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Two-Run Frames Give Cavaliers Win over LU

April 9, 2008
|  Lynchburg, Va.
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Shannon McKain hit her team-leading fifth home run of the year during Liberty's opening game against Virginia.

Shannon McKain hit her team-leading fifth home run of the year during Liberty's opening game against Virginia.

Virginia scored two runs during the sixth and seventh innings to break open a tight game, securing a 7-6 victory over Liberty during the first game of Wednesday afternoon's non-conference doubleheader at the Liberty Softball Field.

With the victory, the Cavaliers snap a four-game losing streak to improve their record to 13-27 on the season. Liberty drops it first game of a home doubleheader this year, falling to 7-25-1 on the season.

The bats came alive for both squads during the two-plus hour contest, as the two teams combined for 21 hits. The 12 hits pounded out by the Cavaliers marked the third time in the last four games a Liberty opponent has tallied double-digit hits in a contest.

The Lady Flames jumped out on top quickly with one swing of the bat in the bottom of the first inning. Beth Bennett extended her personal hitting streak to 14 games with a two-out single through the left side of the infield.

Following a wild pitch, which moved Bennett to second, Shannon McKain clocked her team-leading fifth home run of the year, sending a 2-2 pitch into the batting cages in center field to staking Liberty to a 2-0 lead.

The Cavaliers trimmed Liberty's advantage in half during their next at bat. Lindsey Preuss started the frame by dropping a single down the left-field line.

After moving to third on a sacrifice bunt by Lauren McCaskey, Preuss crossed the plate on a RBI single to center field by Kierstie Cameron.

Virginia took its first lead of the game in the following inning, plating two runs in the top of the third inning. Kelly Haller drew a two-out walk, followed by Carly Winger hitting a two-run blast to center field, giving the Cavaliers a 3-2 lead with her fifth round tripper of the season.

The ball continued to leave the ballpark in the bottom of the third inning, as Ashley Williams started the frame by lofting her fourth home run of the year over the fence in left.

The homer, which knotted the game at 3-3, pushed the senior's hitting streak to a career best 10-straight games.

The score remained the same until the sixth inning, as two walks and two hits led to a pair of Cavalier runs. Lauren McCaskey battled off a 10-pitch at bat to draw a walk. After moving to second on a sacrifice bunt by Cameron, the first baseman moved within 60 feet of home on a passed ball.

Following a walk issued to Cynthia Javaras, a defensive replacement in the bottom of the fifth inning, Meghan O'Leary singled through the left side of the infield to drive in McCaskey.

A second two-out base hit followed by Casey Steffan to the gap in left center, driving in Javaras and giving the Cavaliers a two-run edge, 5-3.

Virginia plated a pair of insurance runs in the top of the seventh inning to put the game out of reach for Liberty. The two-run frame was highlighted by a RBI double to the fence in right center by McCaskey and a base-scoring single that just dropped in right by Abby Snyder.

And the Cavaliers would need each of those additional runs as Liberty mounted a threat in the bottom of the seventh inning, plating three runs on just a single, while leaving the tying run stranded at third base.

Elena Lampman started the inning with a base hit to center field. Three batters later, the game looked like it was going to end, but Carly Winger wasn't able to handle a Williams ground ball, extending the inning.

A bases-loaded walk, followed by back-to-back fielder's choice plays deep in the hole at short allowed Amber DePasquale, Williams and Bennett to score in succession.

However, relief pitcher Whitney Holstun finally halted the last-ditch effort by Liberty when she got a ground ball to end the lengthy opening contest.

Karla Wilburn, who was lifted midway through the sixth inning, picked up the victory for Virginia, allowing three runs on eight hits to move to 8-11 on the year. Holstun finished off the final 1 1/3 innings for her first save of the year, allowing three unearned runs on a hit.

Tiffani Smith suffered the loss in relief of starting pitcher Dana Wheeler, who allowed one run on three hits during the first two innings of the game. Smith finished off the final five innings, surrendering six runs on nine hits, walking four and fanning five.

The Cavaliers 12-hit attack was paced by O'Leary, as the leadoff hitters was 3-for-5 with a RBI. Winger (2-for-3), Preuss (2-for-4) and McCaskey (2-for-2) rounded out Virginia's multiple-hit batters on the afternoon.

Liberty pounded out nine hits during the contest, including two additional home runs at its home facility. On the season, 10 of the Lady Flames' 16 home runs have come at home.

Bennett paced the way for Liberty, batting 2-for-3 with two runs scored, while McMillon was 2-for-4 with a RBI. McKain finished the contest going 1-for-2 with three RBIs.

The Lady Flames and the Cavaliers will conclude today's non-conference doubleheader with a second game at the Liberty Softball Field, approximately 20 minutes following the conclusion of the first game.