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Virginia softball fumbles last home game of the season to Virginia Tech

The Cavaliers failed to gain any ground against their rival Hokies in the Commonwealth Clash

<p>The Cavaliers failed to plate a run in Tuesday's rivalry defeat to the Hokies.&nbsp;</p>

The Cavaliers failed to plate a run in Tuesday's rivalry defeat to the Hokies. 

Coming off of a 2-1 series victory over NC State last weekend, Virginia softball returned to Palmer Park Tuesday to face off against rival Virginia Tech for its first Commonwealth Clash game of the year. The Cavaliers (28-14, 11-8 ACC) got shut out by the Hokies (32-9-1, 15-4 ACC) — who entered on a five-game winning streak — in a 6-0 loss. 

After a scoreless first inning, the first batter of the second inning — Cori McMillan, Virginia Tech’s junior utility player — stepped up to the plate to kick off the game’s action by blasting a solo home run out to right field that Virginia could not defend against. That move set the Hokies up to continue to pour out runs over the inning while the Cavaliers stayed scoreless. Entering the third inning down 4-0, the 77th matchup between Virginia and Virginia Tech — of which the Cavaliers have won only 24 — already saw Virginia in an uncomfortable position. 

The Hokies stayed hot with the bat in the top of the third inning, as junior utility player Bre Peck and senior infielder Cameron Fagan each got across home plate, bringing the score to 6-0.

The Cavaliers’ dry spell continued for the rest of the game — Virginia Tech’s junior pitcher Emma Lemley only gave up two hits and two walks over seven innings, and Virginia was not able to capitalize when its players rarely did reach base. 

The Cavaliers’ pitcher duo struggled to keep the Hokies under control, as senior pitcher Mikayla Houge only made it through one inning — allowing two hits and three runs — before being replaced by senior pitcher Madison Harris. While Harris pitched the rest of the game, she was tagged for seven hits and three runs. Virginia was clearly in need of sophomore pitcher Eden Bigham, who was named ACC Pitcher of the Week earlier in the day after her pair of complete-game wins against NC State over the weekend. Bigham was still in need of rest after the latter of those performances Sunday. 

Tuesday’s game continued to prove that if the Cavaliers want to have a shot at the ACC Championship, they will need to hone in on their skills at the plate. Virginia has seen better pitching than it displayed Tuesday evening, but the team’s hitting skills have been mediocre at best. If they hope to be successful for the rest of their season and into the ACC Tournament, the Cavaliers will have to make some considerable changes. 

Virginia’s hard loss benefited the Hokies in their softball season and in the overall Commonwealth Clash standings — Virginia Tech walked away with 0.5 points towards their goal of 11 to win the year-long competition between the schools. The Cavaliers still currently lead with 9 points over the Hokies’ 6.5.

Virginia will begin a streak of road games this weekend in Durham, N.C. as they journey for a three-game series against No. 3 Duke. The opening game is set to start at 6 p.m. Friday. The Cavaliers are also set to face the Hokies again Tuesday in Blacksburg at 7 p.m. for the second and final Commonwealth Clash softball game of the season. All of these games will be available for streaming on ACCNX or ACCN. 

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