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Lady Flames Complete Sweep Behind Jeffs' Three-Hit Game
With pair of victories on the day, the Lady Flames pushed their season-to-date record to 17-14. The two setbacks dropped the Spartans record to 8-19 and gave Liberty its sixth-straight win over Norfolk State in the series.
Jeffs continued her hot hitting as the second baseman led off the bottom of the first inning with a solo home run, her second of the day and seventh of the year. The blast hit the top of the scoreboard in center field to stake Liberty to an early 1-0 lead.
Jeffs scored Liberty's second run in the top of the third inning as the senior started the frame with a double off the base of the wall in left-center field and moved to third on a throwing error on the attempted relay. Two batters later, Jessica Moore lofted a fly ball deep enough to right field, allowing Jeffs to score on the sacrifice fly and to give Liberty a 2-0 edge.
Norfolk State finally got on the scoreboard for the first time on the afternoon in the top of the sixth inning as Cassandra Petway began the inning with a single up the middle. After moving to second on a fielder's choice, Meghan Ramsey followed Petway's lead with a base hit up the middle to drive the left fielder in, trimming Liberty's lead to one run, 2-1.
But the Lady Flames added two insurance runs in the bottom half of the frame on two hits to give themselves a three-run cushion. Beth Hensley started the two-run inning with a single to center field, followed by Claire Fridey being struck by a pitch.
Both runners advanced on a Courtney Johnson sacrifice bunt and Hensley scored on a sac fly by J'nae Jefferson. Jeffs followed with her third hit of the game, all for extra bases, as the second baseman doubled to left-center field, driving in Fridey and pushing Liberty's lead to three runs, 4-1.
Micki Rodriguez doubled to began the top of the seventh inning in an attempt to mount rally, but the comeback was halted first by a 25-minute delay due to lightning in the area and secondly by freshman pitcher Dana Wheeler who kept the ball in the infield for the final three outs to secure the victory.
With the win, Wheeler upped her record to 2-1 on the year as the rookie picked up her second career complete game, scattering four hits and allowing a run, while striking out four batters.
Leekycia Brown suffered the loss for the Spartans, falling to 2-7 on the year, as she allowed four runs on eight hits in five-plus innings of work.
Jeffs paced the way for the Lady Flames from the plate with her team-leading 19th multiple-hit game of the year, going 3-for-4 with two RBI and two runs scored. Ashley Williams was 2-for-3 for the second-straight game.
The Lady Flames continue a homestand on Friday and Saturday when they host Hampton and Georgetown in the Blue Ridge Thunder tournament. Liberty plays Georgetown at Noon and Hampton at 2 p.m. on Friday. Four games are scheduled for play on Saturday, including the championship game at 3 p.m.