CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (WVIR) - The Virginia softball team jumped out to the early lead in its new home stadium, but couldn’t hold on, as the Cavaliers fell 10-3 against JMU in the first-ever game at Palmer Park.
Sophomore Arizona Ritchie recorded the first basehit in the history of the park with a two-out single in the 2nd inning, and she scored the first-ever run one batter later, as Ashley Jennings drove her in.
UVa added another run in the 3rd inning, as Tori Gilbert singled home pinch runner Emma McBride.
The Dukes responded with five runs in the top of the 5th inning, and they added four more in the 6th to put the game away.
Senior Madison Naujokas led the way offensively for the Dukes, going 2-for-5 with a triple and two RBI.
Virginia committed six errors in the loss, but played in front of a standing room only crowd at the new ballpark.
“It’s tough,” says head coach Joanna Hardin. "You got to balance all the ‘First’s’ and the ‘New’s’ out with softball. Playing the game. We know that these next few weeks, there’s going to be a lot of firsts: first hit, first strikeout, first home run, first a lot of things. As a coach, you want to let the kids be kids and enjoy those moments, but on the other side of it, you want to play softball, and get after it.”
Virginia (8-9) will open ACC play this weekend, with a three-game series against Virginia Tech at Palmer Park.