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Early Offense Leads JMU Past Liberty, 5-1
James Madison scored five runs over the span of the first two innings, on the way to a 5-1 victory over visiting Liberty on Wednesday at Veterans Memorial Stadium.
The Dukes improve their record to 32-10 on the season with the victory, their fifth in a row. The Lady Flames' record stands at 19-24 entering Wednesday's second game, as Liberty has suffered three consecutive setbacks.
JMU's Heather Kiefer pitched a complete-game, three-hitter, raising her record to 12-5.
Liberty starter Kenzie Friesen (3-2) drew the loss, allowing four runs on four hits in 1 2/3 innings. Chandler Ball yielded just one run on five hits, striking out three in 4 1/3 innings of work.
Sarah Mooney batted 3-for-4 with two doubles and three RBIs, while Jasmine Butler hit 2-for-2 with two stolen bases for the hosts. Erica Field drew two walks and scored two runs.
Jill Stephens went 2-for-3 with a double and scored Liberty's lone run. Sammi Shivock recorded a single, while Hanna Nichols drove in one run.
JMU staged a two-out rally to take the lead during the first inning. Field walked, and then Mooney drove her in with a double to right center. Jailyn Ford made it 2-0, Dukes, when she hit an RBI single to center. Caitlin Sandy singled to put runners on the corners, but a foul out ended the threat.
Morgan Heath doubled and went to third on a wild pitch with two outs in the second. After a walk to Butler, Ball came on in relief of Friesen. Heath crossed the plate on a double-steal play, and James Madison later tacked on two more runs on Mooney's second double of the game.
Stephens led off the fourth inning with a double, ending a string of seven straight batters retired by Kiefer. Nichols plated Stephens from third when she grounded out, bringing the Lady Flames to within four, 5-1.
Ball worked through trouble in the top of the fourth, after giving up singles to Butler and Mooney. She got the final two outs on a lineout and a strikeout.
Both teams went in order during the fifth inning, leaving the score at 5-1.
With two outs in the top of the sixth, Stephens rolled a single just inside the third-base bag, good for her second hit of the contest. She was left on base when Shivock grounded out to end the Lady Flames' at bat.
Trailing, 5-1, and down to their last at bat, the Lady Flames received a one-out baserunner when Kelby Allen reached via an error. Allen went to second on a throwing error with two outs, before Kiefer closed the door by striking out Amber Donovan