Softball finishes Tennessee Classic 1-3

Cavaliers sit with a record of 5-8 after tournament

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Freshman pitcher Aly Rayle earned the win for Virginia against Bradley at the Tennessee Classic. Courtesy Virginia Athletics

The Virginia softball team (5-8) played four games in Knoxville, Tenn., as part of the Tennessee Classic over the weekend. The Cavaliers went 1-3 in the tournament, losing to Kansas and twice to No. 7 Tennessee but defeating Bradley. 

Virginia was initially scheduled to face Louisville and Tennessee State as well, but rain forced several schedule changes to the tournament, which caused Tennessee State to withdraw and the Cavaliers’ game against Louisville to be canceled.

Game one: Virginia - 2, Kansas - 5

Senior pitcher Allyson Frei started on the mound against Kansas (3-10) Sunday, holding the Jayhawks to no hits in the first three innings. In the fourth, however, Frei gave up a walk that lead to three runs crossing the plate on three hits, two walks and an error.

Kansas junior pitcher Brynn Minor pitched four scoreless innings for the Jayhawks but gave up one run to Virginia freshman infielder Abigail Barber with a solo shot over the right field fence in the bottom of the fifth. This is following her first career home run last weekend against Northern Kentucky. The Cavaliers came up empty the rest of the inning and didn’t score again until the seventh. 

The Jayhawks added two more runs in the seventh, giving them a four run lead going into the final half inning. Senior pitcher Erika Osherow walked in the seventh to start the inning and freshman catcher, and infielder Donna Friedman followed up to put Osherow in scoring position with a single to the right side. 

Barber reached first on an infielder’s choice to second base, advancing Osherow to third. Junior infielder Ashlee Davis came up with a second RBI for the Cavaliers, grounding out to shortstop and scoring Osherow. Virginia ended the game with two in scoring position. 

Kansas’ Minor went 2-4 at the plate and pitched all seven innings against Virginia, her first complete game of the season. She allowed Virginia just four hits and held the Cavaliers to a single run in the seventh, striking out the final batter with the bases loaded. 

Game two: Virginia - 1, Tennessee - 11

Virginia faced No. 7 Tennessee (11-2) Sunday, allowing 11 runs and producing just two hits.

Osherow gave up a single to Tennessee freshman outfielder Amanda Ayala to start a five run rally for the Lady Vols in the bottom of the first. Tennessee followed with two singles and a hit by pitch to put two runs on the board. 

With two outs, Tennessee’s freshman catcher Kaili Phillips hit to center field, scoring three runs. Tennessee brought in three more runs in the second to give them an 8-0 lead over Virginia. 

Sophomore shortstop Hayley Busby scored the only run for the Cavaliers, a solo shot off the scoreboard in left field in the third. Tennessee responded in the bottom of the inning with two more runs, both crossing the plate on wild pitches by senior pitcher and infielder Lacy Smith. 

Tennessee pitcher Matty Moss pitched a complete game and gave up just one run on two hits. The win over Virginia marks Tennessee’s fifth game in double digits this season and their record in Tennessee Classic games now sits at 50-6. The Lady Vols came up with eight hits and 10 walks in the game. 

Standing Out

Busby finished 1-for-3 at the plate, hitting her first home run of the season to score the only run of the game. She also delivered on defense, coming up with a diving catch in the bottom of the third to end the inning with the bases loaded. Her average is .356 and slugging percentage sits at .644 for the season. 

Game three: Virginia - 3, Bradley - 2

Virginia managed a close 3-2 win over Bradley (5-9) Monday. The Cavaliers started strong in the first inning with a leadoff single by Busby, later driven in by a homer to left field by Smith. Bradley, however, responded in the second with a home run by junior catcher Kealia Wysocki. Wysocki finished the game 3-for-3, accounting for three of Bradley’s six hits. 

Bradley started the top of the third with two singles, but the Cavaliers turned two and Frei retired the last batter with runners in scoring position. Frei limited Bradley to three hits before she was replaced by freshman pitcher Aly Rayle in the top of the fourth. 

Freshman outfielder Bailey Winscott led off with a single to second base to start the bottom of the fifth. Winscott stole second and was driven in by a single to right field by Busby. Bradley responded, starting the sixth with a double by senior outfielder Gabby Stoner, advancing to third on a throwing error. A fly out to right field allowed Stoner to cross home on the throw. Wysocki later hit a double to right field but was left in scoring position to end the inning.

The Braves were unable to tie the game up in the seventh, and Frei retired the side to clench the win for the Cavaliers. Frei had three strikeouts for the game, facing 13 batters in 64 pitches. 

Game four: Virginia - 2, Tennessee - 6

Virginia was taken down by Tennessee for a second time Monday. Tennessee pitchers junior Caylan Arnold and Moss combined to hold the Cavaliers to just four hits in seven innings. 

Both teams were quick to score in the first inning. Smith produced her second home run of the day, launching one down the left field line to put the Cavaliers on the board. In the bottom of the inning, Tennessee came up with three runs through a combination of singles and walks. 

Tennessee scored two more in the second inning, and a double and wild pitch in the fourth allowed the Lady Vols to add a final run. 

Barber hit a single in the sixth and took advantage of two fielding errors to cross home and give Virginia another run. The scored remained 6-2 through the seventh. 

Standing Out 

Smith came up with her fourth and fifth home runs of the season Monday, racking up three RBIs for the day. Smith currently leads the team in RBIs with 12 and slugging percentage with a mark of .786.

Virginia is now 5-8 on the season and is set to play their first home game of the year at The Park on Thursday Feb. 28, against Rutgers at 5 p.m.

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