CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. – Arizona Ritchie delivered a two-RBI single in the sixth as part of a three-run rally to propel Virginia (24-21, 10-9 ACC) to a 4-2 victory over Pittsburgh (14-22, 2-15 ACC) on Friday afternoon at Palmer Park. The win gave the Cavaliers the first game of the weekend series with the Panthers.
HOW IT HAPPENED
Virginia got on the board in the fourth inning when Sarah Coon delivered an RBI groundout to second that scored Gabby Baylog from third. Baylog walked and then took third on a single through the left side from Katie Goldberg that put two runners in scoring position as Goldberg moved to second on the throw from left to third.
Syracuse got a rally started in the sixth with a fielding error and then back-to-back bunt singles loaded the bases. A one-out single up the middle pushed two runs home as the Orange took the lead before Virginia would get out of the inning.
The Cavaliers got things started as the first two batters of the home half of the sixth reached with a single and a fielding error. Lauren VanAssche then drove in the first run to tie the game with a single up the middle. Two batters later, Ritchie’s at bat got extended as a dropped foul ball and an administrative error when Pitt failed to reenter a player kept her at the plate to set up the go-ahead hit.
Molly Grube (2-3) picked up the win, allowing two runs – one of them earned – on five hits with a walk and four strikeouts. Aly Rayle then earned the save, closing out the seventh with a pair of strikeouts in three batters faced.
Dani Drogemuller (9-10) took the loss for the Panthers, allowing the four runs – two of them earned – on three hits. She walked four and struck out seven in 5.1 innings of work.
NOTES ON THE GAME
• Virginia took the opening game of an ACC series for the fourth time this season.
• Aly Rayle’s save was her second of the year and career with both against ACC foes (at NC State – 3/18/22).
• Grube has now worked at least 6.0 innings and picked up the win in back-to-back starts for the Cavaliers.
• Arizona Ritchie now has 12 RBI for the season after driving in the go-ahead runs in the sixth inning.
• Freshman Sarah Coon now has 28 RBI for the season to tie for the team lead with Katie Goldberg.
FROM HEAD COACH JOANNA HARDIN
“Molly Grube threw really well and gave us the chance to get the win. That’s what happens any time you have a pitcher get you through six and is able to spin it and keep a team off balance. Aly Rayle came in and just closed the door for us. I’m proud of our pitching staff for coming in and competing hard. We came into the game a little charged and excited and got outside of ourselves a bit offensively, but Arizona Ritchie came through with a clutch hit for us to kick off our senior weekend. It’s always good to take the first game of the series, but we’ll get back in and watch some film because Pitt will come back ready to play on Saturday and all weekend. We’ll need to match their energy and go after game two tomorrow.”
UP NEXT FOR THE HOOS
Virginia and Pitt will continue the series with a 1 p.m. game on Saturday. It will be Alumni Day at the ballpark with program alumni in attendance.