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Softball drops four games to Georgia Tech in final series of the season

The Cavaliers struggled to keep up with the Yellow Jackets, who won all four games handily, in their final series of the season

<p>The Cavaliers struggled to find their footing in the series, only managing the score a handful of runs across the four games.</p>

The Cavaliers struggled to find their footing in the series, only managing the score a handful of runs across the four games.

Virginia closed out its regular season with four straight losses to Georgia Tech during this past weekend’s series in Atlanta, Ga. The Cavaliers (15-33, 10-27 ACC) struggled to find a rhythm in all four games, giving up six or more runs a game to the Yellow Jackets (19-25, 11-19 ACC) while being unable to eclipse more than three runs themselves. 

Game 1 — Friday

In the first game of Friday’s doubleheader, Georgia Tech outscored Virginia 7-1. 

The Cavaliers were able to get on the board first off of a single from sophomore Katie Goldberg — who leads Virginia in RBI, runs scored and home runs — which drove home junior Arizona Ritchie. The Yellow Jackets, however, quickly pulled away from there, scoring three runs in both the second and fourth innings including two home runs. 

Sophomore Molly Grube started at pitcher for the Cavaliers but was unable to stop the Yellow Jackets and took the mound for just two innings. Grube allowed three runs on two hits with two walks and only one strikeout. 

Game 2 — Friday

Later that day, Virginia and Georgia Tech squared off again to the tune of an 8-0 victory for the Yellow Jackets by means of the run-rule. Virginia struggled to convert hits into runs and was unable to score a single run. 

Georgia Tech notched two home runs which it was able to convert into six runs. After a grand slam pushed the Yellow Jackets to a 6-0 lead, a walk followed by a fielding error gave Georgia Tech two more runs in the fifth inning, and the game was subsequently stopped. 

Freshman Mikayla Houge, statistically one of the Cavaliers’ best pitchers with 52 strikeouts this season, took the loss on the mound for Virginia. 

Game 3 — Saturday

The third game of the series was much of the same story for the Cavaliers, in which they gave up two big innings that put the game out of reach. 

The Yellow Jackets came out with the 6-2 win after scoring three runs in the third and fifth innings. 

Junior Aly Rayle took the pitching loss for Virginia, starting on the mound and giving up three runs on three hits. 

Saturday’s game featured the same offensive sluggishness for the Cavaliers, who watched as the Yellow Jackets hit a home run and put together two solid innings that proved to be insurmountable. Ritchie again carried much of the Virginia offense, but it was too late as Georgia Tech had already built up a commanding lead. 

Game 4 — Sunday

In the final game of both teams’ final series, Virginia was handed a 6-3 loss in what was the closest game of the weekend. 

The Cavaliers got out to an impressive early 3-2 lead and held onto it until the fifth inning, when the Yellow Jackets finally got going. Houge again had the start for Virginia, allowing multiple runs and hits in her three innings of work. The Cavaliers were unable to score any more runs after the second inning, and as a result, the Yellow Jackets were able to hang on for the sweep. 

Ritchie was instrumental yet again in the Virginia offensive attack, scoring a two-RBI double in the second inning. In the end, however, Georgia Tech prevailed once again and shut the Cavaliers down after the eventful second inning. 

“The team fought until the very last pitch of the last game and I am really proud they chose to stay invested and intentional through our last game of the series,” Coach Joanna Hardin said. “I’m really proud of their fight and effort today, and I am extremely confident ending the season like we did will motivate our women to work even harder this summer as we prepare to bring together team 43.” 

Virginia concludes the 2021 season at the bottom of the ACC standings and, despite winning the most ACC games since the 2010 season, will look to improve next year.