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Radford Downs Liberty, 10-2, Earns Series Sweep
Radford earned a series sweep over visiting Liberty on Wednesday, hitting five home runs on the way to a 10-2 victory over the Lady Flames at RU Softball Field.
The Highlanders are now 15-19 on the season, including 9-3 in Big South play, after posting their sixth straight victory. The Lady Flames fall to 6-34, with a 1-14 conference mark, after their seventh consecutive setback.
Radford's Jessie Hutchens went 4-for-4 with a double, two homers and five RBIs, while Whitney Davis batted 3-for-3 with two home runs and three RBIs. Becky Mantel scored three runs and hit one round tripper.
For Liberty, Grace Nordan went 2-for-2 with a double and two runs scored. Blair Lawrence hit 2-for-3 with one RBI, and Megan Robinson drove in one run. Katie Zavodny and Kelby Allen had one hit apiece.
Abby Morrow (7-4) earned the win, pitching three innings of one-run, three-hit relief, while striking out six batters. Radford starter Rachael Walters tossed three innings, allowing one run on three hits and fanning four.
Alyssa DiMartino (3-12) yielded 10 runs on 11 hits, with two strikeouts and one walk in five innings of work.
Zavodny led off the game with an infield single, and went to second on an errant throw. Walters then retired the next three batters in order.
Radford scored once in the bottom of the first inning. Mantel was hit by a pitch, and made it to third after a sacrifice bunt and a passed ball. A wild pitch sent Mantel home for a 1-0 Highlanders lead. Hutchens and Davis hit back-to-back singles, but were left stranded after two groundouts.
The Highlanders boosted their lead to 5-0 by staging a two-out rally in the second frame. After Radford loaded the bases on two infield singles and a hit batter, Hutchens hit a grand slam to right center field. DiMartino got out of the inning by getting Casey Burns on a groundout to short.
Nordan hit a leadoff single in the third, and Walters then hit Marybeth Sciolino with a pitch. Lawrence gave Liberty a bases-loaded situation with a one-out bunt single. Robinson grounded to second, plating Nordan to trim the deficit to 5-1, before an Allen groundout ended the at bat.
DiMartino kept the Highlanders scoreless during the bottom of the third, striking out Mantel with runners on the corners and two outs.
Radford added two runs to its total when Davis hit a two-run homer to center with one out in the bottom of the fourth.
Nordan led off the fifth with a double off of reliever Morrow, and the senior shortstop stole third. After two strikeouts, Lawrence singled on the infield, drawing the Lady Flames to within 7-2. Morrow then fanned Robinson, ending the rally.
Mantel sent a solo home run over the wall in left with two outs in the bottom of the fifth, boosting the Highlanders' edge to 8-2.
Radford ended the game via run rule with back-to-back homers from Hutchens and Davis to start the sixth inning.
Liberty returns home, where the Lady Flames will host Gardner-Webb on Friday and Saturday. Friday's first game of a doubleheader will begin at 2 p.m., and will serve as Liberty's "End It" game to raise funds and awareness to help end modern day slavery. On Saturday, the Lady Flames will honor their five seniors with a pregame senior day ceremony.