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Radford Posts 6-3 Comeback Victory Over Liberty in Conference Opener

March 20, 2013
|  Radford, Va.
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Jill Stephens hit a double on Wednesday at Radford.

The Liberty softball team staked itself to a 3-0 lead at Radford. However, the host Highlanders scored six runs in a row to earn a 6-3 victory over the Lady Flames in both teams' conference opener, Wednesday.

With the win, Radford improves its record to 8-14, 1-0 in Big South play. The Highlanders have won three games in a row. The Lady Flames see their own three-game winning streak come to an end, dropping to 11-12 overall after falling in their Big South opener.

Katie Zavodny went 2-for-4, and ties Ashley Bensinger (2011) and Amanda Maska (2004) for the fourth longest hitting streak in program history at 15 games. Amber Donovan was 2-for-3 with a double and a run scored, while Kelby Allen recorded two RBIs and Grace Nordan had an RBI single.

For Radford, Emily Naegele, Jessie Hutchens and Morgan Eye all registered two hits. Hutchens and Agee both hit two-run homers for the Highlanders.

Rachael Walters (5-5) earns the win for Radford, tossing five scoreless innings of relief. She scattered four hits. Starter Jackie Jenkins lasted two innings, allowing three runs on four hits.

Annah Jo Brittingham started in the circle for the Lady Flames and yielded three runs, two earned, on five hits in 3 1/3 innings pitched. The loss went to Chandler Ball (4-6), who gave up three runs on four hits in 2 2/3 innings of relief.

Liberty jumped ahead early, scoring three runs in the top of the second. Donovan doubled and Hanna Nichols was hit by a pitch to open the inning. After a sacrifice bunt, Nordan singled to right field, plating Donovan with the first run of the contest. Allen followed with a single to center field to score Nichols and Nordan to make it 3-0, Lady Flames.

After a leadoff double by Jill Stephens in the third, Walters replaced Jenkins in the circle. Donovan singled to put Liberty runners on the corners with one out. But, Walters got a strikeout and a groundout to get out of inning and keep the score the same.

Radford trimmed its deficit to one with a two-out rally in the bottom of the third. Naegele drop a single just in front of right fielder Donovan to begin the frame. Hutchens then went deep over the left fence, cutting the Lady Flames edge to 3-2. Eye followed with a triple, but was stranded when the next batter flew out.

The Highlanders tied up the game in the bottom of the fourth. After a one-out double by Ryndee Ruch, Ball came on in relief of Brittingham. After Ruch went to third on a wild pitch with two outs, she scored when Nia Chiles reached on an error.

After Liberty went in order in the fifth, Radford took the lead for good. With Naegele on third and one out, Eye plated her with a squeeze bunt for a 4-3 Radford edge. Agee then gave the Highlanders insurance runs with a two-run home run to left center.

Holly Seiz led off the sixth with an infield single, but was erased on a double play. A strikeout ended Liberty's sixth time at bat.

Zavodny reached on an infield single with one out during Liberty's last time at bat. Kassidy McCoy then ripped a liner which was caught by a diving Hutchens at shortstop. A groundout by Sammi Shivock ended the contest.

The Lady Flames will return home to host Presbyterian College in a Big South series, Friday and Saturday. Friday's doubleheader between Liberty and PC will begin at 2 p.m. at the Liberty Softball Field. Saturday's contest is scheduled to get under way at 1 p.m.