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Rally Falls Short as Highlanders Take Game Two to Split Conference Doubleheader

April 20, 2007
|  Lynchburg, Va.
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Shannon McKain hit a two-run home run, Liberty's fourth of the game, during the Lady Flames' attempted seventh-inning rally.

Shannon McKain hit a two-run home run, Liberty's fourth of the game, during the Lady Flames' attempted seventh-inning rally.

Liberty outhomered Radford, 4-3, in the second game, but lost the overall contest, 7-6, as a seventh-inning rally fell short, allowing both teams to claim a victory to open a key Big South weekend series, Friday afternoon, at the Liberty Softball Field.

With the split on the afternoon, Liberty raises its record to 31-18 on the year and 6-2 in Big South Conference play. The second-game loss ended Liberty's six-game conference winning streak and Liberty's 12-game home winning streak. The Highlanders finished the day with a 35-21 record and an 8-3 mark in the league.

The Highlanders jumped out to an early lead as Cassie Rhodes tripled down the right-field line and scored as Ashley Taylor singled through the right side of the infield, driving in Rhodes and giving Radford a 1-0 lead. 

The visitors added to their advantage during the second inning when Amanda Davidson hit her fourth home run of the year, connecting on a solo home run to left, pushing the Highlanders' lead to two runs, 2-0.

The Lady Flames trimmed the lead in their half of the frame as Ashley Williams led off the inning by drawing a walk. After moving to second on a sacrifice bunt by Beth Bennett and to third on a pass ball, Williams crossed the plate as Beth Hensley dropped in a RBI single to left center to cut the lead to one run, 2-1. 

Radford kept its bats going in the third inning as a single down the left-field line by Ashley Carlson and a base knock to right center by Rhodes set the stage for Ashley Taylor to hit her team-leading eighth home run of the hit as the three-run blast to left clipped the top of the fence and pushed the Highlanders' lead to four runs, 5-1. 

Liberty cut the lead in half during the fifth inning with back-to-back home runs by Jessica Moore and Williams. Moore's solo shot well over the fence in left field was her team-leading 15th of the year and Williams' solo shot to center field, marked her ninth of the year and third of the week. 

The long ball contest continued in the top of the sixth inning as Sarah Himan started the inning by reaching on a fielding error. Two batters later, Alex Roderick hit her fifth home run of the season, with the two-run blast to left field, staking the Highlanders to a four run lead, 7-3. 

Courtney Johnson kept the home run fest alive with her second round tripper of the afternoon by hitting a solo shot to left center field, cutting Radford's lead to three runs, 7-4. 

A two-run blast well over the fence in straightaway center by Shannon McKain, Liberty's fourth home run of the game, pulled the Lady Flames within a run, 7-6, but Taylor was able to defuse a seventh-inning rally by getting three groundballs to secure the afternoon split. 

Both teams pounded out nine hits and a combined seven home runs during the nightcap. Rhodes paced the Highlander offense as she was 3-for-4 with two runs scored, followed by Taylor's 2-for-4 outing with a team-best four RBI. Carlson was 1-for-4 in the win with a second inning single down the left-field line, allowing the outfielder to become Radford's single season hits leader with 75 hits on the year. 

Moore (2-for-4 with a home run), Williams (2-for-3 with two runs scored) and Hensley (2-for-3 with a RBI) each recorded multiple hits on the game to lead the Lady Flames from the plate. 

Bre Felix was the victor in the contest, upping her record to 17-6, as she allowed four runs, three of which were earned, on eight hits during 5 2/3 innings of work. Taylor recorded the final four outs of the game to secure her first save of the year, allowing two runs on the home run by McKain. 

Terra Lowe suffered the loss for Liberty to fall to 13-6 on the season as she allowed the first two runs on three hits during 1 2/3 innings of work. Sarah Ellis was roughed up for five runs, four of which were earned, on five hits in 3 2/3 innings of action, before Sarah Swor finished off the final 1 2/3 innings of the game where she allowed one hit and fanned two. 

Liberty and Radford will conclude their three-game Big South Conference series tomorrow afternoon with a single game at the Liberty Softball Field. First pitch of the contest is set for Noon, beginning a full day of athletics at Liberty University. 

The Flames are hosting the Big South Outdoor Track Championship at the Matthes-Hopkins Track Complex all day and the baseball team plays the middle game of a three-game series against Radford, starting at 3 p.m. at Worthington Field. The athletic day concludes with the football program's annual Spring Game, which kicks off at 3 p.m. at Williams Stadium.