CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. - The Virginia softball team (24-24, 7-13 ACC) won the first game of a doubleheader 2-0 over NC State (23-29, 5-14 ACC) before falling in game two, 14-4, in five innings Saturday at The Park.
Following the second contest, the Cavaliers honored their five seniors - Kennedy Byxbee (Paradise Valley, Ariz.), Giannina Cipolloni (Philadelphia, Pa.), Stephanie Coates (Gloucester, Va.), Alexa Martinez (Fort Lauderdale, Fla.) and former player and current manager Rachel Harvey (Bluemont, Va.). The series with NC State this weekend marks the last regular season conference games for Virginia.
In the first game, junior pitcher Melanie Mitchell (White Plains, Md.) recorded the complete game shutout in the circle. She finished with seven strikeouts and did not walk a batter.
Virginia scored a run in the bottom of the second and fourth innings en route to victory. Cipolloni led the Cavaliers at the plate with two singles and a RBI along with two stolen bases. Freshman Megan Harris (Knoxville, Tenn.) tallied the other RBI while Byxbee and sophomore Marcy Bowdren (Fairfax Station, Va.) both singled.
In the second inning, junior Kristen Hawkins (Elizabeth, Pa.) was hit by a pitch for the 12th time this season, tying the Virginia single season record. With one out, Hawkins stole second base. Then with two outs, Cipolloni blooped the ball into center, allowing Hawkins to score from second. The Cavaliers jumped out to a 1-0 lead.
Then in the fourth, Byxbee led off with an infield single that dribbled down the first base line and stayed on the chalk. After Bowdren notched another infield single to short to put two runners on, Hawkins bunted both runners over. Byxbee would then come into score on Harris' groundout to second for a 2-0 Virginia lead.
NC State senior Morgan Peeler took the loss. Tossing all six innings, she allowed two runs on four hits and finished with three strikeouts and four walks.
In game two, the Wolfpack piled on seven runs in the top of the first inning and eventually plated 10 runs off Coates, who started for the Cavaliers. Virginia trailed 14-0 heading into the bottom of the fifth.
The Cavaliers went four consecutive innings without a hit until Bowdren led off the top of the fifth with a solo home run to left center, her sixth of the season. Hawkins followed with a single through the left side and advanced to second and third on two separate wild pitches. Cipolloni followed with a walk and stole second. With two on, junior Alex Skinkis (La Palma, Calif.) singled to center to plate Hawkins as Cipolloni took third and Skinkis advanced to second on the throw. Cipolloni then scored on a Martinez groundout to short and Skinkis scored on Erica Cipolloni's (Philadelphia, Pa.) double to right center.
Virginia put up four runs on four hits in the bottom of the fifth, but the Wolfpack lead remained too great to overcome. The Cavaliers were outhit in the contest 12-4 and also committed two errors.
Coates took the loss, throwing the first 1.1 innings. Freshman Rachel Gillen (Wilmington, Del.) came on for the final 3.2 innings. She gave up four runs on six hits and tallied with a pair of strikeouts.
Freshman Emily Weiman pitched four innings and struck out six en route to the victory for NC State. Teammate Jade Henning recorded the final three outs; both pitchers each allowed two runs on two hits.
The two teams conclude the series at 12 p.m. Sunday.
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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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