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Virginia softball falls to North Dakota State

Cavaliers were blanked 2-0 by the Bison

<p>The Cavaliers will look to bounce back in conference play beginning Friday.</p>

The Cavaliers will look to bounce back in conference play beginning Friday.

In a mid-week matchup at home, Virginia women’s softball took on North Dakota State, falling by a score of 2-0. 

The contest was largely a defensive battle, as the Cavaliers (15-11) only put up two hits while the Bison (14-12) had just five. A North Dakota State two-run home run was the difference-maker.

Sophomore right-handed pitcher Mikayla Houge got the start for Virginia, while senior right-handed pitcher Paige Vargas started for North Dakota State. While Houge shut out the Bison through the first three innings, Vargas one-upped her by throwing a complete game shutout.

Vargas pitched seven innings, only walking one batter and striking out seven. She improved to 7-4 on the season.

Meanwhile, Houge pitched 3.1 innings before giving up the two-run home run to sophomore designated player Reanna Rudd in the bottom of the fourth. She gave up three hits, walked one batter and had zero strikeouts. Houge fell to 6-4 so far this season.

Freshman third baseman Sarah Coon and sophomore catcher Leah Boggs each recorded a hit for Virginia, but that was all the offense that the Cavaliers managed to generate.

For Coon, that hit marked the 21st straight game she has reached base safely. 

The Cavaliers are starting to get into the meat of their season, with series against NC State, Boston College and Florida State scheduled for the next three weekends, respectively. Virginia will also square off against Liberty Tuesday and Longwood March 29. Both of those individual games will be played in Charlottesville.

So far, there has been a lot to like for Virginia. Taking two out of three games from No. 24 Notre Dame was impressive and will inspire confidence in the young Virginia team going forward. 

Just this past week, sophomore infielder Abby Weaver was named ACC Player of the Week. Weaver notched five hits, four RBI and one run in the series against Notre Dame over the weekend.

With tough ACC opponents on the schedule approaching quickly, the Cavaliers certainly have the talent to play with everyone in the conference. The question is how consistent and mentally tough Virginia can be throughout a long season.

The away series at NC State will start on Friday, with the first pitch scheduled for 6 p.m. The game on Saturday is scheduled for 1 p.m., while the series will be closed out on Sunday at noon. Each game will be streamed live on ACCNX.