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Virginia splits midweek series with Liberty

Cavalier bats shut out in opener, come alive in game two

Virginia softball had a quick turnaround, taking on visiting Liberty three days after their series finale against North Carolina. The Cavaliers (16-29, 5-9 ACC) and Flames (24-23, 10-5, Big South) split the two-game series, with Liberty taking the first game 1-0 and Virginia winning the second, 9-7.

Freshman pitcher Erika Osherow pitched well in the opening game of the series, allowing only one run in seven innings of work. However, the Virginia offense struggled and was unable to muster any runs.

After the first game of the series, it looked as if it was going to be a long day for the Cavaliers. However, the second game of the series could not have gone any differently for both teams. It was a high-scoring affair, and Virginia came out of the gates swinging the bats very well — taking a 5-1 lead after the first two innings.

Coach Blake Miller said he thought the early lead played a huge role in dictating how the rest of the game was played.

“It really just allowed us to play loose and to keep swinging the bats,” Miller said. “[It’s] really nice and a lot easier swinging with the lead instead of swinging from a tie or from behind, so it just kept our bats loose and kept everything moving.”

The surging Cavalier offense — led by sophomore pitcher and outfielder Allison Davis — scored at least one run in five of their six innings at the plate Wednesday evening. Davis pointed out how it sparked the team and allowed Virginia to gain some momentum.

“I think runs get the fans going, it gets the players going, it get the coaches going,” Davis said. “I think it just, each run led to another one, kind of like dominoes in a way, so I really think that it pumped all the girls up, and we really wanted to win this game.”

The team was able to put the early game behind them and come out strong for the second.

“I think the team really came together at bat,” Davis said. “We talked about it in between games and really just found a way to power through, get some runs. Clearly runs are very helpful, and it just gave all of our pitchers the confidence in the circle to really shut them down.”

Miller was impressed by the way his team was able to bounce back and get back to focusing on plate discipline, something he has stressed as key to successful at bats all season long.

“We had some good at bats in the first game, and so they really just stuck with it and we got a lot more discipline than we did in the first game,” Miller said. “We kind of lost what we do except for those last three innings in the first game, so they did well — they did well bouncing back and just come back to get a good win.”

Wednesday night marked the end of an eight-game home stand for the Cavaliers, thus Virginia will get ready to head back on the road this weekend.

With the season winding down, and only eight games to go, the Cavaliers will look to finish the season strong, as they head down to Atlanta, Ga. for their final three-game series of the season. Virginia will take on ACC opponent Georgia Tech with the first two games of the series Saturday, and the series finale taking place Sunday.