CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. – The Virginia softball team (18-7, 1-2 ACC) split a doubleheader with Georgia Tech (14-9, 2-1 ACC) to close out the weekend series at Palmer Park on Saturday (March 11). It was the opening series of ACC play for both teams.
GAME 1 – Georgia Tech 5, Virginia 2
Virginia struck first in the opening game of the day with an RBI triple pulled down the right field line by Lauren VanAssche. Kailyn Jones scored on the play after reaching with a single to center in the previous at bat.
Georgia Tech loaded the bases with one out in the sixth before taking the lead with a ball driven back up the middle that pushed two runs home for the 2-1 lead. A double off the wall in center in the next at bat extended the lead to 4-1 in favor of the Yellow Jackets.
Tori Gilbert hit a solo home run in the sixth inning to cut the lead in half, but one more Georgia Tech run came home in the seventh for the final 5-2 margin of victory.
Molly Grube (7-3) took the loss, allowing three runs on four hits with one walk and three strikeouts through 5.1 innings of work. Grube left the game with the Hoos in the lead, but the bases loaded and one out in the sixth.
Chandler Dennis (8-3) picked up the win, allowing one run on four hits with two walks and three strikeouts. Sophia Voyles picked up her first save as she worked the final inning, entering the game with one on in the seventh.
GAME 2 – Virginia 3, Georgia Tech 0
Virginia scored first in game two when Gilbert blasted a solo shot to left field in the second inning to open the frame.
The Cavaliers doubled the lead with a single run in the fourth inning when Kelly Ayer scored from home on a throwing error by the catcher. Ayer broke for home when Kailyn Jones took off on a steal of second. The Georgia Tech catcher threw to third, but the throw was off the mark as Ayer got back to the bag and she again broke for home for the score to make it 2-0.
Virginia pushed a third run home in the fifth inning with a single through the right side from Ayer. Sarah Coon came home from second on the play and was called out, but upon review it was determined she slid in ahead of and under the tag for the third run of the game.
Eden Bigham (5-2) picked up the win as she allowed only three hits with two walks and four strikeouts in her complete-game effort.
Sophia Voyles (2-2) took the loss in the start, allowing one run on five hits with a walk and two strikeouts in 3.0 innings of work.
NOTES ON THE DAY
- Eden Bigham threw her fourth complete-game of the season and her second complete-game shutout.
- Fifth-year Tori Gilbert finished the day 2-for-3 with two home runs in the doubleheader.
FROM HEAD COACH JOANNA HARDIN
“There was a lot of resilience today. It’s tough to play three games in about 28 hours and we did a great job doing that. It was a big shutout for Eden; it’s really tough coming back facing the same offense a second time in the weekend and mixing things up enough to keep them off balance. It was a really mature outing for her. Tori Gilbert has been waiting so patiently and working so hard, it was awesome to see her have a couple of big swings and look very comfortable at the plate. We’re excited to take tomorrow off and rest then get back to work on Monday to prepare to head to Clemson. ACC play is here and we’re excited about it.”
UP NEXT FOR THE HOOS
Virginia goes back out on the road to continue ACC play at No. 4 Clemson next weekend. Game one of the series is set for Friday (March 17) at 6 p.m. Game two is set for a 1 p.m. first pitch on Saturday and the finale is set for 4 p.m. on Sunday.