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Virginia earns sweep over Western Carolina

Throughout the entire season, the Virginia softball team has been searching for the game where it could put all of its talent together. In a doubleheader against Western Carolina Tuesday, Virginia (9-29, 1-11 ACC) truly seemed to hit its stride, producing 12 runs, committing only one error and surrendering only two runs as it earned the sweep.

In the first game, the Cavaliers took the lead over Western Carolina (14-22, 3-3 SoCon) and never looked back. Sophomore outfielder Iyana Hughes paved the way for the victory when she smashed a 3-2 pitch over the right center stands to give the Cavaliers a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the first inning.

Virginia’s offense remained mostly mute until the fifth inning when sophomore infielder McKall Miller drew a one-out walk. With two outs, a single by junior pitcher Aimee Chapdelaine moved Miller into scoring position before freshman shortstop Allison Davis knocked home junior outfielder Taylor Sarcone, pinch-running for Miller, to add some insurance to the Cavaliers’ lead.

The Catamounts attempted a comeback in the seventh inning, starting when senior catcher Heather Chastain led off by launching a ball over the left field fence to cut Virginia’s lead to one. Junior shortstop Karley Harkey drew a one-out walk and moved the second on a sacrifice bunt.

But, with two outs, Virginia freshman pitcher Andie Formby induced a ground ball to freshman third baseman Lauren Heintzelman, who threw to first to conclude the game as Virginia survived Western Carolina, 2-1. Formby earned the win as she racked up four strikeouts in a three-hit, complete game effort.

After seeing its offense subdued in the North Carolina series, the bats finally came to life for Virginia in the second contest. The game began in Western Carolina’s favor though, as the Catamounts manufactured an early lead on a single, a sacrifice bunt and another single to knock in a run in the top of the first inning.

However, Virginia answered with resounding effort. The Cavaliers batted around as they reached base twelve consecutive times to start the bottom of the first. With eight hits, including an RBI double by freshman infielder Danni Ingraham and a two run shot by Heintzelman, the Cavaliers plated nine runs as they cruised to an early lead.

Virginia tacked on another run with a leadoff home run by sophomore catcher Katie Park in the second. Freshman pitcher Alex Formby shut down the Catamounts for the remainder of the game as she earned a complete game victory to match her sister’s.

The Cavaliers are looking to build upon today’s success as they continue their homestand with a three-game series against Boston College this weekend.

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