CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. - In the final Atlantic Coast Conference game of the season, the Virginia softball team (25-24, 8-13 ACC) topped NC State 5-1 Sunday at The Park. With the win, the Cavaliers clinched the series with the Wolfpack.
Freshman Megan Harris (Knoxville, Tenn.) led Virginia with a 2-for-3 performance at the plate while senior Kennedy Byxbee (Paradise Valley, Ariz.) had two RBI and classmate Giannina Cipolloni (Philadelphia, Pa.) scored two runs.
Junior pitcher Melanie Mitchell (White Plains, Md.) struck out 10 in the complete game outing to earn her seventh win vs. an ACC team this season. She did not walk a batter in two games - 14 innings - against the Wolfpack.
The Cavaliers jumped out to an early lead with two runs in the first and second innings. Cipolloni led off the game for Virginia with a double to left center and took third on an Alex Skinkis (La Palma, Calif.) sacrifice bunt. Then with two outs, sophomore Erica Cipolloni (Philadelphia, Pa.) walked and stole second. Byxbee hit a single through the right side allowing both Cipolloni sisters to score. The Cavaliers led 2-0 after the first inning.
In the second inning, NC State cut the lead to 2-1 when Sara Lippard hit a solo home run with two outs.
But the Cavaliers answered in the bottom half of the inning. Junior Kristen Hawkins (Elizabeth, Pa.) got things started with a one-out walk before Harris doubled to right center. Though Hawkins was thrown out at home on the play, Giannina Cipolloni followed with a walk and a NC State throwing error put Harris on third and Cipolloni on second with two outs. Skinkis then walked to load the bases, and when senior Alexa Martinez (Fort Lauderdale, Fla.) walked, Harris scored from the third. Erica Cipolloni was then hit by a pitch to allow Giannina Cipolloni to come home. The two unearned runs made it 4-1 Virginia.
The Cavaliers added their final run in the fifth. Erica Cipolloni walked and following two strikeouts, stole second. The next batter, sophomore Marcy Bowdren (Fairfax Station, Va.) hit a ground ball to short but it was overthrown at first, and Cipolloni was able to score on the play.
Morgan Peeler threw the first two innings for NC State (23-30, 5-15 ACC) and took the loss. She allowed two earned runs on three hits with five walks. Emily Weiman came on for the final four innings and did not allow an earned run. She also tallied seven strikeouts.
Virginia plays host to George Mason at 5 p.m. Tuesday at The Park.
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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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