Apr 20, 2010

Softball dusts JMU

by Ryan Walter

Complete domination is all that can be used to describe the Liberty Lady Flames softball double header Sunday afternoon against the George Washington Colonials. The Lady Flames mercied the Colonials 11-1 in the first game before shutting them out in the second game 10-0.

“Offense is very important. We want to keep improving and scoring runs, so we can dominate the conference,” junior Tiffini Smith said. “Offense wins games.”

Smith has proved pitching also helps. The star pitcher only allowed two hits in 20 at bats while also recording eight strikeouts. It was the third time in three starts that she did not allow a run.

“Tiffini Smith has been lights-out. She’s been phenomenal,” Coach Paul Wetmore said. “It’s so much easier when you know your number one is going to go out there and get you a game every day.”

While Smith was stellar, a number of other players contributed to the two victories at Liberty Softball Field. The first of the two games saw seven different Lady Flames score runs and another seven with RBIs. The Colonials, who came into the game with a record of 5-28, came out surprisingly strong. George Washington ended the first inning with a 1-0 lead.

That’s the last time a Colonial crossed home plate. Junior Amber DePasquale tied it up in the bottom of the second before Liberty had two consecutive five-run innings to end the game in the fifth. Sophomore Danielle Howard, junior Cassie Hendrix and sophomore Jenny Law all recorded home runs while sophomore Kaylee West had three RBIs to finish the game. It was also the freshmen starting pitcher Kat Johnson’s fourth win of the season.

“Right now we are hitting the ball so well,” Coach Wetmore said. “Experience is starting to add up for us … confidence is so big in this game.”

The Lady Flames carried their explosive offense into the second game routing the Colonials 10-0. The first three innings were quiet, Liberty unable to get any runs while the second game starting pitcher, Smith, shut down George Washington. However, it would not stay that way for long.
The Lady Flames went on a scoring spree in the last three innings. Law began the scoring in the third, which included a nifty steal at second base. Two more runs would score in the fourth before DePasquale hit a single to center field to score another two runs putting Liberty up 5-0 after five innings.

One more run in the sixth would set up sophomore Kelly Strickland for her second grand slam of the season.

“I was afraid I was going to miss it,” Strickland said. “It’s definitely been a team effort. We all have each other’s back.”
Strickland’s winning grand slam moved Liberty to 28-11 while the win was its eigth in a row.

Leading up to their Sunday tilt with George Washington University, the Lady Flames took care of business with Gardner-Webb University at the Liberty Softball Field. Saturday night the Lady Flames won the third of their three-game series against the Running Bulldogs, completing the sweep. Liberty’s 4-0 win featured a highlight reel game by Smith who allowed only two hits and struck out 14.

Two of the three games played against Gardner-Webb took place in a doubleheader Friday night. The first game, a 3-0 win for the Lady Flames, saw solid pitching from Smith as well as clutch hitting by senior J’nae Jefferson, who had a run and an RBI.

Unlike the first, the second game of the doubleheader saw Liberty back on its heels for part of the game. The Lady Flames faced a balanced Gardner-Webb offense that had six different players score. With help from Law, who ended the game with two runs and an RBI, the Lady Flames were able to come out with a 7-6 win.

Liberty also won both of their home double-header games on Wednesday against James Madison University 5-1 and then 6-4. Next up on the schedule are doubleheaders on the road versus Norfolk State (Tuesday), Hampton (Wednesday) and at home versus Longwood on Saturday.


Contact Ryan Walter at
rmwalter@liberty.edu.
 


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