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Jefferson's Two-Run Blast in the Fourth Helps Lady Flames Split JMU Doubleheader
J'nae Jefferson snapped a tie ballgame with a two-run home run to left in the fourth inning, allowing Liberty to savage a doubleheader split with James Madison with a 5-3 win in the second game, Wednesday afternoon, at the JMU Softball Complex.
With the split on the day, the Lady Flames raise their overall record to 22-15. The opening game loss to the Dukes snapped Liberty's six-game winning streak, the team's longest winning streak of the 20007 season.
Liberty wasted little time taking a lead as Dawn Jeffs hit the first pitch offered by Renee' Bounds over the fence in left field, marking the leadoff hitters team-leading 11th home run of the year to give the Lady Flames a 1-0 lead.
Jessica Moore kept things going for Liberty as the senior doubled to center field, followed by Beth Bennett's RBI base hit to left, plating Moore to push Liberty's advantage to two runs, 2-0.
James Madison cut the lead in half during the bottom part of the inning as Brittney Lyddane singled down the left field line and later scored on Jenny Clohan's RBI base hit to left field.
The Dukes tied the game in the second inning as Kaitlyn Wernsing reached base on a fielder's choice play and later scored on Brittney Dyson's sacrifice fly to center field, knotting the game at 2-2.
Liberty regained the lead in the top of the fourth as Claire Fridey started the inning by reaching base after a fielding error. Three batters later, the Lady Flames took advantage of the extra at bat as J'nae Jefferson homered to left field, her second round tripper of the year, to give Liberty its second two-run lead of the game, 4-2.
The Dukes cut the lead in half in the bottom of the fourth as Courtney Simons hit a solo home run to center field, trimming Liberty's lead to one run, 4-3.
Liberty tacked on insurance run in the sixth inning when Bennett led off the frame by drawing a walk. After relief pitcher Meredith Felts got back-to-back Lady Flames to strikeout looking, Courtney Johnson got her first extra base hit of the year, doubling to center field and driving in pinch runner Rachel Love to push Liberty's lead to its final two-run margin, 5-3.
After a rough outing to open the day, Sarah Ellis looked composed during the final 3 2/3 innings of the second game, scattering two hits and striking out three batters to pick up the victory and up her record to 9-6 on the year. Terra Lowe started the game, allowing three runs on five hits during the first 3 1/3 innings of the game.
Bounds was the loser for the Dukes, picking up her first decision of the year (0-1), allowing four runs, two of which were earned on five hits in four-plus innings of work. Felts made her second relief appearance of the day, allowing one run on one hit during three innings of work.
Johnson paced the Lady Flames from the plate with the first multiple-hit game of her career, going 2-for-3 from the plate with the key RBI double in the sixth. Jefferson followed by going 1-for-2 from the plate with the two-run homer in the fourth to put the Lady Flames up for good.
The Lady Flames open up Big South Conference action this weekend when they travel to Rock Hill, S.C., to begin their first-ever three-game league series with Winthrop.
Under the conference's new three-game series format, the Lady Flames and the Eagles will play two games on Saturday, starting at 3 p.m., and will conclude the series with a single game on Saturday at 1 p.m.