COLUMBIA, S.C. – The Virginia softball team (3-1) split a pair of games on Saturday (Feb. 10) as the Cavaliers defeated UNCG (1-3) by a score of 7-2 before falling to No. 23 South Carolina (3-0) by a score of 6-1.
GAME 1: VIRGINIA 7, UNCG 2
The Cavaliers struck first, pushing two runs across in the third with RBI singles from Jade Hylton and Bella Cabral. Kelly Ayer walked and stole second to get into scoring position for the Hylton hit. A fielding error on her single allowed Hylton to take second and get into scoring position for the Cabral hit.
A throwing error in the fourth allowed two more runs to score for Virginia. After a Kelsey Hackett single and a walk of Sydney Hartgrove put two on, Ayer drove a ball to short and the throw was rushed, allowing her to reach and the Cavaliers to take the 4-0 lead.
A Macee Eaton double in the fifth inning drove in Virginia’s fifth run, but UNCG got the run back in the bottom of the fifth with a bases-loaded walk.
Virginia got two more in the seventh with a leadoff home run from Cabral before Hackett delivered an RBI triple four batters later. Kamyria Woody-Giggetts scored on the Hackett hit after entering as a pinch runner and stealing second with Hackett at the plate.
UNCG got its final run back in the seventh, but right-hander Mikayla Houge and the Hoos shut down the rally attempt.
Courtney Layne (1-0) picked up the win, allowing one run on four hits with two walks and five strikeouts through 4.1 innings of work.
Rhyann Jones (0-2) took the loss for UNCG as she allowed two runs – one earned – on three hits with two walks and four strikeouts in 2.2 innings of work.
GAME 2: VIRGINIA, No. 23 SOUTH CAROLINA
The teams went toe-to-toe through the early innings with each team getting out of jams without surrendering runs.
South Carolina broke through in the fifth inning, pushing four runs across as the Gamecocks loaded the bases and strung together three consecutive hits to take the 4-0 lead. The Gamecocks then added two more runs in the sixth to take the 6-0 lead.
Sarah Coon got the Cavaliers on the board with a solo home run with one out in the seventh for the final 6-1 score.
Julia Cuozzo (0-1) took the loss in relief as she allowed four runs on four hits with five walks and three strikeouts. She entered in the game to start the third in relief of Madi Harris who worked 2.0 innings in the start with two walks and two strikeouts.
NOTES ON THE DAY
- Courtney Layne earned the win in her first appearance this season and was one shy her career-high in strikeouts.
- Bella Cabral hit her first collegiate home run in the seventh vs. UNCG and went 2-for-4 with two RBI in the game.
- Mikayla Houge made her first appearance of the season, working the final 0.2 innings vs. UNC.
- Madison Harris made her first appearance with the start in the circle against No. 23 South Carolina.
- Sarah Coon hit her second home run of the season with her solo shot against the Gamecocks in the seventh.
FROM HEAD COACH JO HARDIN
“We talked from the get-go that this weekend is about learning our team and learning who goes back-to-back well with who and what our pitching staff will look like. I’m really proud of Madi Harris. We asked her to come out in the second game and get six outs for us and she did just that. It was a big start for her and she came out and attacked. I thought Julia (Cuozzo) pitched really well and gave us everything she had and threw well today.
“It was great to see our offense execute in some big moments. Kelsey Hackett came out and got two big hits. We also had some moments where we didn’t execute and take advantage of situations. We made a couple of mistakes, but that’s part of it and learning about yourself. We’re learning and growing and that’s all you can ask right now. We get to get back after it against South Carolina again tomorrow and we’ll make some adjustments and be ready to go.”
ON DECK FOR THE HOOS
Virginia closes out the Carolina Classic at 12:30 p.m. on Sunday (Feb. 11) when the Cavaliers take on No. 23 South Carolina. The game will be streamed on SEC Network + through the ESPN app and at WatchESPN.com.