A tumultuous weekend for Virginia softball at Winthrop Tournament

The Cavaliers went 2-3 in the three-day tournament where they faced Winthrop, Georgetown and Holy Cross among others

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Despite strong pitching efforts from the Cavaliers, Virginia ended the weekend with a 2-0 loss against Boston.

Courtesy Virginia Athletics

After opening their season on a strong note at the Charlotte Invitational, the softball team faced ups and downs throughout the Winthrop Tournament this past weekend. 

The Cavaliers (5-4, 0-0 ACC) had a streaky run in Rock Hill, S.C., losing their first two games on Friday against UNCG (4-4, 0-0 SoCon) and Winthrop (5-5, 0-0 Big South). 

Virginia managed to turn it around on Saturday with two wins against Holy Cross (0-5, 0-0 Patriot League) and Georgetown (1-9, 0-0 Big East) before being dealt a loss Sunday against Boston (9-1, 0-0 Patriot League). 

Game 1 — Virginia 0, UNCG 2

The Cavaliers faced off against the Spartans Friday to open the five-game tournament. Both teams got off to a slow start with only a single hit collectively in the first two innings. 

Following a triple to left field in the top of the third inning by sophomore left-fielder Bailey Winscott, what appeared to be a promising inning for Virginia fizzled out with three quick outs. 

UNCG capitalized on the Cavaliers’ scoring drought in the bottom of the third inning with a run by senior infielder Monica Pepe who scored off of a single by sophomore catcher Delaney Cumbie. 

After another uneventful inning, Virginia came within striking distance in the top of the fifth with an opportunity to tie the game. Winscott managed to get onto third base after a walk by sophomore outfielder Tori Gilbert. Winscott made a run for the score with freshman infielder Katie Goldberg up to bat but was unable to do so. 

The Spartans once again capitalized on the Cavaliers’ miscue as junior catcher Makenna Matthijs homered for a score in the bottom of the fifth. Down 2-0, Virginia never quite managed to get back into the game, as the team struggled batting in the final two innings.

The match concluded 2-0 in favor of UNCG and the Cavaliers were set to face Winthrop later that evening. 

Game 2 — Virginia 2, Winthrop 4

Virginia looked to bounce back from their loss against the Spartans as they moved on to face Winthrop. 

This time, the Cavaliers got off to a scorching start with a single from junior infielder Savana Avilla followed up by a home run to center field from Gilbert. Both Avilla and Gilbert scored in the inning to give Virginia an early 2-0 lead. 

The Eagles responded quickly in the bottom of the first with a home run from senior outfielder Tori Walker. Winthrop continued to close the gap on the Cavaliers throughout the inning. After a walk from senior infielder Ansley Gilreath, junior catcher Taylor Charlton homered, resulting in two more runs. 

Trailing 3-2, Virginia attempted to work their way back into the lead, which they came close to in the top of the fourth inning. Sophomore catcher Donna Friedman looked to score in the inning after advancing to third but was unable to do so due to another Cavalier strikeout. 

The Eagles extended their lead to 4-2 in the bottom of the fifth inning with another home run to left field by Walker. With one last chance to close the gap, Virginia managed to get the bases loaded in the top of the sixth inning. However, a strikeout once again prevented the Cavaliers from scoring. 

After more scoreless innings, the game concluded with the Eagles victorious, 4-2. 

Game 3 — Virginia 11, Holy Cross 1

The Cavaliers rebounded from their two losses in a big way against Holy Cross the following day. Virginia came out hot with three runs in the opening inning with scores from Avilla, Gilbert and Goldberg. 

With the Crusaders unable to respond, the Cavaliers extended their lead to 4-0 in the top of the second inning. Following a single from Avilla, Winscott scored off of a grounder from Gilbert. 

Virginia caught fire once more in the fourth inning with freshman infielder Mikaila Fox leading the way with a single and then a steal of second base, which eventually resulted in a score. Winscott scored once more in the inning after a single from Friedman. 

Trailing 6-0, Holy Cross attempted to make the game closer. The Crusaders had their one and only run of the game in the bottom of the fourth with a run from freshman shortstop Bailey Bates. 

Leading 6-1, the Cavaliers put the finishing touches on their performance in the top of the sixth inning with a massive five runs. Gilbert and sophomore infielder Arizona Ritchie scored early, followed up with a score off of a wild pitch by sophomore outfielder Rachel Keshin. 

Virginia homered twice in the inning as well with big hits from Goldberg and junior outfielder Kate Covington. 

The game concluded with a Virginia victory by a score of 11-1, and the team suited up to take on Georgetown later in the day. 

Game 4 — Virginia 7, Georgetown 6

Virginia managed to parlay their cruising to victory against Holy Cross into a thrilling battle against Georgetown. 

After the Hoyas left two players on base in the top of the first without a score, the Cavaliers jumped out to a 1-0 lead with a home-run from Gilbert. After a scoreless second inning, Georgetown managed to tie up the game in the top of the third with a run from junior outfielder Deirdre Gallo. 

Friedman managed to keep Virginia in command of the scoreboard in the bottom of the inning, hitting on a wild pitch and then scoring on a Georgetown scoring error. 

The Cavaliers expanded their lead in a big way in the fourth inning. With a lone score in the top of the fourth by the Hoyas to tie it up at 2-2, Virginia came alive with four runs in the inning. With an early run from Keshin, a home-run from Avilla opened the door for three scores with the others coming from Winscott and Fox. 

Georgetown came storming back in the top of the fifth inning. After a quick strikeout, the Hoyas got to work with two runs via a homer from senior first-base Noelle Holiday, which allowed sophomore infielder Mae Forshey to reach home plate as well. 

A second homer, this time from senior outfielder Ciara Sullivan again resulted in two runs, the other coming from freshman infielder Sophia Scarangella. 

With the two squads interlocked at 6-6, neither Virginia nor Georgetown managed to break the tie in the sixth or seventh innings. It was not until the bottom of the eighth when the Cavaliers ended it all. Sophomore infielder Abigail Barber came up big for Virginia, managing to get onto third base via a bunt from sophomore catcher Ashley Jennings. 

Barber delivered the win to the Cavaliers with Covington batting, sealing the deal 7-6. 

Game 5 — Virginia 0, Boston 2

Coming off of their most thrilling game of the tournament against Georgetown, Virginia played what was possibly the most uneventful of their bouts against Boston on Sunday. 

While both squads showed ability to get players on base in the early innings, neither the Cavaliers nor the Terriers had any scoring runs to show for it. 

It was not until the top of the very final inning where Boston sprung into action via a double to left center from freshman infielder Caitlin Coker, allowing junior outfielder Jen Horita to score. Coker scored herself later in the inning, giving the Terriers a 2-0 advantage. 

Virginia was unable to manage a comeback in the bottom of the seventh with two groundouts and a strikeout bringing an end to the up and down tournament for the team. 

Next up, the Cavaliers will face Tennessee Tech Friday in the Wings Etc. Classic in Spartansburg, S.C. 

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