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Seventh-Inning Doubles Gives Radford Win
The loss drops Liberty's season mark to 9-33-1 and 3-5 in Big South action, while Radford improves to 34-13 and 6-2 in league play. The victory pushes Radford's winning streak to four games, while giving Liberty its seventh-straight setback.
The Lady Flames put their mark on the scoreboard early, plating two runs off of three hits and one Radford miscue in the second inning.
Keely McMillon started the frame with a double to left field, just out of the reach of Cassie Rhodes. Shannon McKain followed with a nub-single in front of the catcher, which the senior beat out, advancing McMillon to third base.
J'nae Jefferson flew out to center field, scoring McMillon on the sacrifice fly, giving Liberty the 1-0 lead. Leah Cossentino then reached first base on a fielder's choice after Jenn Everhart attempted to throw McKain out at second, instead launching the ball into center field for the game's first error. McKain moved to third and later scored on Cassie Hendrix single to center field, giving the Flames the early 2-0 led.
Making her first collegiate start, Jenna Eatmon was cruising for Liberty, yielding two hits through the first three innings. But it was the fourth frame where the freshman ran into problems, as Radford tied the contest with on back-to-back pitches with two outs.
Vicki Madden hit her team-leading ninth home run of the season on a blast to right center, which landed at the base of the rail road tracks located beyond the fence. On the very next pitch, Kristen Shifflett connected on her first collegiate home run, as the freshman hit a laser over the center field wall.
The second round tripper prompted Liberty head coach Paul Wetmore to bring in Sarah Ellis out of the bullpen. Ellis quickly retired Hope Creasy, the first batter she faced, ending the inning and the threat.
Ashley Taylor, who started both games of a double header for the second time all season, helped her own cause driving in the winning run for the Highlanders in the bottom of the seventh.
Shannon Keefe hit a laser towards shortstop, which was snagged by a diving Cossentino, but the freshman could not get her throw to first base in time to nab the streaking designated player. The infield single set the table for Taylor who hit Ellis' offering to center field. The ball two-hopped the fence and bounced past a rushing Amber DePasquale. The bounding ball got by the freshman, allowing Keefe to score from first base to give the Highlanders the walk-off win.
Taylor pushed her record to 22-8 on the season and 3-0 against the Lady Flames on the year and 7-3 during her four-year career. Ellis picked up the loss in relief, dropping her record to 3-17.
DePasquale paced Liberty with her 2-for-4 game, while McKain added two hits in her three trips to the plate. Hendrix (1-for-4), Beth Bennett (1-for-4), McMillon (1-for-3) and Cossentino (1-for-3) all chipped in a base knock in the losing cause.
Radford edge Liberty in hits with nine to the Lady Flames' eight, as three came off the bat of Taylor (3-for-3), including driving in the game-winning RBI. Madden (2-for-3) added two hits, including the round tripper that started the fourth-inning rally for the Highlanders. Ashley Carlson (1-for-3), Rhodes (1-for-3), Shifflett (1-for-3) and Keefe (1-for-3) all added a hit in the winning effort.
Liberty and Radford will conclude the series tomorrow afternoon at the Liberty Softball Field, splitting the locations of the three Big South games. First pitch for the single game will be at 2:30 p.m. and will be broadcast on WWMC 90.9 with Nick Pierce calling the action.