CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. – The Virginia softball team (18-7, 1-2 ACC) heads out on the road to continue conference play this weekend with a three-game series at No. 4 Clemson (26-1, 3-0 ACC). First pitch is set for 1 p.m. on Saturday (March 18) as the Hoos and Tigers open things with a doubleheader.
HOW TO FOLLOW THE ACTION
Saturday’s games will be streamed on ACCNX, while Sunday’s series finale will be broadcast on ACC Network. Streams for all three games can be found through the ESPN app or at ESPN.com. Live stats are also available for all three games. Links to the streams and live stats are listed at VirginiaSports.com. Fans can also get updates by following the program’s official Twitter account (@UVASoftball).
- Virginia goes on the road for the first time in ACC play after opening at home vs. Ga. Tech
- Kelly Ayer leads the ACC and ranks 13th nationally in steals (16) entering the weekend. Ayer – who held a 12-game hit streak entering ACC play – leads UVA with a .368 average.
- Freshman Jade Hylton also ranks third in the ACC in steals (13) and is 38th nationally.
- The Hoos have been aggressive on the basepath with 67 steals – ranking seventh nationally and tops in the ACC. UVA is 67-of-75 on steal attempts this season.
- Hylton holds the team lead in home runs (7) and also leads the team in RBI (21) – the seven home runs is fourth in the ACC heading into the weekend and is 33rd nationally.
- Freshman RHP Eden Bigham ranks eighth nationally in fewest hits allowed per seven innings (3.22) and is coming off a complete-game against Georgia Tech in last weekend’s series finale.
- Bigham also ranks fifth in the ACC with her 65 strikeouts through 54.1 innings of work.
- Kailyn Jones leads the ACC and is fourth in the NCAA in triples (4) so far this season. Jones and Hylton both rank in the top five in the league in triples this year.
- Jenny Bressler has been clutch for the Hoos in relief and is seventh nationally in saves with three saves while also posting a 5-1 record through her 15 appearances and six starts.
THE SERIES WITH CLEMSON
- Virginia and Clemson have faced off seven times in the young series and the Tigers have won all seven meetings
- The teams first met in the 2020 season with a three-game series at Clemson to open ACC play in the COVID shortened season
- The squads last met in the 2021 season with a four-game series played in Charlottesville
HOOS AGGRESSIVE ON THE BASEPATH
- Virginia has been aggressive on the basepath early in the 2023 season having stolen 67 bases on 75 attempts through the first 25 games
- The Hoos lead the ACC in stolen bases per game (2.68) and rank 11th nationally in the category
- Virginia stole 69 bases a year ago and is quickly closing in on that number halfway through the 2023 season
- Kelly Ayer leads the Hoos in steals with a 16-for-17 performance, while Jade Hylton is 13-for-14 and Gabby Baylog is 10-for-10
- Ayer is first in the ACC in stolen bases and 13th nationally, while Hylton and Baylog are third and eighth in the ACC
PATIENCE DELIVERS FREE BASES FOR HOOS
- Virginia has been patient at the plate which has led to lots of free bases this season with 99 walks
- The 99 walks ranks 10th nationally and second in the ACC as the Hoos head into the weekend
- Virginia was buoyed by a 14-walk performance against UMES in which the Cavaliers drew 7 walks in one inning to seal the run-rule victory
- Gabby Baylog leads the Hoos with 14 walks, while Katie Goldberg has drawn 13 and Kelly Ayer and Jade Hylton both have 12 walks