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Lady Flames Split With Cavaliers In Softball Doubleheader
For the second-straight day, the Lady Flames split a home non-conference doubleheader as homers by Ashley Williams and Sarah Swor lifted Liberty to a 5-2 opening game victory, while a nine-run third inning helped Virginia to a 13-3 second game win, Tuesday afternoon, at the Liberty Softball Field.
With the twinbill split the Lady Flames up their season record to 25-12 on the year, while the Cavaliers finished the two contests with a 19-16 overall record.
In the first game, the Lady Flames exploded for four runs in the bottom of the first as Jessica Moore led of the frame by drawing a walk, while Dawn Jeffs followed with a single through the right side of the infield.
Beth Bennett kept things going as the freshman dropped a double into the gap in left center field to drive in Moore, while Ashley Williams cleared the bases with her seventh home run of the year as her three-run shot over the fence in left center gave Liberty a 4-0 advantage.
The score remained the same until the sixth inning when Sarah Swor connected on a first pitch solo home run that hit high off the scoreboard in straightaway center field, giving the junior her third home run of the season and Liberty a 5-0 lead.
Starting pitcher Terra Lowe allowed a single through the left side of the infield in the first and a base knock into to left in the second and than proceeded to retire 13-consecutive batters leading into the seventh.
However, the Cavaliers mounted a late game rally in the seventh as Sarah Laraquier led off the inning with a solo home run to right center field, while two batters later, Jessica Taylor got on with a base hit to center field. Erin Horn followed with a base hit to left, which allowed Taylor to advance to third, but the attempted throw to third rolled into Liberty's dugout, allowing Taylor to scored and put the potential tying run at the plate.
But Lowe was able to settle down and get out of the jam to up her record to 9-6 on the season, tying a career high for the junior in victories, as she allowed one earned run on six hits in her seventh complete game of the year.
Karla Wilburn suffered the loss as she allowed four runs on three hits to the first four batters of the game before Coty Tolar finished off the final six innings by allowing just one additional run on three hits.
Offensively, Jeffs paced the way for Liberty as the second baseman was a perfect 3-for-3 from the plate with a run scored and a double, while Williams led the team with three RBI on the three-run homer in the first to give the sophomore a new career high with seven round trippers on the year.
In the second game, the Lady Flames kept things going as Jeffs connected on a solo home run to right field to give Liberty the early 1-0 lead in the first inning and the junior her fifth home run of the year.
However, Virginia finally got its offense going in the third inning as the Cavaliers exploded for nine runs on nine hits, while batting around the order to take control of the contest.
The nine-run inning was highlighted by a three-run triple by lead off batter Elea Crockett to center field, a two-run home run by Larquier to right center field and a two-run base hit back up the middle by Whitney Holston.
The Cavaliers continued to add to their lead in the fourth and fifth innings as a three-run double by Lindsey Preuss in the fourth and a RBI base hit by Holston in the fifth gave the visitors a 13-1 edge going into the fifth.
Liberty attempted to get back into the game as pinch hitter Whitney Nixon was able to draw a walk to lead off the inning, while two batters later, Moore connected on her team-leading 14th home run of the year over the wall in left field, but Erin Horn was able to shutdown the rally and end the game in the fifth.
Horn picked up the victory to up her record to 7-6 on the year as she allowed three runs on four hits, while fanning 13 batters in five complete innings of work. Swor suffered the loss as she allowed five runs on six hits in 2 1/3 innings, before Sarah Ellis was roughed up for eight runs on 12 hits in 2 2/3 innings of action.
The Lady Flames mustered just four hits in the second game as Moore was 2-for-3 with two RBI, while Jeffs was 1-for-2 with a run scored and a RBI to extend her hitting streak to seven-straight games.
The Lady Flames will continue a five-game homestand on Thursday when they host in-state opponent Longwood for a non-conference doubleheader. First pitch is set for 3 p.m. at the Liberty Softball Field.