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Lady Flames Halt Slide with Shutout Victory
With the victory, the Lady Flames halt their eight-game losing streak to improve to 10-34-1 on the season. The loss breaks Norfolk State's five-game winning streak at the NSU Softball Field, and drops the Spartans' record to 16-25 following the first game of today's scheduled doubleheader.
The Lady Flames jumped out to a 1-0 lead in the top of the second, thanks to a two-out walk. Starting pitcher Ky Brown retired the first two batters of the inning, but issued a four-pitch walk to Keely McMillon.
J'nae Jefferson followed with her seventh double of the year, getting a two-base hit off the base of the fence in center field, which allowed McMillon to score from first and stake Liberty to the early one-run lead.
McMillon was a catalyst for another run in the fourth, this time doing so with her bat. Shannon McKain led off the frame with a sharply hit single into right field that glanced off the glove of Amelia Lewis at second.
Leah Cossentino moved the senior into scoring position with a sacrifice bunt, followed by McMillon poking a single into the gap in right center to plate McKain and push Liberty's lead to two runs, 2-0.
Liberty plated an insurance run in the top of the sixth, thanks to a pair of Spartan errors. Back-to-back fielding errors by Norfolk State's infield allowed Jefferson and Elena Lampman to reach base.
After Jefferson was forced out a third on a fielder's choice play, Lampman stole her seventh base of the year to advance to third, followed by Cassie Hendrix dropping in a base hit to score the right fielder and to extend Liberty lead to three runs, 3-0, on the unearned run.
The Lady Flames plated one more run for good measure in the top of the seventh, thanks to a leadoff double by Ashley Williams. The two-base hit was the 45th of the senior's career, moving her two away from Shannon Tanski's school record 47 doubles.
Following two outs, McMillon contributed to her third run, singling down the right-field line to plate Williams and the game's final run.
The Lady Flames pounded out double-digit hits for the third time this year, recording 12 hits including one during each inning of the game.
Hendrix posted Liberty's highest hit today in the game, going 3-for-4 with a RBI, while McMillon was 2-for-4 from the plate with two runners driven in. Three other Lady Flames posted multiple-hit games as Bennett, McKain and Jefferson were all 2-for-4.
Norfolk State, who suffered its third-straight loss by shutout, spread its three hits among a trio of players. Micki Rodriguez and Brianeisha Eure were 1-for-3, while Lewis was 1-for-3.
Tiffani Smith upped her record to 3-10 on the season, scattering three hits over five innings of work, while walking one and striking out two.
Sarah Ellis picked up her second save of the year and sixth of her career by retiring all six batters she faced, including one by strikeout.
Brown suffered the loss, as the righty allowed two runs on eight hits over five innings of work. Sarah Wittwer finished the final two innings, allowing two more runs on four hits.
Following a 20-minute intermission, the Lady Flames and the Spartans will return to the NSU Softball Field to conclude today's doubleheader with the second contest on the afternoon.