CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. – The Virginia softball team (17-4) ran its win streak to 11 games after picking up a pair of victories on Sunday (March 5) to close out the Palmer Park Clash.
The Cavaliers defeated Saint Francis (6-10) by a score of 5-2 before defeating George Mason (9-5) in a 2-1 victory.
GAME 1 – Virginia 5, Saint Francis 2
The Cavaliers got on the board in the third inning when Lauren VanAssche took advantage of a wild pitch to scamper home from third and put the home team on top 1-0.
Virginia would then break things open in the fourth with a two-run home run from Jade Hylton that scored Kelly Ayer who had reached on a fielder’s choice. Abby Weaver and Gabby Baylog would then both walk before Kailyn Jones would deliver a two-RBI triple down the right field line to take the lead out to 5-0.
Saint Francis answered with a two-run sixth inning, putting runners at the corners with two outs. Back-to-back hit batters pushed the first run home and then a single drove in the second before the Hoos were able to get out of the inning as Jenny Bressler entered the game and recorded a strikeout to end the frame.
Molly Grube (6-2) picked up the win with two runs allowed on four hits with a walk and two strikeouts. Bressler picked up the save as she entered with the go-ahead run at the plate in the sixth.
GAME 2 – Virginia 2, George Mason 1
George Mason struck first with a two-out rally in the second inning to push a run home. Back-to-back singles put two runners on before Maddy Myers delivered the RBI single to put the Patriots on the board.
Virginia answered in the fourth with a Katie Goldberg single to left that scored Sarah Coon from third. Coon doubled to open the inning before taking third on a sac bunt from Gabby Baylog with Goldberg coming to the plate.
The Cavaliers took the lead in the fifth on a Jade Hylton single to left center that scored Kelly Ayer from third. Ayer reached on a fielder’s choice, but took second as a throwing error on a double play attempt sailed past first to get into scoring position for the Hylton hit.
George Mason would mount a rally in the seventh, loading the bases with two outs. A pickoff ended the game as Leah Boggs noticed the runner at first taking a jump after the pitch and threw down to Baylog for the tag to end the game.
Eden Bigham (4-1) picked up the win, allowing one run on five hits with three walks and 10 strikeouts in her 6.1 innings of work. Jenny Bressler picked up the save as she closed out the final two outs with a walk and a strikeout before the pickoff.
Aly Rayle (1-2) took the loss as she allowed the two runs – one earned – on eight hits with three strikeouts in the complete-game effort.
NOTES ON THE DAY
- Jenny Bressler picked up two saves on the day to bring her season total to three saves.
- Jade Hylton hit her seventh home run of the season with her two-run shot against Saint Francis.
- Kelly Ayer ran her active hit streak out to 11 straight games with hits in both games on the day.
- Eden Bigham’s 10 strikeouts against George Mason is a career-high for the freshman.
FROM HEAD COACH JOANNA HARDIN
“We saw two quality arms today. I thought our offense really won the strikezone (against Saint Francis). Our team really battled in that first game. The second game (against George Mason) was kind of surreal facing Aly Rayle after she pitched here for four years. She threw a gem and we were really fortunate to scratch out a few runs. It’s a privilege to be out there with the game on the line and you can’t say enough about Leah Boggs and Gabby Baylog with that pickoff. It’s fun to see them enjoying playing the game and having fun together out there as a team. These two games really set us up going into a tough game at Liberty this week and opening up at home with Georgia Tech.”
UP NEXT FOR THE HOOS
Virginia hits the road on Tuesday (March 7) for a single game at Liberty. First pitch is set for 6 p.m.