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Nine-Straight Runs Completes Rally for LU
With the victory, Liberty ups its record to 8-25-1 on the season, thanks in part to a season-high 13 hits. The loss drops Virginia's mark on the year down to 13-28.
The Cavaliers plated four runs during the opening frame of the contest, using a pair of hits and two Liberty errors to open up a 4-0 lead.
Meghan O'Leary opened the game with her fourth perfectly placed hit of the day, dropping a single into left field. Alison Pittman bunted back to Sarah Ellis in the circle, but the throw was errant at second, allowing both runners to remain on base.
After a sacrifice bunt by Kelly Haller moved both runners up. Carly Winger grounded to third base, but J'nae Jefferson wasn't able to make the play, allowing two runners to cross the plate.
Lindsey Preuss followed with her team-leading sixth home run of the year, sending an opposite field two-run shot out of the softball park in right, staking the visitors to a sizeable four-run lead after the first inning.
Errors continued to cost Liberty in the top of the second, as Leah Cossentino extended the inning by misplaying a two-out ground ball by O'Leary.
Three-straight singles to left field gave the Cavaliers two additional runs. O'Leary swiped second for her eighth stolen base of the year and scored on Pittman's single to left.
After a single off the bat of Haller gave Virginia runners at first and second, Winger drove in Pittman with a single to left to push the visitor's lead to six runs, 6-0.
Liberty finally got on the scoreboard in the bottom of the third inning, as Cassie Hendrix opened the frame with an infield single. The speedy runner was able to beat out an attempted play at second off a batted ball by Beth Bennett, giving Liberty runners at first and second.
A walk was issued to J'nae Jefferson to load the bases, where Keely McMillon sharply singled to center field to drive in a pair of runners and cut the lead to four runs, 6-2.
Liberty continued to chip away at Virginia's lead, tying the contest with four runs scored in the fourth as the Lady Flames batted around the order. The four-run burst chased starting pitcher Whitney Holstun from the contest after five-straight two-out hits.
Amber DePasquale was struck by a pitch, followed by a one-out sacrifice bunt by Hendrix. Ashley Williams then started the hit parade for Liberty with a single up the middle to drive in DePasquale.
A single through the left side of the infield by Bennett was followed by a RBI base hit to right center by Shannon McKain. Jefferson reached base for the third-straight trip to the plate with an RBI base hit through the left side of the infield to drive in Bennett, bringing in relief pitcher Karla Wilburn.
McMillon quickly welcomed the junior to the contest by lining a single down the right-field line, plating the inning's fourth and final run as McKain crossed the plate to knot the game at 6-6.
Liberty completed the nine-run rally plating three additional runs in the bottom of the sixth inning, scoring a trio of runs with another two-out burst.
McMillon got her fourth hit of the day, lining a shot off the glove of Winger at shortstop in left field. After a sacrifice bunt by Courtney Johnson moved pinch runner Jessica Leary up to second, the junior beat out a throw to the plate when Elena Lampman dropped a single down the left-field line to give Liberty a one-run lead.
The Lady Flames added two insurance runs as DePasquale clocked her third home run of the year with a two-run blast to center field, giving Liberty its ninth-consecutive run and complete the comeback victory.
McMillon was the offensive star for Liberty, completing her best day in a Liberty uniform, as the freshman was a perfect 4-for-4 from the plate to go along with three RBIs. Williams was 2-for-5, pushing her hitting streak to 11-straight games, while Bennett also extended her career best hitting streak to 15 games by going 1-for-3 with two runs scored.
Sarah Ellis was able to overcome some sloppy defensive behind her early in the game, by scattering eight hits and allowing six unearned runs over seven innings to up her record to 3-12 on the year.
Wilburn suffered the loss in relief of Holstun, as the righty allowed three runs on six hits over the final 2 1/3 innings of play to fall to 8-12 on the year. Holstun started the game and allowed six runs on seven hits over the first 3 2/3 innings of the game.
Virginia's eight-hit attack in the second game of today's doubleheader was led by Haller, who was 2-for-3, and Winger, who was 2-for-4 with a run scored and a RBI.
Liberty will return to the softball diamond on Saturday, when the Lady Flames open up a three-game Big South set at Coastal Carolina.
Liberty will play two games on Saturday against the Chanticleers in Conway, S.C., starting at 2 p.m., followed by a single game on Sunday at 1 p.m.