Fairfield University’s women’s softball team traveled down to Charlottesville, Va. to compete in the Palmer Park Clash, which is hosted by the University of Virginia. The team was originally scheduled to play five games at the event. However, two contests were canceled due to poor weather. 

The first game of their two on Saturday, March 4 was against George Mason University, where the Stags fell 8-7. The Stags went down early after a three-run inning from George Mason, to which Fairfield answered with seven runs over the next three innings to take a 7-2 lead.

The first Stags run came in the second inning thanks to a leadoff double from outfielder Haley Updegraff ‘23 and an RBI double from catcher Allie Bridgman ‘24 cutting the lead to 3-1. 

The next inning started a Stags rally with a leadoff single from outfielder Charli Warren ‘25, followed by a groundout resulting in Warren advancing to second. Then a center field single from graduate student outfielder Kaitlin Hoffman brought Warren home. The rally continued with an Updegraff single to left field, followed by another Stag run, putting the score at 4-3. 

The fourth inning saw another rally and the last of the Stag’s scoring effort with another three runs. Another leadoff single from Warren started the rally, being brought home with a Megan Forbes ‘23 RBI. The Stags were able to load the bases and bring two more runners home to take the 7-3 lead according to the game’s official recap

They held their lead until the top of the final inning, where they saw their lead diminish due to a five-run inning from George Mason, taking the lead 8-7. The rally sparked after they loaded the bases, followed by Fairfield, walking in one run and then allowing a bases-clearing double. The Stags were not able to score in the final inning resulting in their loss. 

In their second game of the day, they played the host of the tournament, the University of Virginia. Warren once again started off the first with a leadoff single followed by an Updegraff double. The Stags then followed that up with three consecutive strikeouts ending the inning scoreless.

Virginia put up five in the first inning and did not stop there, putting up 16 total and dominating the Stags through just five innings. Virginia loaded the bases in the first through three walks and cleared the bases through the next two batters. Fairfield finished with five errors, leading to their blowout loss. Fairfield’s only run came from outfielder Quinn McGonigle ‘26 hitting a leadoff double, followed by a groundout giving her the opportunity to get home and score in the fourth inning.

The following day Fairfield faced off against DePaul University in a much tighter contest. Once again, the Stags started off well with a Warren walk to open up the first inning, followed by an Updegraff single allowing Warren to get to third and a Hoffman RBI scoring the first run of the day, putting the Stags up 1-0. 

After the early run from the Stags, neither team would be able to muster a run for the next five innings. Bridgman was pitching and was able to shut down DePaul for most of the game, gaining five strikeouts through the first five innings. However, the bottom of the sixth saw Fairfield blow another late-game lead for the second time in three games on the weekend. The Blue Demons were able to score two in the bottom of the sixth, taking the lead 2-1 over the Stags. 

In a final attempt to rally at the top of the seventh, the Stags managed to get the tying run on base but were unable to bring her home. The Stags dropped their third straight on the weekend and will head back to Virginia next weekend to play in the Flames Classic hosted by Liberty University in Lynchburg, Va.

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