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Liberty Sustains 16-5 Setback at Radford
The Radford Highlanders posted a 16-5, five-inning victory over the visiting Liberty Lady Flames, sweeping a doubleheader on Tuesday at RU Softball Field.
With the win, its fifth in a row, Radford improves to 14-19 on the season, including 8-3 in Big South games. Liberty falls to 6-33, with a 1-13 record against conference opponents. Liberty committed four errors, while Radford totaled three miscues.
Abby Morrow (6-4) earned the win for Radford, allowing two unearned runs on one hit while striking out one in four innings pitched. Kelsey Weddle pitched the final inning, giving up three runs (two earned) on three hits.
Grace Nordan (1-3) drew the loss, yielding 16 runs (seven earned) on 11 hits, while walking five and fanning one.
Jessie Hutchens went 2-for-3 with a home run and six RBIs, while Becky Mantel scored four runs for Radford. Whitney Davis and Summer Robinson both had two hits, while Mackenzie Blackwell hit a home run.
Katie Zavodny batted 1-for-2 with two runs scored and a stolen base, the 98th steal of her career. Zavodny is now tied for second in Big South history for career stolen bases. Megan Robinson, Holly Seiz and Marybeth Sciolino had one hit apiece for the Lady Flames.
Liberty pushed across two runs in the top of the first, as Zavodny drew a walk and stole second. Allen reached on an error after one out, and swiped second base. Zavodny scored by way of a wild pitch, and Allen crossed the plate when Nia Chiles committed an error with two outs.
Radford responded with four tallies during its first time at bat. Mantel and Chiles both reached to start the inning, and Davis, Casey Burns and Kayla Bishton came through with consecutive one-out RBI singles, making it 3-2, Highlanders. Blackwell drove a liner that was dropped in deep center field, scoring Bishton for a 4-2 lead. Nordan fanned Hayley Tabora for the third out.
The Highlanders added two to their lead, scoring twice with two outs in the second inning. With two outs and the bases loaded, a Liberty error on a Burns grounder allowed Mantel and Chiles to cross the plate. Nordan got Bishton to ground out, ending the inning.
Blackwell led off the bottom of the third with a solo shot to left. Robinson singled, and Mantel was hit by a pitch. Hutchens boosted Radford's lead to 9-2 with a two-out, two-run single, before being thrown out at second.
Morrow set the Lady Flames down in order during the second and third frames, retiring eight straight batters. Seiz singled to left with one out in the fourth, good for Liberty's first hit of the game. The sophomore then stole second, but was left there when Kassidy McCoy hit a groundout.
Radford posted a seven-run fourth inning, with just two earned runs due to a Lady Flames error extending the inning. Hutchens made it 16-2 with a grand slam, capping the scoring in the fourth.
Weddle came on in relief of Morrow to start the fifth inning. Sciolino, Zavodny and Robinson all singled in a row, with Robinson sending Sciolino home with her base hit. Allen hit a sacrifice fly, plating Zavodny, and Robinson scored on an error on the play, bringing Liberty to within 16-5. Sammi Shivock then grounded out to the pitcher, ending the game via run rule.
The Lady Flames and Highlanders conclude this week's series with a 2 p.m. game, tomorrow at RU Softball Field.