Virginia Downs Louisville, 1-0, in NCAA Opener

May 21, 2010

A lead-off, fifth inning triple by Virginia catcher Alison Pittman and an RBI fielder's choice from third baseman Abby Snyder backed a complete game, four-hit shutout from starting pitcher Melanie Mitchell (27-16) as the Cavaliers (34-21) opened the Knoxville Regional on Friday afternoon at the Lee Softball Stadium with a 1-0 victory over Louisville (39-18).

Each team posted four hits in the contest with Virginia left fielder Taylor Williams and Louisville center fielder Kristin Austin each leading their squads with 2-for-3 efforts at the plate.

Following a quick one-two-three first inning from both teams, Virginia right fielder Sarah Tacke became the contest's initial base runner by drawing a lead-off walk against Louisville starter Tori Collins. The UL hurler didn't let the free pass bother her, retiring the next three Cavalier batters in order with one K.

The Cardinals tallied the initial base hit of the game during the bottom of the second frame on a two-out double into the left center field gap from second baseman Jordan Trimble. The scoreless contest continued, however, as designated player Katelyn Mann popped up a bunt to first to conclude the frame.

In the top of the third, a one-out single from Virginia left fielder Taylor Williams and a stolen base put a runner in scoring position for UVA. Following a groundout to second by second baseman Alex Skinkis, first baseman Lauren McCaskey crushed a ball into the left center field gap. Cardinal center fielder Kristen Austin raced over from her defensive position in center and dove to make a tremendous, run-saving catch to end the inning with no scoring.

The offenses seemed to be waking from their slumber as Louisville got a lead-off double from Austin in the bottom of the third. That wasn't the case, however, after a sac bunt and walk issued to catcher Melissa Roth put occupants at the corners with one down, left fielder Jennifer Esteban struck out swinging and third baseman Chelsea Bemis bounced out harmlessly to second as neither side could get the key hit needed to break out in front on the scoreboard.



Catcher Alison Pittman led off the Virginia half of the fifth with a shot into the gap in right center that eluded a diving attempt by UL's Austin and rolled to the wall for a triple. Third baseman Abby Snyder bounced to second as Jordan Trimble made the grab and threw home in an unsuccessful attempt to get the runner as Pittman slid home under the tag to grant the Cavs a 1-0 advantage.

Louisville kept getting base runners aboard, two in fact during both the fifth and sixth frames, but couldn't put a run on the board against Virginia starter Mitchell.

Facing their last chance in the bottom of the seventh, Austin got the Cardinals off to a promising start by bouncing a single back through the middle. Following a sac bunt and a walk, Louisville boasted runners at first and second with just one retired. Pinch hitter Brittany York became the second out of the inning on a K, but Bemis walked to load the bags for shortstop Colby Wherry. Unfortunately for UL she made solid contact but her line drive traveled right into the glove of Mitchell in the circle to end the 1-0 Virginia victory.



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