Virginia softball (21-13, 8-1 ACC) is off to its best start to conference play in program history. The Cavaliers took two out of three against then-No. 24 Notre Dame and then swept back-to-back road ACC series at NC State and Boston College.
Now, the Wahoos face their toughest test yet as they welcome No. 2 Florida State to Charlottesville for a three-game series this weekend at Palmer Park.
The Seminoles were the runner-up at the Women’s College World Series last season and won the National Championship in 2018. FSU is the class of the conference, having won 17 ACC Championships and making 11 World Series appearances.
Florida State is currently 32-2 overall and 7-2 in ACC play. The Seminoles lead the NCAA with a fielding percentage of .987 and have made just 12 errors all season. FSU is 5th in the country in team ERA at 1.26.
Beating Florida State will certainly be a challenge, but Virginia head coach Joanna Hardin believes her team is up to the task.
“It’s going to be really competitive, we know that,” Hardin said. “Florida State is a good team, but they’re good because they execute on all ends. They execute offensively, defensively, in the circle. They’re just solid. So, I don’t think there’s any surprises on either side – what we have, what they have. It’s gonna be – who executes and who gets it done and who stays in it and who stays with it.”
Florida State is currently fourth in the ACC standings with a 7-2 record, while UVA is in second place at 8-1 in conference play.
The Cavaliers have used opportunistic hitting and sound defensive play to get out to this hot start. Virginia is currently tied for fourth in the country with a fielding percentage of .982 and UVA’s fielders have committed only 17 errors on the season.
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UVA has gotten some big-time contributions from underclassmen so far this season. Freshman Sarah Coon leads the team in batting average (.319) and hits (30) and is second on the team in OPS (1.017) and RBIs (22). Two of Virginia’s three starting pitchers are sophomores with Mikayla Houge (9-4) and Savanah Henley (6-6) combining for 15 of Virginia’s 21 wins this season. Sophomore Abby Weaver delivered the walk-off home run against Notre Dame that sparked UVA’s strong start to ACC play.
Virginia and Florida State have not met since the 2019 season and the Cavaliers are seeking their first victory over the Seminoles since March 8th, 2014.
First pitch of game 1 is set for 6pm on Friday at Palmer Park. Game 2 will be played at 1pm on Saturday and the series finale will be played at 12pm on Sunday. All three games will be broadcast on ACC Network Extra.
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