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State of the Program - Softball

A new stadium is coming in 2020. Let’s take a look at the team that’s going to play there.

Virginia Media Relations

Virginia Softball hasn’t historically been one of Virginia’s strongest programs, but that could be changing under the direction of Coach Joanna Hardin. In her first three years, the Cavaliers have gone to the ACC Tournament twice, something they hadn’t done in the three seasons preceding her arrival in Charlottesville. Her 2017 and 2019 conference win totals exceed the total ACC games the Hoos won in the 2013-2016 seasons combined. The program looks to be on the upswing and the next step will be an overall winning record on the season, something the Cavaliers haven’t achieved since 2010.

UVA Softball Five Year Results

Year Record ACC Rank Postseason Result
Year Record ACC Rank Postseason Result
2019 22-31 8-16, T9 Lost in ACC Tournament
2018 12-41 3-21, 12th None
2017 22-32 9-15, 6th Lost in ACC Tournament
2016 18-33 7-14, 9th None
2015 16-40 4-20, 10th None

2019 Recap

2019 Stars: Lacy Smith, Hayley Busby, Erica Osherow, Aly Rayle, Allyson Frei, Clare Zureich

The 2019 Virginia Cavaliers Softball season started as a mixed bag with the Hoos dropping all five of their games in the FAU First Pitch Classic before sweeping all four of their contests at the Elon Softball February Classic. As ACC play kicked off, the Hoos found themselves with a respectable 8-9 record. They swept Pitt to open conference play and looked like they might be on to something. However, they’d go on to lose their next six ACC series, getting swept in all but one. However the Cavaliers ended the regular season on a high note, sweeping NC State in Raleigh and taking a double header from Hampton to finish on a five-game winning streak. Not only was the Hampton series a culmination to a successful week, but senior Allyson Frei tossed a no-hitter in what was the final game played at The Park.

At the plate, the Hoos were led by senior Lacy Smith. Smith hit .414 and smacked 15 home runs on her way to First-Team All-ACC honors. Not too far behind Smith in the power department was sophomore Hayley Busby. Busby hit 11 home runs while batting .388. In the circle, Aly Rayle and Frei did the heavy lifting, starting 42 of Virginia’s 53 games between them. Rayle led the team in wins with ten and posted a 1.44 WHIP while Frei won six games and added three saves. Erica Osherow performed well both in the circle and at the plate posting a 2-2 record in 17 appearances and was third on the team in batting average, hits, and runs scored.

2020 Outlook

Key Returners: Hayley Busby (jr.), Aly Rayle (so.), Claire Zureich (so.)

While the Hoos will have to replace Smith, there is a considerable amount of experience returning. Virginia will return seven of their ten leaders in at-bats (four were freshmen) including Busby who will only be a junior. Rayle will be back to assume the lead starter role and she’ll likely be joined by fellow sophomore Claire Zureich. Zureich showed good stuff in limited 17 appearances (three starts) posting a 3-1 record and holding opposing batters to a meager .196 batting average which led the team.

Beyond what is happening on the diamond, the Virginia Softball team is excited to open the 2020 season in a new stadium. Settled at the corner of Massie and Copeley Roads between Klockner Stadium and Lannigan Field, the new stadium isn’t just a new stadium, but instead, it’s also a state-of-the-art training facility. Saying the new facility is an upgrade from the current “stadium” at The Park is an understatement, but it will serve Coach Hardin in recruiting and serve as a new age of Virginia Softball into the future.