Southern Virginia Splits on Senior Day

Written by Chris Pendleton

BUENA VISTA, Va.—In its final home doubleheader of the season, the Southern Virginia University softball team split with the visiting UVA-Wise Cavaliers as the Knights took Game One 3-2 before dropping Game Two 0-8. 

Southern Virginia (11-22) pulled out a thrilling victory in Monday's opening game with UVA-Wise (21-27), which went down to the wire as the Knights scored the game-winning run in the bottom of the seventh inning.

With the score tied at two runs apiece heading into Southern Virginia's final at bat, freshman Britney Jones (Spanish Fork, Utah) stepped to the plate and led off the inning for the Knights with a triple down the left-field line. Jones, who is batting .296 from the lead off spot, leads all Southern Virginia players in both hits (29) and triples (4) this season.

During Southern Virginia's next at bat, Sarah Edwards (Phoenix, Ariz.) hit what appeared to be a game-winning scorcher up the middle, but the Cavaliers' pitcher Kaylla Holdway snagged the hard-hit ball from Edwards out of the air for the inning's first out.

Holdway then turned to double off Jones, who, eager to score the game-winning run for the Knights, had left on contact from Edwards and was already several steps off the bag towards home.

With Jones caught between third and home, Holdway overthrew third allowing Jones to tag up and score the walk off run for the Knights.

"It felt good doing my job as a lead-off hitter and being on third with Sarah coming to bat," said Jones of the game's final play. "Being able to get back and tag up was probably the best feeling ever."

UVA-Wise struck first during Monday's opening game when Megan Dillion hit a two-out, two-RBI double in the top of the third inning off Southern Virginia's relief pitcher McKenzy MacKay (Kaysville, Utah).

The first of the two runs scored on Dillion's double was credited to senior starting pitcher Amanda Otto (Cypress, Texas), who gave up one hit and one run in two innings of work on Senior Day.

MacKay (5-13) came in for Otto (5-9) with a runner on second and no outs in the top of the third because of an injury sustained to Otto's pitching hand during her at bat in the bottom of the second.

The Cavaliers' lead would not last long, however, as Southern Virginia answered back in the bottom of the fourth when senior center fielder Cara Joyner (Columbia, Miss.) hit a two-out, two-RBI double of her own to tie the score (2-2) heading into the fifth.

The score remained tied until the bottom of the seventh when Jones tripled and later scored on Holdway's throwing error.

Despite a rough first inning, MacKay settled down and did not allow another run after the third, finishing with six strikeouts and one earned run in five innings of relief.

With Otto hurt, MacKay also took the mound in Game Two, but did not fair as well allowing eight hits and four runs in five innings. 

Freshman Annie Biggs (Gilbert, Ariz.) entered in the sixth in relief of MacKay and gave up seven hits and four runs in two innings on the mound.

Meanwhile, Southern Virginia struggled offensively during the day's second game as UVA-Wise outhit the Knights 15-6 on route to the shutout victory for Cavaliers' pitcher Chelsey Booth (9-8).

Before Monday's game, Southern Virginia honored its four seniors—Joyner, Mallory King, (Tivoli, N.Y.) Otto and Dinah Rogers (Huntington Beach, Calif.)

With Monday's split, Southern Virginia's home record moved to 5-7 on the year. 

The Knights play their final doubleheader of the season on Thursday, Apr. 19 at Randolph-Macon College (25-9). Game One with the Yellow Jackets, who are currently ranked third in the Old Dominion Athletic Conference standings, starts at 4 p.m. EST.