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Radford Completes Big South Sweep over LU
With the victory, Radford improves its record to 35-13 on the year and ups its mark to 7-2 in the Big South with its seventh-straight league victory. The loss, Liberty's eighth straight, drops the Lady Flames to 9-34-1 and 3-6 in Big South play.
The Highlanders jumped out on top in the second inning thanks to back-to-back home runs for the second-straight game, highlighting a four-run inning.
Vicki Madden led off the frame by drawing Radford's school-record 22nd hit by pitch, followed by Kristen Shifflett hitting her second home run of the year, and the series with a two-run shot over the fence in right center.
And for the second-straight game, Radford hit consecutive homers on successive pitches, when Hope Creasy hit her sixth round tripper of the year with a solo homer to left.
The back-to-back long balls chased starter Tiffani Smith from the contest, but Radford continued to keep things rolling against reliever Sarah Ellis.
Shannon Keefe welcomed the junior to the game with a sharply hit single through the right side of the infield. Following an infield single by Ashley Taylor and a walk by Jenn Everhart, Sarah Himan grounded to J'nae Jefferson, who couldn't get Keefe out at the plate to cap the four-run frame.
Liberty trimmed its deficit to one run in the bottom of the third inning, plating three runs on a trio of hits and pair of Highlander errors.
Two fielding errors by opposite sides of the infield, followed by an infield single by Cassie Hendrix loaded the bases for Liberty.
Beth Bennett put the Lady Flames' first dent on the scoreboard, singling over Creasy's head in right field with a single to the fence to drive in Jenna Eaton and Amber DePasquale.
Following a walk issued to Ashley Williams to load the bases for a second time, Shannon McKain dropped in a single to left field to score Hendrix and cut the margin to one, 4-3.
Two innings later, Liberty continued to get to the Big South's Preseason Pitcher of the Year when Bennett clocked a towering solo home run to left off of Taylor, as her fifth homer of the year knotted the game at 4-4.
But the lead was short lived as Radford plated three runs on three hits and a costly error to secure the series sweep in the top of the sixth.
Taylor Cunningham got her first collegiate hit, slapping a leadoff triple down the right-field line, followed by Ashley Carlson reaching on a bunt single.
Two batters later, Himan got Radford's fourth infield hit of the day with a single into the hole at shortstop to allow Cunningham to break the tie.
Cassie Rhodes directly followed with a hard shot to second base, which caromed off of Hendrix into center field and allowed Carlson and Himan to add two additional insurance runs on the misplayed ball.
Radford tacked on one more run in the seventh when Creasy dropped in a double to right field and later scored when Carlson beat out a fifth infield single to shortstop for the game's final run.
Liberty threatened by making some noise in the bottom of the seventh, scoring two runs on three hits. DePasquale started the frame with a single through the left side of the infield followed by a walk to Hendrix.
Bennett got her fourth hit of the game, singling to center field to drive in DePasquale. Following a line out to short by Williams, McKain got her second RBI single to left on the day, plating Hendrix to cut the lead to two runs.
But Kellie Snooks kept the ball in the infield to end the threat and secure her first save of the year. Snooks finished off the final two innings of the game, allowing three runs on three hits.
Taylor upped her record to 23-8 in the year, which includes four wins over Liberty, allowing four runs, one of which was earned, on six hits over five innings of work.
Ellis suffered the loss in relief of Smith, allowing five runs on 10 hits over six innings of work to fall to 3-17 on the season. Smith allowed the game's first three runs on three hits during her one inning of work.
Radford pounded out 13 hits on the day, marking the second-highest hit total on the year by an opponent. Carlson led four multi-hit performers for Radford, by going 3-for-5 with a run scored and a RBI. Creasy followed by going 2-for-4 with two runs scored.
Bennett tallied a season-best four hits on the day, going 4-for-4 with a run scored and four RBIs to lead Liberty's nine-hit attack. McKain followed by going 2-for-4 with two RBIs.
The Lady Flames will conclude their 11-game stretch against in-state opponents with a two-day, mid-week road trip this week.
Liberty will square off against Hampton on Tuesday and Norfolk State on Wednesday with both games being doubleheaders. First pitch on Tuesday is slated for Noon.