Photos by Patrick Boling, Clemson Athletics
CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. — Trailing 2-0 heading into the fifth inning in game No. 1 of Saturday’s doubleheader, the Clemson Softball team tallied five straight runs, including four in the top of the sixth, to take the lead and ultimately earn its eighth consecutive victory in a 5-3 victory over Virginia at Palmer Park. Clemson’s Grace Mattimore broke a 2-2 tie in the top of the sixth after registering a two-RBI double down the left field line. Second-year freshman Emma Whitfield (1-0) earned her first win of the season in the circle after entering in relief of starter Millie Thompson in the fifth. Whitfield pitched for 2.1 innings and recorded two strikeouts.
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With the win, Clemson improved to 11-2 overall and 6-2 in ACC play, while the Cavaliers fell to 6-7 overall and 2-5 league games. The Tigers are now 26-0 all-time when scoring five runs or more.
After Thompson retired nine of the first 10 Virginia batters, the Cavaliers took the lead on a two-run homer to right-center field in the bottom of the fourth.
The Tigers chipped away at the Cavaliers’ lead after Kyah Keller recorded her first of two RBIs on a fielder’s choice in the top of the fifth, narrowing the Virginia lead to 2-1.
In the bottom of the fifth, righty Emma Whitfield struck out back-to-back batters with bases loaded to end the inning. In the bottom of the sixth, Alia Logoleo recorded her first career sacrifice fly to left field to score McKenzie Clark, who kickstarted the inning with a leadoff triple. Then, Mattimore (2-for-3) ripped her double to left-field to give Clemson a 4-2 lead. Keller’s second RBI of the day came on an infield single in the 5-6 hole to extend the Tigers’ lead to 5-2.
The Cavaliers hit their second home run of the day in the bottom of the second to narrow their deficit to 5-3.
Second-year freshman right Valerie Cagle earned her second save of the season after entering the circle in the bottom of the seventh.
After game No. of Saturday’s doubleheader, the Tigers and Virginia return to Palmer Park on Sunday to wrap up the four-game series. Sunday’s series finale is set for noon on ACCNX.
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