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Offensive Outburst Leads Lady Flames To Doubleheader Sweep Over Norfolk State
The Lady Flames pounded out a combined 28 hits over two games, while scoring 14 total runs in a doubleheader sweep over Norfolk State, 7-4 and 7-3, Wednesday afternoon at the NSU Softball Field.
With the pair of victories, the Lady Flames up their record to 27-14 on the season, while Norfolk State falls to 17-22 after the two losses.
The Lady Flames wasted little time taking a lead in the first game as Jessica Moore led off the game with a triple off the fence in right field. Two batters later, Ashley Williams drove her in with a base hit off of Natasha Steele's glove in the circle, giving Liberty a 1-0 advantage.
The score remained the same until the fourth inning when the Lady Flames exploded for five runs on five hits, while batting around the order to take a six-run lead.
Shannon McKain started the frame with an infield single, while Terra Lowe followed and reached on a fielder's choice play. Jessica Leary got her second-straight hit of the game with a single to right field, while Moore was issued her second-straight international walk to load the bases.
And Jeffs made the Spartans pay for loading the bases as the second baseman connected on a single back up the middle to drive in Lowe and Leary. Beth Bennett followed with a two-RBI double to straightaway center, while Williams capped off the inning with a base hit back up the middle to plate Bennett and push Liberty's lead to 6-0.
Norfolk State got on the scoreboard in the bottom of the fourth inning when Priscilla Weidner led off the frame with an infield single down the third base line, while Allison Greene followed with a walk.
After getting back-to-back infield outs, Liberty appeared like it was going to get out of the inning unscathed as Katie Byrne lofted a ball to left field, but the ball dropped out of Beth Hensley's glove, allowing Weidner and Greene to score a pair of unearned runs.
The Lady Flames added an insurance run in the top of the sixth inning as Liberty mounted a two out rally, starting with a single to center field by Williams, while the catcher advanced to second as the ball got passed Weidner in center field. Beth Hensley followed with a base hit down the right field line to drive in Williams and give Liberty a 7-2 lead.
The Spartans made one last charge to get back into the game as Weidner and Greene led off the bottom of the sixth inning with back-to-back singles to right field. After Hitomi Greene walked to load the bases, Erica Tiller drove in two with a base hit to center field to drive in Weidner and Greene and trim the lead to 7-4.
However, Lowe was able to halt the rally and pick up the victory as she scattered six hits over seven innings of work, while allowing two earned runs and striking out five batters to up her record to 10-6 on the year. Natasha Steele suffered the loss as she allowed seven runs on 13 hits in seven innings of work.
Offensively, the Lady Flames had all but one of their starters record a hit, while Williams led the as she was 4-for-4, marking a new career high for hits in a game, while Williams, Bennett and Jeffs each drove in two runs.
In the second game, the contest remained scoreless until the top of the third inning as the Lady Flames scored three runs on three hits, while capitalizing on two Spartan errors. Jessica Leary started the frame by reaching on an infield error, while Moore, Jeffs and Bennett followed with three-straight singles.
Bennett's single drove in two runs, while Williams reached on another fielding error that allowed Jeffs to score and give Liberty a 3-0 lead.
Norfolk State got on the scoreboard in the bottom half of the inning as a two-out error kept the inning alive as Leekycia reached on a fielding error. After advancing to second on a wild pitch, the right fielder scored on a RBI base hit back up the middle to trim the lead to 3-1.
The Spartans continued to cut into Liberty's lead as Allison Greene connected on her team-leading seventh home run of the year, sending a solo shot over the fence in left field to cut Liberty's lead to 3-2.
However, Liberty put the game out of reach with a run in the fifth and three more in the sixth. Beth Hensley drove in Bennett with a single to left field, while a two-RBI double by Bennett, followed by a RBI base hit back up the middle by Williams gave the Lady Flames all the runs they would need.
Sarah Ellis upped her record to 8-1 on the season as the freshman allowed two runs on two hits in 4 1/3 innings of work, while Sarah Swor finished off the final 2 2/3 innings of the game to pick up her second save of the year. Micki Rodriguez suffered the loss as she allowed seven runs on 15 hits in six innings of action.
Bennett led the Lady Flames in the second game as the freshman was a perfect 4-for-4 with four RBI, while Moore (2-for-5), Jeffs (2-for-4), Williams (2-for-4) and Hensley (2-for-4) all finished the game with multiple hits.
The Lady Flames continue a brief two-day road trip tomorrow when they travel to Hampton, Va. to face the Pirates of Hampton. First pitch of the non-conference doubleheader is scheduled for 1 p.m.