CHAPEL HILL, N.C. – The Virginia softball team (6-3) split a pair of games on Saturday (Feb. 18) at the ACC/Big 10 Challenge. The Cavaliers defeated Minnesota (4-3) by a score of 3-0 in the first game of the day before falling to No. 23 Maryland (6-1) by a score of 6-4.
GAME 1 – Virginia 3, Minnesota 0 (9 Innings)
The opening game of the day took extra innings to decide as the Cavaliers used a three-run ninth inning to grab the 3-0 victory over the Golden Gophers. After tallying three hits through the first eight innings, the Hoos got three hits in the ninth to break open the game.
The ninth-inning rally started with a solo home run to left from Sarah Coon. The Cavaliers continued the scoring with back-to-back doubles from M.C. Eaton and Kelly Ayer before the third run came home on a throwing error. A foul fly to third was caught and Ayer tagged up before taking third, but the off target throw allowed her to come home for the 3-0 lead.
Molly Grube (3-1) picked up the win with the complete-game effort, scattering three hits and allowing one walk with five strikeouts in the shutout.
Autumn Pease (3-1) took the loss as she allowed the go-ahead run on four hits with two walks and eight strikeouts. She worked 8.0 innings in the start.
GAME 2 – Virginia, No. 23 Maryland
Virginia scored first for the second straight game against Maryland, pushing a run across in the first inning after a pair of errors. The Terrapins answered in the third with a bases-loaded single up the middle that pushed two runs home.
Maryland added to the lead in the fourth inning with a solo home run to lead off the inning.
The Hoos answered with a solo home run from Coon in the fifth, but Maryland again answered with a home run and a two-RBI single to take the lead out to 6-2.
Virginia put together one more rally in the sixth with a two-RBI triple from Kailyn Jones that was laced down the first base line to pull the Cavaliers within two at 6-4.
NOTES ON THE DAY
• Molly Grube threw her third career complete game and first since her freshman season vs. Bucknell (3/10/20).
• The 9.0 innings pitched by Grube against Minnesota was a career high for the senior.
• Sarah Coon hit two home runs on the day for three this season and 11 for her career.
• Mikayla Houge made her first appearance of the season against No. 23 Maryland.
FROM HEAD COACH JOANNA HARDIN
“I saw a ton of fight and a ton of grit today. Those were some really long and competitive games with a lot of back and forth. Shout to Molly Grube and our pitching staff. It was a really competitive matchup. We knew this weekend would be tough with some really tough opponents. I’m proud of the fight. We’re never out of a game. We’ve been one swing away from tying it or winning it in every game this season. We’re ready to get some rest and get back out here on Sunday against Minnesota.”
UP NEXT FOR THE HOOS
Virginia will close out the weekend with a single game against Minnesota on Sunday (Feb. 19). First pitch is set for 10 a.m. at North Carolina’s Anderson Stadium.