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Softball loses four straight to Clemson in conference play

The Cavaliers were unable to come out on top against the Tigers, losing all four games in the series

<p>Junior outfielder Tori Gilbert exploded this weekend, scoring two runs, two RBI and a home run across all four games.</p>

Junior outfielder Tori Gilbert exploded this weekend, scoring two runs, two RBI and a home run across all four games.

Virginia was unable to add to its winning streak, dropping four games in a row against Clemson over the weekend. The Cavaliers (6-9, 2-7 ACC) were underdogs against the Tigers (13-2, 8-2 ACC) and were unable to find the offensive momentum necessary to secure a win over the weekend.

Day 1, Game 1 — Virginia 1, Clemson 9, five innings

Virginia found themselves on the losing end of the scoreboard quickly, as Clemson scored two runs in the first and third innings and capped the game off with a five-run fifth inning. As the Tigers were up by eight runs at the end of the fifth inning, the game concluded by way of mercy rule. 

Sophomore pitcher Morgan Murphy nearly finished the game, getting pulled in the fifth. Through four and half innings, she gave up eight runs and seven hits, including a grand slam in the fifth inning. Junior pitcher Aly Rayle finished up the fifth inning giving up a run and a hit.

The Cavaliers were able to avoid a shutout courtesy of an RBI by senior infielder Savana Avilla in the fourth inning. While this run cut the lead to three runs, Clemson put away any hopes of a Virginia comeback with a dominant fifth inning.  

Day 2, Game 2 — Virginia 3, Clemson 5

The game opened in a defensive battle, with the first runs coming in the fourth inning. Virginia was able to secure an early lead.

Following a two-run inning by the Cavaliers, the Tigers regained the lead by scoring a combined five runs over the fifth and sixth innings. Virginia tried its best to mount a late comeback, tallying a run in the seventh, but were unable to get on the scoreboard twice more.

Sophomore infielder Katie Goldberg hit a home run in the seventh inning, doubling her season total and matching her last season home run count.

Day 2, Game 3 — Virginia 2, Clemson 4

The second game of the double-header would begin like the first, with the first runs coming in the fourth inning and Virginia starting on top.

The Cavaliers were able to take a two-run lead after scoring a run in both the fourth and fifth inning. Clemson, however, quickly regained the lead following a three-run sixth inning and added one in the seventh. 

Sophomore pitcher Molly Grube pitched the first six innings for Virginia before being replaced after a three run inning. She finished the game giving up three runs and five hits.

Day 2, Game 4 — Virginia 1, Clemson 8

The Cavaliers started their final game of the series hot, taking the lead in the bottom of the first inning. However, it would be all Clemson for the rest of the game, as they added three runs in the third and seventh, as well as two in the fourth, while also shutting out Virginia for the rest of the game. 

The Cavaliers tried many pitching combinations, as five pitchers ended the game with a pitch thrown. Even so, none were successful in slowing down a red-hot Tiger offense. 

After playing Clemson close in two games, Virginia ended the weekend as it started, losing by multiple runs. While the Cavaliers led at one point in each of their last three games, they were unable to close any of them out. 

“I’m proud of how our team competed and fought this weekend. We are learning every game what it takes to be a championship team,” Coach Joanna Hardin said. “Our execution improved over the weekend, which is key as we continue moving into our ACC season.”

It was a disappointing weekend for Virginia, as they were unable to secure a win and saw their overall record fall under .500.

The Cavaliers have a chance to snap their losing streak as they head to Durham, N.C. on Friday for a four-game series against conference opponent Duke, who has won nine games straight.