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Softball takes Cavalier Classic with four wins

This weekend the Virginia softball team picked up four wins and plenty of confidence.

The Cavaliers won four straight games en route to capturing the Cavalier Classic, winning off the five-team tournament with an 8-0 shutout of Wright State yesterday afternoon at The Park.

Virginia (6-11) had won just two of 13 games going into the tournament. After struggling against tough competition on two season-opening road trips, the Cavs returned home and gave up just two runs in the four wins against Delaware, Ohio, Eastern Kentucky and Wright State.

"It's something that we just really needed in order to get going and find some confidence," Virginia Coach Cheryl Sprangel said. "It's great for them to finally step up and start taking control."

The Virginia lineup pounded out 15 hits against Wright State (6-7) while sophomore hurler Kristen Dennis went the distance for the Cavs, posting a two-hit complete game shutout.

"We really pulled it together this weekend," Dennis said. "We started stringing hits together and the defense played well. We started to do the things that we hadn't been doing in the past."

Virginia struck first in the top of the second when left fielder Jen Krill laced a two-out double that brought home fellow senior Karen Breshears.

The score remained 1-0 until the top of the fourth, when the Cavs bunched together five hits to score four runs in their biggest outburst of the game. After Virginia loaded the bases with singles from Dennis, Breshears and freshman catcher Stephanie Calhoun, senior first baseman Amy Peay drove a double to knock in two runs. Krill and redshirt sophomore Kelly McCabe each followed with RBI singles to extend the lead to 5-0.

"We pulled two hit-and-runs in a row, and everybody did their job like they're supposed to do," Sprangel said.

The big inning gave Dennis (1-2) a comfortable lead and she managed to keep the ball down and force ground balls.

"They're just really aggressive," Dennis said of the Wright State offense. "They come out swinging the bats, so I just tried to keep them on their toes."

Virginia scored again in the fifth when Peay's infield hit knocked in Breshears. In the seventh, Krill roped an RBI triple to right-center and McCabe followed with a bunt single that brought home Krill.

With the Cavs leading 8-0, Dennis closed out the game when she struck out the side in the bottom of the seventh.

"It was definitely a big confidence booster," Dennis said. "This really helps us get back into things. Now we're getting into the groove and starting to come around."

Sprangel said it was also crucial that the Cavaliers finally settled on a regular lineup.

"This team has a lot of potential," Sprangel said. "When you have a chance to get things going, you can start to put it all together."

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