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Virginia softball drops six at Citrus Classic

Cavaliers return winless from weekend tournament play

It was a discouraging weekend for Virginia softball, as the Cavaliers (3-12) dropped six consecutive games to return winless from the Citrus Classic held in Orlando, Florida.

The Cavaliers opened with a clash against Marist and soon trailed 2-0 following the first inning. Despite answering with three runs in the top of the second to claim the lead, Virginia relinquished four runs in the bottom of the third, and the Red Foxes (2-2) cruised to a 6-4 victory.

The Cavaliers allowed six runs and mustered little run support against Jacksonville State (9-6) in Friday’s second game. Senior first baseman Megan Harris accounted for the only offense with a two-run double in the second inning. Gamecock freshman Whitney Gillespie totaled seven strikeouts over 5.2 innings of relief as Jacksonville State earned the win 6-2.

In their Saturday matchups against George Washington and Arkansas, the Cavaliers rallied in both games only to have the lead slip from their grasp.

Sophomore infielder Kaitlin Fitzgerald’s game-tying, bases-loaded double highlighted Virginia’s first game, against the Colonials (4-7). The double knotted the game at 5-5 in the seventh and sent the game into extra innings. The Cavaliers and George Washington remained neck-and-neck — each scoring one and two runs in the eighth and ninth inning, respectively — before the Colonials’ offense exploded in the tenth inning to score eight runs and seal a 16-9 victory.

In their next game against Arkansas, the Cavaliers trailed 4-0 entering the sixth frame when freshman Allison Davis laced a two-run double, which was followed by a two-run home run by sophomore catcher Katie Park to tie the game. However, Virginia fell in heartbreaking fashion as the Razorbacks (8-7) launched two solo shots in the bottom of the inning to win the game 6-4.

Sunday’s matchup against Campbell remained scoreless through the first four innings until three Cavalier errors allowed the Camels (6-5) to plate five runs. Virginia was able to answer with two runs in the top of the seventh on RBIs by Fitzgerald and Harris, but their rally fell short as Campbell won, 5-2.

In their last game of the Citrus Classic against Elon, Virginia trailed by only one leading into the fifth inning at 4-3, thanks to home runs by junior outfielder Aimee Chapdelaine, freshman infielder Danni Ingraham and Harris. However, a four-run inning in the bottom of the sixth allowed the Phoenix (7-4) to take the lead, and the Cavaliers were unable to bounce back as they were defeated 8-6.

The Citrus Classic marks the end of tournament play until March 20. Virginia will resume action this weekend when they open up conference play with a three-game series against Pittsburgh.

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