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Pair of Two-Run Frames Gives Dukes Win
With the victory for the Dukes, Liberty and James Madison split the afternoon's non-conference doubleheader. James Madison, who picked up its first-ever victory in Lynchburg with the win, moves to 17-17 on the season. The loss drops Liberty to 5-21-1 and gives the Lady Flames their third-straight doubleheader split.
Liberty used the momentum of a 4-3, 11-inning game one victory to pace the way in the second game, as the Lady Flames took an early 1-0 lead in the first.
Cassie Hendrix was issued a walk to start the bottom half of the frame. After moving to second on a Jenny Clohan wild pitch, Ashley Williams and Hendrix traded places, when the senior tagged her third double of the year, sending a two-base shot to centerfield to give the Lady Flames the one-run edge.
The score remained the same until the third, when the long ball struck again. The two teams combined for three home runs in the afternoon's opening contest, and James Madison knotted the home run derby score for the day at two each during the third inning of the nightcap.
Jenn Chavez started the top half of the inning with a single to left and moved to third on a two-base throwing error by Shannon McKain.
But the errant throw proved to be a moot point. Two batters later, Katie Spitzer clocked a Tiffani Smith pitch well over the fence in left to give the Dukes a 2-1 lead.
Liberty managed to tie the game in the bottom of the fourth inning, thanks in part to another lead-off base runner. Keely McMillon started the frame with an infield single. After moving station to station on infield outs, McMillon was able to cross the plate on Leah Cossentino's RBI base hit back up the middle, tying the game at 2-2.
But the lead was shortly lived, as the Dukes came storming back with two runs in the top of the fifth inning. Smith issued Brittney Dyson a four-pitch walk, followed by a RBI double to left center by Spitzer.
Shannon Moxey grounded out to move Spitzer to third, where she was able to easily score on a base hit up the middle by Courtney Simons, giving Clohan all the run support she would need.
The righty proved to be a workhorse for the Dukes on the afternoon, tossing a total of 10 2/3 innings of work and 166 pitches.
The final tosses came late in the afternoon and halted Liberty's last attempt to muster an attack. Elena Lampman got an infield single to open the seventh and Hendrix was issued her second walk of the game.
But Clohan got Williams to line a bullet to center field and Beth Bennett to ground back to the circle to secure the complete-game victory. She finished the second game allowing two runs on five hits, while walking three and striking out five to even her record at 6-6.
Smith suffered her sixth-straight loss to fall to 0-6, allowing four runs on four hits over 4 1/3 innings of work. Dana Wheeler, Liberty's game one starter, and Sarah Ellis combined to finish off the final 2 2/3 innings by allowing just one hit and fanning a batter each.
Spitzter was the Dukes' offensive hero, batting 2-for-3 with two runs scored and two RBIs out of the No. 9 spot in the line-up.
Liberty scattered its five base hits among five different players. Williams and Cossentino were each 1-for-3 with a RBI, while Bennett was 1-for-4 to push her hitting streak to a career best eight-straight games.
The Lady Flames will have tomorrow off before returning to the diamond at the Liberty Softball Field when the squad opens Big South play against Birmingham-Southern.
The Lady Flames will play a three-game series with the Panthers, squaring off for two on Friday afternoon, starting at 2 p.m., followed by a single game on Saturday at 1 p.m.