The Cavaliers (3-4, 2-3 ACC) played their first conference games of the season this past week. Though Virginia was scheduled to play both Louisville (3-4, 3-2 ACC) and Pittsburgh (1-6, 1-4 ACC) three times each, a game against Louisville was canceled due to inclimate weather.
Game 1 - Virginia 4, Pittsburgh 7
Virginia’s faceoff against Pittsburgh was the team’s first conference match since March 2020. The Cavaliers were able to build an early lead.
Following a scoreless first inning, the first points of the game were put on the board courtesy of an error in the Panthers’ outfield, which allowed sophomore infielder Mikaila Fox to score. Soon after, freshman catcher Leah Boggs hit a double, allowing junior infielder Arizona Ritchie to find her way to home plate. The scoring would not stop there. After being walked and then stealing to second base, junior outfielder Bailey Winscott was next to get to home plate following a double from sophomore infielder Katie Goldberg, capping off an eventful inning for the Cavaliers.
Pittsburgh would cut Virginia's lead by way of a single from freshman outfielder Cami Compson, who got senior infielder Morgan Batesole to home plate. The Cavaliers would escape the inning without giving up another run through solid defense and stopped the Panthers from taking advantage of having loaded bases. However, their next defensive inning would not play out as well.
Following a scoreless inning for the Cavaliers, the Panthers stormed back into the lead with a three-run inning, two of which came from a double from junior infielder Sarah Seamans. Seamans herself would also get to home plate following an error.
While Virgina was able to tie the game back up in the fourth inning, they would be unable to score after and would see a game they led in early end with an unfortunate loss.
Game 2 - Virginia 4, Louisville 5
In a game that would come down to the wire, the Cavaliers found themselves in the lead early against the Cardinals.
In the third inning, Virginia would break the deadlock by way of a single from junior catcher Ashley Jennings, which allowed junior infielder Abigail Barber to score.
The game remained back and forth, with the Cardinals able to answer each Cavalier run.
In the sixth inning, Virginia was able to pull ahead late into the game. Junior catcher Donna Friedman hit a double towards left center field, which advanced Goldberg to third base and Winscott to home plate.
In the bottom of the seventh, Virginia was in a position to close Louisville out. Up one run, the Cavaliers were in a great spot to secure their first conference win of the season.
The inning would start with junior catcher Cassady Greenwood being hit by a pitch, advancing her to first base. Junior outfielder Charley Butler would be able to get on base as well by way of a single. Following a wild pitch from freshman pitcher Madison Harris, the Cardinals had the bases loaded without a single out. Junior pitcher Taylor Roby would finish a dramatic game with a walk-off single, as Greenwood and Butler were able to score and clinch the game for Louisville.
This was a heartbreaking end for Virginia in just the second conference game — and there were still three to go throughout the weekend.
Game 3 - Virginia 4, Pittsburgh, 2
Looking to bounce back from a frustrating loss, freshman pitcher Mikalya Houge came out of the gates red-hot.
Houge immediately struck out the Panthers’ first three hitters in the top of the first. The second and third innings would lead to similar results, with only three Pittsburgh batters getting at bats in each inning.
It was also in the third when the Cavaliers were able to find their way onto the scoreboard. With bases loaded, senior outfielder Kate Covington was walked, advancing Winscott home and putting on the opening points of the game for Virginia. Right after, with bases still loaded, Ritchie was walked, advancing Goldberg to home and again putting points on the board for the Cavaliers.
The Panthers determined a pitcher change was necessary, and sophomore Becca Miller subbed out senior Brittany Knight. The pitching change immediately led to another run conceded. The run came after Fox was then hit by a pitch which advanced Friedman home.
Senior infielder Savana Avilla was up to bat with bases loaded and flew one out near center field, but this allowed Covington to score. Boggs was then walked, loading up the bases again. Eventually, Pittsburgh was able to escape the inning as Winscott was unable to get on base. The Cavaliers, however, had scored four runs despite only earning one hit in the inning.
This eventful third inning would prove to be the deciding factor in the game as Virginia did not score again. While the Panthers made a late push in the top of the seventh, it was the Cavaliers who would come out on top.
Game 4 - Virginia 0, Louisville 4
Looking to avenge their previous loss in the earlier game against Louisville, Virginia found itself getting shut out entirely.
A game which ended in a lopsided fashion started off poorly for the Cavaliers, as Greenwood got to first after being walked, stole second and ended up on third after a fielding error. She would then score after Roby was grounded out.
This would not be the last impact Roby had on the game however, as after she hit a walk-off single against Virginia in their last game, she proceeded to hold the Cavaliers scoreless and only give up one hit the entire game. Winscott was able to spoil the no-hitter in the third inning when she secured Virginia’s first and last hit.
The Cardinals would add points on their lead in the fifth and sixth inning, putting the finishing touches on a game in which their pitching and defense dominated.
Game 5, Virginia 12, Pittsburgh 3
After nearly surrendering a no-hitter to Louisville, the Cavaliers’ offense came to life in their third game of the week against Pittsburgh.
Although the final score may not seem like it, Virginia would start this game behind two runs. Freshman pitcher Dani Drogemuller was dealing to start the game and after three innings, the Cavaliers only had nine at bats. The Panthers also took a two-run lead in the third, after a Seamans home run.
Virginia’s offense came to life in the fourth inning, as it tied the game quickly with a three-run inning. Fox was able to secure an RBI in the inning and Ritchie got two.
The fifth inning would lead to four more Cavalier runs. Three would come off the bat of Covington — as she hit a massive home run that allowed for three runs. Junior outfielder Tori Gilbert also joined in on the scoring, as she got to home plate following a fielder’s choice, which got Ritchie to first base.
The Cavaliers would close the game out scoring five more runs — two in the sixth and three in the seventh — ending the game with a nine-run advantage.
Virginia will look to continue its improved form in the home-opener against James Madison University Feb. 27 at 12:00 p.m. in Charlottesville.