Virginia softball says farewell to The Park with a shutout

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CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. -- After 25 years, Virginia softball (22-30) bid farewell to The Park in the most fitting of fashions as Allyson Frei (Branchville, N.J.) fired a no-hitter in the final game at the facility. The Cavaliers swept Tuesday’s doubleheader from Hampton (23-25) to close the regular season on a five-game winning streak.

Virginia downed the Lady Pirates 5-2 in game one before Frei worked her masterpiece for an 8-0 win in the finale. The no-hitter was the 36th in program history and first solo no-no since 2009. After 478 games at The Park, Tuesday’s finale was just the third no-hitter in facility history.

GAME ONE: Virginia 5, Hampton 2
Freshman Aly Rayle (Herndon, Va.) picked up her fourth consecutive win in the circle, working a complete game while allowing just a single earned run. Rayle (10-12) struck out seven Lady Pirates.

At the plate, Hayley Busby (Phoenix, Ariz.) launched a solo home run as part of her fifth straight multi-hit effort. She added an RBI-double to provide two runs in the game.

KEY INNING
Kate Covington (McLean, Va.) took the first pitch of the second inning off the elbow to start a three-run Virginia frame. A fielder’s choice put two aboard as Hampton was unable to record an out. Arizona Ritchie (Stafford, Va.) laid down a sacrifice bunt and reached on an error as the first run came around to score. A pair of sac flies from Busby and Lacy Smith (Lancaster, Pa.) produced the final two runs of the inning.

TOUCHING HOME
• Busby led off the first with her 11th homer of the season, giving Virginia a 1-0 lead.
• Virginia scored three times in the second before recording a hit. Busby and Smith recorded RBI in the inning.
• Three two-out singles in the sixth plated a Hampton run and an error added another to make it a 4-2 game.
• Busby drove home Virginia’s fifth run of the game with an RBI-double in the sixth.

ON THE LINES
• Busby’s double was her 17th of the season, the sixth most in Virginia history.
• Busby extended her hitting streak to 12 games with her lead-off home run.
• Erika Osherow (Darien, Conn.) finished 2-for-3 at the plate.

GAME TWO: Virginia 8, Hampton 0 (5 Inn.)
Frei’s first career no-hitter wrote the perfect ending for Virginia at The Park. The Cavaliers added 12 hits to put eight runs on the board and earn a fifth-straight win.

KEY INNING
Ritchie doubled with one out to open a string of three consecutive knocks for the Cavaliers in the bottom of the fourth. Busby followed with a single to left and Smith brought the pair home with a two-run single.

A walk put two aboard for Abigail Barber (Providence Forge, Va.) who roped a line drive to right field. The ball went under a sliding Pirate and rolled all the way to the wall as Barber raced around the bags for Virginia’s first inside-the-park homer since 2004. The five-run frame built a 7-0 lead.

TOUCHING HOME
• Barber singled off the pitcher with the bases loaded in the first inning to put Virginia up 1-0.
• Donna Friedman (Orange, Calif.) produced a two-out single in the third to extend Virginia’s lead to 2-0.
• Barber’s inside-the-parker capped a five-run fourth inning for the Cavaliers, building a 7-0 lead.
• Covington doubled to start the fifth and crossed the plate on Ritchie’s walk-off single to left.

ON THE LINES
• Frei struck out three Lady Pirates in the no-hitter.
• Busby went 3-for-3 to extend her hitting streak to 13 games and make it six straight with multiple hits.
• Smith was 2-for-3 with a pair of RBI. She finishes the regular season hitting .413.
• Barber finished 2-for-3 with a career-high four RBI.

UP NEXT
Virginia will await its seeding for the 2019 ACC Softball Championships. Play at the tournament begins Wednesday, May 8 in Tallahassee, Fla.