BUENA VISTA, Va. — The Southern Virginia University softball team struggled Saturday in its season opening doubleheader with Averett University dropping both games to the Cougars 5-0 and 9-1 (in five innings).
Southern Virginia fell behind early in Game 1 when Averett's Lauren Daniel launched a homerun over the center field wall off freshman pitcher, McKenzy MacKay, in the game's first at bat.
Mackay showed great composure, retiring three of the next four batters to get out of the inning, but the Knights were unable to provide offensive support in the freshman's first start.
Freshmen Sarah Harmon and Mackay were the only two Southern Virginia players to reach base during Game 1, both going 1-for-3 against Averett's ace, Nicole Defilippo.
Defilippo pitched a two-hitter in the shutout while Mackay finished with ten strikeouts in the loss. Averett scored five runs on six hits, but only two of those runs were attributed to Mackay as the Knights committed three errs in the game.
Averett picked up in the second game of the doubleheader where it left off in the first, scoring five runs off Mackay in the top of the first inning. The Cougars scored another run in the second to take a commanding 6-0 lead.
After the Cougars scored their seventh run in the top of the fourth, Southern Virginia sent junior Amanda Otto to the mound in relief of Mackay who had allowed seven hits and seven runs—five earned—in three innings of work after pitching for the entirety of Game 1.
Otto was able to get the Knights out of the inning without allowing a single hit as Averett left stranded a runner on second.
Southern Virginia scored its first run of the afternoon in the bottom of the fourth when Otto lined a shot to right-center for a ground rule double scoring Mackay who had reached base on balls and advanced to second on a fielder's choice. Otto advanced to third on a wild pitch, but the Knights were unable to bat her home and cut further into Averett's lead.
Averett tacked on two more runs off of two hits in the top of the fifth and with Southern Virginia unable to answer back in the bottom half of the inning the game ended at 9-1 on an eight-run mercy rule.
Softball looks to rebound this Saturday, Feb. 26 when it travels to West Virginia University-Institute of Technology for a double header at 1 p.m. and 3 p.m.