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Softball falls to Notre Dame in weekend series

The Cavaliers continue to struggle in ACC play

<p>Senior Lacy Smith went 2-for-4 in Virginia's narrow loss in the first game of the series.</p>

Senior Lacy Smith went 2-for-4 in Virginia's narrow loss in the first game of the series.

Virginia (17-28, 5-16 ACC) took three straight losses against Notre Dame (29-15, 12-6 ACC) this weekend. In the first game, the Fighting Irish rallied from a six-run deficit to defeat the Cavaliers in extra innings and cruised to comfortable victory in the last two games Saturday.

Game 1: Virginia 10, Notre Dame 14

Virginia opened the weekend series Friday night, playing to the bottom of the fourth inning before rain suspended play. Notre Dame took an early two-run lead in the first with a single and pair of walks followed by a double to right center. Sophomore infielder Hayley Busby responded with a long home run down the left field line to lead things off for Virginia in the bottom half of the inning. Senior infielder Lacy Smith came up with a double in the next at-bat, and senior pitcher Erika Osherow produced another home run to give Virginia a one-run lead. 

The Irish scored again in the third inning with a double to right field by sophomore pitcher Alexis Holloway and one more in the fourth with an RBI from a bunt single. Virginia took back the lead in the bottom of the inning when Busby homered again to score three more runs. Once play resumed Saturday morning, freshman infielder Abigail Barber produced an RBI single to score Osherow.

The Cavaliers added three more on three hits in the bottom of the fifth, including a double by freshman infielder Arizona Ritchie, a single by sophomore outfielder Kate Covington and a single by Smith. In the following inning, however, the Irish got three back on a pair of hits, a walk and a hit-by-pitch. 

Notre Dame matched Virginia’s 10 runs in the final inning to send the game into extras. Following a pair of singles that scored one, senior infielder Cait Brooks hit a home run to right center to score the tying run. Virginia threatened a walk-off win with the bases loaded and no outs, but Notre Dame freshman pitcher Payton Tidd worked three straight outs to escape the inning.

The Irish took the lead and kept it in the ninth inning. Sophomore infielder Sarah Genz hit a grand slam as a pinch-hitter to produce the 14-10 result for Notre Dame. 

Game 2: Virginia 2, Notre Dame 13

Notre Dame took another early lead in game two with five runs in the first inning. The Irish capitalized on four walks, two singles and a three-run homer to center field by sophomore outfielder Abby Sweet. Virginia responded with a pair of runs in the bottom of the inning. Busby, Smith and Osherow hit three consecutive doubles to get things going for the Cavaliers. Smith and senior catcher Olivia Gott each added singles in the bottom of the sixth, but Virginia was unable to score again. 

The Irish added eight runs in the sixth on five singles and two doubles, in addition to three Cavalier errors, to coast to victory. 

Game 3: Virginia 0, Notre Dame 7

The Irish scored first in the top of the third inning with a pair of singles with two outs. Notre Dame caused further damage in the fifth inning with a double by junior infielder Katie Marino to score a pair of runs. In the top of the sixth, the Irish added four more runs on three doubles and a triple to run out to a 7-0 lead. 

Freshman outfielder Tori Gilbert, junior infielder Ashlee Davis, Covington and Busby each added singles to combine for Virginia’s four hits for the game. Freshman pitcher Aly Rayle took the loss on the mound, allowing five runs on eight hits in five innings pitched. 

Next up for the Cavaliers is a doubleheader against No. 20 James Madison Tuesday at Veterans Memorial Park in Harrisonburg.