The Virginia softball team defeated George Washington 2-1 in 10 innings Wednesday evening, outlasting the visiting Colonials. It was the third win in a row for the Cavaliers, a streak they will look to extend into this weekend at Maryland.
For Virginia (12-12, 1-2 ACC), another round of late-game heroics left them on top. The team won its previous game in extra innings as well, an 8-7 affair in nine innings last Thursday against Longwood. This time around, the Cavaliers did not get on the scoreboard until the sixth inning, but still pulled through by holding the Colonials (11-12, 0-0 A-10) scoreless following a solo home run by sophomore catcher Samantha Dos Santos in the fifth inning.
“We took a while to get started … but in the end we just put it together and pushed [runs] through when we needed them,” sophomore first baseman Megan Harris said. “The defense was pretty strong, and the pitchers are doing a really great job.”
In the bottom of the 10th inning, three Cavaliers – senior outfielder Taylor Williams, sophomore outfielder Heidi Velk and junior third baseman Marcy Bowdren – hit three consecutive singles to load the bases. Harris then stepped up to the plate and knocked a single down the left field line to drive in the winning run.
Freshman pitcher Aimee Chapdelaine earned the win with two scoreless innings of relief, striking out two while allowing two hits. The starter, senior pitcher Melanie Mitchell, struck out 16 batters in eight innings, giving up four hits and one earned run. Chapdelaine improved to 3-4 on the season, while Mitchell pushed her school-record total for strikeouts to 975.
“Unfortunately we put ourselves in that position, but it does show that we can make some adjustments at the end and it does show that we can finish and we’re not giving in,” Coach Eileen Schmidt said. “[Chapdelaine] came in and did an excellent job pounding the zone and staying aggressive, keeping them off-balance to let us stay in the game.”
Velk and Bowdren, along with senior shortstop Alex Skinkis and freshman outfielder Shannon McGinley, each tallied two hits for the Cavaliers. With her two singles, Bowdren extended her hitting streak to 11 games and is batting .357 on the season.
“I’m just kind of going up there and hoping for the best,” Bowdren said. “I’m not overworking myself if I don’t get a hit the first at bat of the game. I’m just plugging away, so hopefully it keeps working.”
The Cavaliers return to action this weekend with a three game away series at ACC foe Maryland. Winners in six of their last eight matches, the Terrapins (11-16, 0-0 ACC) have a reputation for creating a very intimidating environment for opponents. The team plays an aggressive style and has proven to be a historically tough matchup for the Cavaliers, holding a 31-22 advantage in the series.
“Every year with Maryland is always a battle, so I don’t expect anything different,” Schmidt said. “They swing the bats big and they play hard – very gritty, very tough. We need to be on our toes right from the start, because they come out with a full ton of emotion and they stick it to you right from the start.”