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No. 17/23 Virginia Tech Prevails Over Liberty in Ninth Inning
Prior to the game, the Lady Flames honored its senior class of Beth Hensley, Dawn Jeffs, Terra Lowe, Jessica Moore and Sarah Swor. The quintuplet of players will graduate as one of the Top 6 senior classes in school history, having won nearly 100 games.
With the loss, the Lady Flames' record falls to 34-22 on the year, while the victory ups the Hokies' season mark to 43-14.
Virginia Tech took the lead in the top of the second inning as Stephanie Savre led off the frame by drawing a walk.
After pinch runner Jenna Rhodes moved to second and third on a stole base and a fly out, Jessica Everhart hit her third home run of the year, a two-run blast just to the right of the scoreboard in right center, giving the Hokies a two-run lead, 2-0.
The score remained the same until the bottom of the seventh inning as Virginia Tech pitcher Angela Tincher came within two outs of tossing her fifth no-hitter of the year. However, Jessica Moore drew a walk, followed by Ashley Williams hitting her 12th home run of the year with her two-run shot to left center tying the game at 2-2.
The round tripper marked Liberty's 67th of the year, setting a new school record as the Lady Flames surpassed last year's total of 66 home runs.
Neither team could muster a run during the eighth inning, sending the contest into the ninth. Charisse Mariconda, who started the inning at second as part of the international tiebreaker rule, moved to second on a sacrifice bunt by Everhart. Two batters later, pinch hitter Kelsy Rokey came through for the Hokies, hitting a single up the middle to score Mariconda and give Virginia Tech a 3-2 edge.
The Lady Flames' lead-off batter in the ninth Dawn Jeffs, who entered the game with an 11-game hitting streak, lined into a controversial double play at shortstop as Liberty's international tiebreaker runner J'nae Jefferson was tagged after the catch. Next, Tincher got Shannon McKain swinging to record the final out of the game by virtue of her 22 strikeout.
With the victory, Tincher upped her record to 33-5 on the season as she allowed just the one hit, while tallying a season-best strikeout total, giving her 539 on the year, leaving the junior just eight shy of the ACC career record in under three seasons of competition.
Senior Sarah Swor was the tough-luck loser as she allowed three runs on six hits during her 64th career complete game, walking two and fanning seven to add to her school record total (485).
Liberty's lone hit during the game came from Williams on the two-run shot in the seventh inning, sending the contest into extra frames. Williams finished the game 1-for-3, while Jeffs' 0-for-4 outing brought to an end her second-longest hitting streak of the year.