hits with a walk in 4.2 innings of work. Rayle and worked into the fifth before coming back in to close out the fifth inning.

Keely Rochard (17-2) took the win for the Hokies, allowing the one run on three hits with two walks and 12 strikeouts.

• It’s the third straight weekend for UVA to face a top-13 team and second time in three weeks to face the nation’s second-ranked team in the polls.
• Tori Gilbert’s home run in the fourth was her 11th of the season and sixth in ACC play this year.
• Gilbert has homered at least once in four of the last five ACC series.
• Virginia used three pitchers on the day as Mackenzie Wooten and Morgan Murphy both also pitched.

“I thought Aly (Rayle) threw a really good game. She was executing and keeping them off balance. I’m proud of her effort. She’s so competitive and gave us a chance to win. Morgan (Murphy) came in for the sixth and shut them down for an inning. We put five zeros up on the board against a really good team. We’ve challenged our pitchers to pound the zone and get ahead. Virginia Tech has a great offense and we did a good job of keeping them off balance. Their pitching staff is really good and numbers don’t lie, but I thought we had some opportunities to get some swings off. We need to evaluate and learn. We know we’ll see Keely Rochard again at least one more time this weekend, so we have to take away as much as we can from tonight and be ready to play again tomorrow.”

Virginia and Virginia Tech continue the series with a single game at 6 p.m. on Friday night (April 15) at the Tech Softball Park.