The Cavalier Daily
Serving the University Community Since 1890

Virginia softball snaps losing streak, takes two of three games against Syracuse

After a difficult start to the weekend, the Cavaliers regained their focus and came out on top against the Orange at home

<p>Senior catcher Leah Boggs' two-run home-runs propelled the Cavaliers to a series-tying victory Saturday.</p>

Senior catcher Leah Boggs' two-run home-runs propelled the Cavaliers to a series-tying victory Saturday.

After a tough week for Virginia softball — the Cavaliers (17-9, 5-4 ACC) lost their series against North Carolina last weekend and faltered against Maryland on Tuesday — fans gathered at Palmer Park this weekend in hopes that the team wasn't losing its momentum as they faced Syracuse. They were not disappointed, as Virginia was able to come back from a tough loss on Friday and win the last two games of its home series against the Orange (13-11, 1-5 ACC). 

Game 1 — Virginia 1, Syracuse 6

The first game of the series left the Cavaliers to play catch-up for the rest of the weekend. Syracuse stepped up to the plate with power and drive that got them ahead quickly, not allowing Virginia to make a move to get even.  

Syracuse started out with a bang as the first player at bat, senior outfielder Angel Jasso, singled and quickly stole second base. With two on base and two outs in the inning, the Orange were able to take advantage of a fielding error by Virginia, who couldn’t anticipate graduate infielder Rebecca Clyde’s bunt and allowed two runs to be scored. 

Virginia’s sophomore infielder Jade Hylton quickly reached third base on a throwing error by Syracuse before the bottom of the first inning was paused for a rain delay. It resumed two hours later, and the Cavaliers’ freshman infielder Bella Cabral promptly doubled to allow Hylton to reach home. 

The second through fifth innings were quick — neither team gained any ground or got close to scoring, leaving the game at 2-1 in favor of the visitors heading to the sixth inning. The Orange took advantage of this lull and came back into the top of the sixth in full force, solidifying a lead that Virginia could not surmount.

Junior right fielder Taylor Posner set off a chain reaction after she hit a home run in the beginning of the sixth inning, bringing the score to 3-1. Syracuse’s offense was strong and the Cavaliers’ sophomore pitcher Eden Bigham couldn’t keep up. The Orange went on to score three more runs in the sixth inning, solidifying their win with a final score of 6-1. Despite the loss, Coach Joanna Hardin was pleased with the effort her team brought to the game. 

“Our energy was great and we came out enthusiastic,” Hardin said. “We have to come out tomorrow with passion, energy and intent to even the series. I’m confident we’ll come out ready tomorrow.”

Game 2 — Virginia 2, Syracuse 1

The Cavaliers did, in fact, come out ready Saturday and were able to win the second game of the weekend with quick runs at the beginning of the game and strong defense throughout the entire game. 

Virginia had an exciting second inning, scoring two runs with one hit by senior catcher Leah Boggs, who knocked a home run to center field which allowed both her and junior infielder Reece Holbrook to score. 

Syracuse did fight back in the top of the third inning, however, as sophomore infielder Madelyn Lopez hit an RBI out to center field that scored junior designated player Angie Ramos. But over the next four innings, the Cavaliers held tight on both their defense and pitching, and the Orange found themselves unable to score another run for the rest of the game. 

Freshman pitcher Julia Cuozzo only allowed two hits and did not walk a single player for the four innings she was on the mound, surrendering only one unearned run. During the remainder of the game, sophomore pitcher Courtney Layne allowed no hits as she stood on the mound for the last three innings and only walked one player with two strikeouts. Cuozzo and Layne’s strong pitching allowed Virginia to even up the series with a 2-1 win. 

Game 3 — Virginia 7, Syracuse 2

The Cavaliers brought their home series to a strong finish Sunday afternoon with the strongest offense they had been able to produce all weekend. Virginia scored seven runs within the first two innings and held Syracuse on a tight leash — the Orange were only able to get past the Cavaliers to score two runs in the fourth inning. 

For the second game this weekend, Hylton led Virginia’s offense to score the first run of the game off of an RBI single from junior center Sarah Coon. Later in the inning, Coon scored the Cavaliers’ second run of the inning from third base after junior infielder Shelby Barbee walked with the bases loaded. 

The second inning proved even more exciting for Virginia as they entered with two runs and exited with seven. Senior right fielder Abby Weaver hit a two-run single that allowed both Hylton and freshman outfielder Kamyria Woody-Giggets to reach home. The run for Hylton was her second of the game and third of the series, making her the highest-scoring player over the three games of the home series.

The Cavaliers’ senior pitcher Mikayla Houge pitched the first four innings, allowing five hits and two runs to Syracuse. Bigham came back to the mound and pitched a nearly spotless final three innings, giving up only one hit to help keep the Orange from gaining any more ground. Virginia’s strong pitching and explosive offensive display allowed them to walk away with a 7-2 win and a comeback series victory.

This weekend’s series proved Virginia softball’s resilience, as the Cavaliers battled back for two straight wins after a tough loss in the opener. There are still overarching questions to be asked about the team’s ability to score at a high level, as Virginia had failed to score more than two runs in any of its previous five games before Sunday’s seven-run display. Hopefully the series closer is a sign of more things to come, but as of now, the Cavaliers still have a lot of work to do offensively.

Palmer Park will be kept busy this week as Virginia hosts Rutgers Tuesday at 4 p.m. before facing off against Clemson at home for a three-game series next weekend. The first game will start Friday at 6 p.m., and all games will be streamed on the ACC Network. 


Latest Podcast

Today, we sit down with both the president and treasurer of the Virginia women's club basketball team to discuss everything from making free throws to recent increased viewership in women's basketball.