Virginia Hosts No. 22 North Carolina in ACC Showdown

VIRGINIASPORTSDOTCOM
VIRGINIASPORTSDOTCOM

VIRGINIASPORTSDOTCOM

CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. - The Virginia softball team (19-13, 5-0 ACC) will play host to No. 22 North Carolina (record) in a three-game Atlantic Coast Conference showdown this weekend at The Park. The two teams will meet at 6 p.m. Friday before closing the series with a doubleheader beginning at 1 p.m. Saturday. Live stats will be available on VirginiaSports.com.

Following Saturday's second game, there will be an Easter egg hunt on the field. There will also be a chance to meet the team during a postgame autograph session.

The Cavaliers are receiving votes in the latest National Fastpitch Coaches Association (NFCA) poll and have won six of their last seven games. On Wednesday, Virginia held on to beat JMU, 5-4.

Senior Sarah Tacke continues to pace UVa's offense with a .410 average and a team-best eight doubles and 27 RBI. Freshman Alex Skinkis, who was named the ACC Player of the Week on Tuesday, hits .293 and also contributes 13 RBI while senior Nicole Koren is batting .287 and leads Virginia with seven home runs.

Freshman pitcher Melanie Mitchell earned her 15th win of the season Wednesday against the Dukes. On the season, she has a 2.65 ERA and 24 complete games. Mitchell also has 178 strikeouts in 150 2/3 innings of work.

The Tar Heels are 26-11 on the season, including a 4-5 mark in conference play. Last weekend, UNC dropped a league series at home to NC State, with the Wolfpack taking two-of-three games. On Wednesday, North Carolina split a doubleheader with Campbell.

Two-time ACC Player of the Year Danielle Spaulding leads the Tar Heels with a .351 batting average and 24 RBI on the season. Christine Knauer is hitting .327 and paces UNC with 27 runs and 27 stolen bases. Kelli Wheeler adds a .278 average and has a team-best nine home runs in addition to 20 RBI.

Spaulding boasts a 1.03 ERA in the circle this season. She is 9-2 with six shutouts and has struck out 155 batters in 95 1/3 innings of work. Teammate Amber Johnson has a 2.13 ERA and is 16-9 on the year. She has 159 strikeouts in 144 2/3 innings.

North Carolina leads the all-time series with UVa, 68-27-1. The Tar Heels have won the last 14 games between the two teams. Virginia last won the series in 2005 in Chapel Hill; the last UVa win came on April 17 of that season, 3-2.