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Lady Flames Drop First Two Conference Games In Sweep By Radford
The pair of losses mark the first two losses of the season in conference play for Liberty and drop the Lady Flames to 5-2 in league play, while Liberty's overall record falls to 34-18 overall this season.
In the first game, the Highlanders jumped out to a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the first inning as Radford manufactured the game's first run. Ashley Carlson led off the frame by drawing a full count walk, while moving to second on her team-leading 17th stolen base of the season.
After an infield hit by Alex Roderick gave the Highlanders runners at the corners, Amanda Walling lofted a ball to right field for a sacrifice fly to allow Carlson to score and give Radford a 1-0 lead.
Radford added to its lead in the second as Danielle Tompkins led off the inning with a double off the top of the wall in right center field, while three batters later, the first baseman scored on an infield single off the bat of Michelle Carlson to extend the Highlanders' lead to two runs.
The score remained the same until the fifth inning when Radford mounted a two out rally, starting with a single just in front of an outstretched Ashley Williams in front of the plate that allowed Walling to reach. After another infield single off the bat of Ashley Taylor up the middle, Cassie Rhodes lined a shot to right field to plate Walling and give the Highlanders a 3-0 edge.
Radford's final two insurance runs of the game were aided by a pair of throwing errors by Liberty on the same play in the sixth inning as Anne Tatum and Ashley Carlson both reached base with singles to center field.
After Ashley Carlson stole second base for her second swipe of the game, Roderick grounded out to third base; however, Michelle Carslon rounded third base and headed for home, but Beth Bennett's throw was wide of the plate, while Williams' throw back to field was errant to allow Michelle Carlson to score the game's final run.
Taylor was perfect through 6 1/3 innings of work as she retired the first 22 consecutive batters before Dawn Jeffs broke up the perfect bid as her grounded ball down to third was misplayed by Roderick to give Liberty its first base runner of the game.
However, Taylor got the final two outs of the game to record her second conference no-hitter of the season as she didn't surrender a hit in seven innings, while striking out 10 batters to up her record to 16-8 on the year.
Sarah Swor suffered the loss as she was roughed up for three runs on nine hits in 4 2/3 innings of work, before Sarah Ellis finished off the final 1 1/3 innings by allowing two unearned runs on two hits.
The second game was a pitcher's duel as neither team could muster a base hit until the sixth inning when Dawn Jeffs finally got the Lady Flames on the scoreboard with one swing of the bat as the junior belted her sixth home run of the season, sending a two out shot well over the fence in right center field to give Liberty a 1-0 lead.
The score remained the same until the seventh inning as for the second time this season, Terra Lowe came within one out of tossing a no-hitter; however, this time the hit she surrender was more costly as Lowe gave up a two-out solo homer over the fence in center field to Cassie Rhodes to push the game into extra innings.
And the Highlanders made the most of their extra change as the long ball determined the outcome of the contest as Anne Tatum came up in the bottom of the eighth inning with a two-run homer to left field to give Radford the conference sweep.
Breanne Felix picked up the victory as she allowed two hits and an earned run, while fanning eight batters to up her record to 14-11 on the season. Lowe was the tough luck loser as she allowed three runs on the two homers, while striking out nine batters.
The Lady Flames continue Big South Conference action on Saturday when they host Birmingham-Southern at the Liberty Softball Field. First pitch of the league doubleheader is scheduled for 1 p.m.