FORT COLLINS, Colo. – A big fourth inning proved too much to overcome as Virginia (28-25) fell to Central Arkansas (37-20) by a score of 5-3 in the quarterfinals of the National Invitational Softball Championship on Tuesday (May 24).

Virginia will now have to win two games on Wednesday to advance to the championship round at the double-elimination tournament.

Sarah Coon got things started for Virginia with a solo home run in the second inning.

The Bears moved in front in the fourth inning with a pair of two-run home runs in the fourth inning and added a single run in the fifth inning to take a 5-1 lead in the game.

Virginia loaded the bases with two outs in the sixth, but Central Arkansas got out of the jam to maintain the lead.

The Cavaliers would drive in two runs in the seventh off a Leah Boggs single up the middle and load the bases for a second consecutive inning, but again Central Arkansas got out of the jam to lock up the victory.

Mikayla Houge (9-6) took the loss, allowing four runs on five hits with two walks and two strikeouts in 3.2 innings of work.

Kayla Beaver (20-8) picked up the win, limiting the Cavaliers to the three runs – one earned – on five hits with three walks and seven strikeouts in 6.1 innings of work. Jordan Johnson picked up her fourth save of the season as she closed out the final two outs for the Bears.

• It was the first-ever meeting between Virginia and Central Arkansas.
• Sarah Coon homered for the second straight game with her eighth home run of the season.
• Coon went 2-for-2 with a walk on the afternoon and drove in her 36th RBI of the year.
• Leah Boggs now has 24 RBI on the year after her two-RBI hit in the seventh inning.

“I’m really proud of how we fought the entire game today. We were one swing away from another walk-off win. Our poise and grit through some really tough calls on the field was excellent and our team competed the whole game. We go into tomorrow with our back against the wall, which is exactly what postseason is about – fighting hard to the end. I’m excited to get back on the field and compete against Kansas on Wednesday morning.”

Virginia will return to action on Wednesday (May 25) when the Cavaliers take on Kansas in an elimination game at 10:30 a.m. ET. The game will be streamed on FloSoftball.