TUSCALOOSA, Ala. – The Virginia softball team (4-3) split games on the opening day of the Easton Bama Bash, taking a 5-2 victory over Southern Indiana (0-2) before dropping a 3-1 game to No. 11 Alabama (7-0) on Friday (Feb. 16).

Virginia struck first with a two-run home run from Jade Hylton in the third inning. Kelly Ayer scored on the play after reaching with a leadoff single before stealing second with Hylton at the plate.

Southern Indiana responded in the home half of the third, loading the bases before a one-out single from Lexi Fair brought the first run home and kept the bases loaded. Eden Bigham would enter in relief and strike out the next two batters to end the inning and maintain the lead for Virginia.

The Screaming Eagles tied things in the fourth by using a passed ball and a throwing error to capitalize on a leadoff walk.

The Hoos moved back in front in the sixth with a two-run home run from Sarah Coon that scored Lauren VanAssche. Bella Cabral opened the inning with a single before VanAssche entered to run for her at first. Coon then added the game’s final run with an RBI single in the seventh to put Virginia up 5-2.

Eden Bigham (2-1) picked up the relief win, working the final 5.0 innings with 11 strikeouts as she allowed only two hits in her time in the circle.

Josie Newman (0-1) took the loss for Southern Indiana, allowing the five runs on eight hits with two walks and two strikeouts.

It was a game highlighted by pitching and defense early with a two-run home run from Alabama in the first inning being the difference through the first four and a half innings. The Crimson Tide would take the lead out to 3-0 with a single run in the fifth.

Virginia got on the board in the seventh inning, pushing a run across when Lauren VanAssche took third on a fly out and capitalized on a fielding error at short to cut the lead to 3-1. The Cavaliers couldn’t get another run home as Alabama shut down the rally and sealed the win.

Courtney Layne (1-1) took the loss, allowing the two runs on two hits with a walk and a strikeout in 1.2 innings of work. The Cavaliers used three pitchers on the night as Julia Cuozzo and Madi Harris worked the final 4.1 innings.

Kayla Beaver (3-0) took the win in the complete-game effort, allowing the one unearned run on four hits with a walk and six strikeouts.


  • Eden Bigham tied a career high with 11 strikeouts through 5.0 innings pitched in relief.
  • Sarah Coon hit her third home run of the season and tallied three RBI in the win over Southern Indiana.

“We continue to learn about ourselves and mature as a team. Eden’s (Bigham) relief appearance in game was a huge lift against USI and Sarah Coon was clutch late.

“Our energy and fight was positive against Alabama, however, our team has to break through close games with top 25 opponents. Execution of our gameplan, in all phases, from the first inning is the difference between elevating our program into the top 25. Our goal is to compete in the NCAA tournament- we have to execute at a higher clip if we expect to compete in NCAAs.

“I have to recognize Madi Harris’ relief appearance against Bama. She’s come in and thrown against two of the toughest offenses we’ve faced this season and remained poised and competitive.  She can play a huge role for us this season- I’m really proud of her.”

Virginia continues play at the Easton Bama Bash with two games on Saturday. The Hoos will face No. 11 Alabama at 2:30 p.m. ET and then close the day against Southern Indiana at 5 p.m. ET.