Their names may not be household words in Northern Virginia, but it looks almost certain that the two major-party adversaries in the U.S. Senate race next fall will be Paul S. Trible Jr. and Owen Pickett.

Trible, a Republican congressman from Newport News, and Pickett, a Democratic member of the state House of Delegates from Virginia Beach, were virtually assured yesterday of a one-on-one confrontation in the November election after former delegate D. French Slaughter of Culpeper withdrew from GOP contention.

The Senate seat will be vacated by independent Sen. Harry F. Byrd Jr.

Although virtually assured of the Democratic nomination, Pickett has not even announced his candidacy for the post, but has rented a hotel room in Arlington to do so next Thursday. By contrast, Trible proclaimed his availability in January.

Both nominations must be made by party conventions. But lacking other candidacies, those conventions will have no significant choices other than the front runners.

Trible announced yesterday that his campaign would be managed by Judy Peachee, a White House special assistant for intergovernmental relations, who has been active in numerous GOP campaigns. From the Richmond suburb of Chesterfield County, she managed the successful nomination campaign of Richard Obenshain four years ago, only to shift to the election campaign of now-Sen. John W. Warner after Obenshain died in an airplane crash.