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Softball Comes Back to Defeat Virginia Tech in Walk-off Thriller

March 4, 2017

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CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. – Virginia (9-9, 1-1 ACC) fell behind on three separate occasions but rallied for the tying and ultimately the game-winning run in the bottom of the seventh inning of a 9-8 victory over Virginia Tech (9-6, 1-1 ACC).

Senior Kaitlin Fitzgerald (Placentia, Calif.), who was a late scratch in the lineup, was called upon to pinch-hit in the bottom half of the seventh with two outs and the winning run on second base. Three batters earlier, classmate Katie Park (Scottsdale, Ariz.) tied the game up at eight with her fourth home run of the spring. Fitzgerald punched a 2-2 pitch down the right field line that allowed Olivia Gott (Weston, Fla.) to score all the way from second.

The Virginia win over Virginia Tech was the first since 2015 and halted a five-game, Hokie win streak in the series. The Cavaliers have now won five games this year in their final at bat. All three of the Virginia home runs on the day came in the fifth inning or later. So far this season, 17 of the ACC-leading 25 home runs by the Cavaliers have been hit in the fifth inning or later.

Park put forth her second-straight multi-hit performance by going 2-for-3 with a run scored and two RBIs. Junior Danni Ingraham (Laguna Niguel, Calif.) had a team-high three hits, scored once and drove in Virginia’s fourth run. The Cavaliers matched a season-high with 13 hits by eight different players.

Virginia Tech saw leads of 4-0, 7-4 and 8-7 all dissipate. In the first two games of the Commonwealth Clash, there have been four different occasions in which the game has been tied and eight lead changes.


 

 

Ingraham tied the game for the first time with a RBI single in the bottom of the third that scored Park. The Hokies regained the lead with a run in the fourth and two more in the fifth. Gott hit the first of two fifth inning homers by ringing one off the top of the scoreboard in right field and plated two runs. Iyana Hughes (Manteca, Calif.), who fell behind in the count 0-2, rocketed her third long ball of the season over the right field wall to tie the game up at seven.

Senior McKall Miller (Ashburn, Va.) was one of four Cavaliers to put forth multi-hit efforts and went 2-for-4 with four RBIs. She has now hit safely in six-straight games.

In the circle, sophomore Lexi Mettler (Turlock, Calif.) was credited with her third win of the season after pitching the final two innings. She allowed one run on four hits and escaped a bases loaded jam in the top of the seventh to keep Virginia within a run.

The rubber match of the three-game series is scheduled for tomorrow (March 5) at The Park. First pitch is slated for noon. Kids in attendance can run the bases at the conclusion of the game. The team will also be available to sign autographs. Admission to all games at The Park is free.

The Commonwealth Clash presented by Virginia529 is a head-to-head, points-based competition between the athletic teams at University of Virginia and Virginia Tech.  The Commonwealth Clash encourages a friendly, statewide rivalry between the two schools across all school-sponsored sports with 22 individual event points on the line.  The school that accumulates 11.5 points or more will be crowned the winner and take home the Virginia529 Commonwealth Clash trophy.  Visit www.TheCommonwealthClash.com for more information and updated standings.

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Jeff White

Director of News Content

jwhite@virginia.edu

A 1985 graduate of UVA, White worked at the Richmond Times-Dispatch until July 2009. He was honored six times as the state's Sportswriter of the Year.

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