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Pair of Early Home Runs Helps Complete Sweep for No. 17/23 Virginia Tech over Liberty
With the two setbacks on the day, Liberty falls to 34-23 on the year after playing their 11th and 12th games against ranked opponents this year, a new school record. Virginia Tech moves to 44-14 on the year after the pair of victories.
As in the early game, the long ball continued to play a factor as Jessica Everhart hit her second home run of the day and fourth of the season, lifting one over the fence in straightaway center field to give the Hokies a 1-0 lead in the second.
Virginia Tech tacked on two insurance runs in the fourth thanks to their third home run of the day. Erin Ota led off the frame with a single up the middle, followed by Stephanie Savre's eighth home run of the year with the two-run blast to center staking the Hokies to a three-run lead, 3-0.
The Hokies continued to pad their lead in the top of the sixth inning as Virginia Tech took advantage of a Liberty error to extend its lead. Everhart led off the frame with a single to right, but the ball got by Beth Hensley, allowing Everhart to advance to second.
After moving to third on a single down the left-field line by Charisse Mariconda, Everhart scored on a single to center by Whitney Davis, pushing the Hokies' lead to four runs, 4-0.
Virginia Tech added a final insurance in the seventh as Callie Rhodes led off the inning and reached on a fielding error and later scored on Savre's double to right center.
Liberty finally got on the scoreboard in the bottom of the seventh as J'nae Jefferson led off the frame with her fifth home run of the year, a solo shot to left field to account for the Lady Flames' lone run of the game.
Heather Lowry was the victor as she allowed one run on six hits, walking four and striking out six in a complete-game seven inning victory.
Terra Lowe suffered the loss as the senior allowed three runs on three hits during 3 1/3 innings of work to fall to 15-8. Sarah Ellis finished off the final 3 2/3 innings, allowing two unearned runs on seven hits.
Six different Liberty hitters tallied the Lady Flames hits with Shannon McKain, Jessica Moore, Ashley Williams and Beth Bennett going 1-for-3 and Sarah Swor and Jefferson finishing 1-for-2.
The Lady Flames will return to the softball diamond this weekend when they travel to Birmingham, Ala., to face Birmingham-Southern with the Big South regular-season title on the line. The Lady Flames will be looking for their first regular-season title since 1999 when the squad finished the year with a 9-1 mark.
Liberty enters the weekend tied with Winthrop for the top spot in the league standings as both squads have a 9-3 conference record. Liberty plays a three-game set against the Panthers with two games on Friday and the final one on Saturday, followed by Winthrop and third-place Radford (8-4) squaring for three games on Saturday and Sunday in Rock Hill, S.C.