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Hokies' Offense Explodes as VT Beats LU
The Hokies of Virginia Tech ripped 11 hits compared to Liberty's five, defeating the Lady Flames, 11-4, in Game 1 of a non-conference doubleheader in Blacksburg, Va., Wednesday afternoon.
The Hokies rode the momentum of two big innings to set up the victory, scoring five runs in the third and four runs in the fourth frame.
The Lady Flames came out swinging in the top of the first, scoring two runs on four hits to take a quick lead.
With one out, J'nae Jefferson and Cassie Hendrix recorded back-to-back-singles. Jefferson then scored when Kelly Strickland singled up the middle, and Hendrix moved to third. Kaylee West followed up with another single up the middle, allowing Hendrix to cross the plate for a 2-0 Liberty lead.
The Hokies threatened to jump on the board themselves in the bottom of the frame, as Richelle McGarva led off with a triple to right center. But the Liberty defense made the play on two straight groundouts, and starting pitcher Tiffani Smith struck out cleanup hitter Kristen Froehlich to keep Virginia Tech scoreless.
Liberty ran into trouble in the bottom of the third, as the Hokies scored five runs on four hits and a Lady Flames error to take a 5-2 lead. Virginia Tech batted all the way through its lineup in the inning, as Kristina Cruz, McGarva, Misty Hall and Froehlich each recorded hits.
The Lady Flames battled back in the top of the fourth, as a one-out Jenny Law double to left center field drove in Amber DePasquale and Meredith Baisden, pushing the score to 5-4 in favor of the Hokies.
But Virginia Tech tacked on four more runs in the bottom of the fourth to take a 9-4 lead. McGarva led off with a walk, then stole second. Two outs later, Amber Walker singled through the left side to bring in McGarva. After Kristin Graham reached on an infield single and Marra Hvozdovic walked, Whitney Davis doubled deep to left, driving in all three runners.
As the Lady Flames continued to struggle offensively, the Hokies continued putting runs on the board, extending their lead to 11-4 in the bottom of the sixth inning. Froehlich led off with her second double of the game, and moved to third when Walker reached on a throwing error by pitcher Katie Warrington. After Graham struck out, Hvozdovic grounded out to shortstop, but Froehlich scored on the play. Davis then singled to left to score pinch runner Sarah Ashby for the second run of the frame.
Liberty could not muster any offense in the final inning, and Virginia Tech walked away with the 11-4 victory.
With the loss, the Lady Flames drop to 33-13 on the year, while the Hokies improve to 21-31.
Hendrix and Strickland extended their hitting streaks to six games and nine games, respectively, each batting 1-for-3 at the plate to lead the Lady Flames.
Virginia Tech was paced by Davis, who was 2-for-3 with five RBIs.
Smith suffered the loss in the circle, dropping to 18-5 on the year after giving up six hits and striking out three batters in three complete innings.
Kenzie Roark (8-18) picked up the win, giving up five hits and striking out 12 batters in a complete-game appearance.
The two squads will face off in Game 2 later this evening.