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Virginia softball team drops series finale to N.C. State

Virginia softball team drops series finale to N.C. State

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Virginia pitcher Aly Rayle delivers against N.C. State on Monday at Palmer Park.

The Virginia softball team suffered a 5-0 loss to N.C. State on Monday to wrap up their four-game ACC series at Palmer Park.

The teams split the four-game weekend series, with the Cavaliers (8-15, 4-13 ACC) winning the first and third games and the Wolfpack (14-8, 10-8 ACC) taking the second and fourth games.

“Obviously, it’s disappointing to finish the weekend the way we did,” Virginia coach Joanna Hardin said, “but we are continuing to learn and grow as a team. We did not execute well enough in the circle or offensively to win today.”

Virginia pitcher Aly Rayle took the loss in her second start of the weekend after allowing four runs — three of them earned — on two hits. Rayle (1-2) walked two and struck out two in 2.2 innings of work.

Estelle Czech (1-1) picked up the win in her second straight outing for N.C. State, allowing one hit with a walk in five innings of work.

N.C. State struck first for the first time in the series, taking advantage of a Virginia defensive miscue to push home a run in the first inning. The Wolfpack then added three more runs in the third with an RBI triple and a two-run home run. N.C. State tacked on a fifth run in the fifth inning for the final margin.

Virginia will return to action on Wednesday when the Cavaliers travel to Virginia Tech for a 4 p.m. matchup. The game is considered a nonconference matchup on the schedule and will not count in the ACC standings. The game will be broadcast on the ACC Network.

After dropping Monday’s series finale against N.C. State, Hardin sees Wednesday’s tilt with the Hokies as an opportunity to keep improving.

“We need to look deeply within and challenge ourselves to continue growing and grinding through every game,” Hardin said. “The ACC schedule this season is tough, but the toughest teams will continue to fight through the fatigue and develop the mental fortitude to finish games and finish weekends strong. I believe that we are capable of playing much better than we played today and we have a great opportunity Wednesday to turn the page against a very good Virginia Tech team.”

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