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Radford Edges Liberty in Resumed Extra-Inning Contest
It took 18 minutes after the March 23 contest resumed for Radford to seal the 4-3 win, Thursday afternoon, as the Highlanders inched past the Liberty Lady Flames.
With two strikes, Kaylee West ripped a one-out single to restart the game. But Kelly Strickland grounded into a 5-4-3 double play, bringing the Highlanders up to bat.
Behind Katrina Johnson, the Liberty defense went three-up, three-down, as two batters struck out looking and the other grounded out to third, pushing the game into the top of the ninth inning with the score still tied at 3-all.
Keely McMillon ripped a single through the left side with one out in the top of the ninth, and pinch runner Marybeth Sciolino moved into scoring position when Amber DePasquale grounded out. But Sammi Shivock was out on a line drive to second, ending the Liberty at-bat.
The Highlanders quickly put a runner in scoring position in the bottom of the ninth, as Kristen Shifflett reached when she was hit by a pitch, then stole second.
Shifflett scored the game-winning run on the next play, when Hannah Ojeda singled to short right-center, giving Radford the 4-3 win.
Liberty drops to 22-22 overall, and 8-4 in Big South Conference play, while Radford improves to 34-15 overall and 13-2 in the league.
Nichole Beall led Radford with two RBIs, while Meredith Crisante recorded the only Liberty RBI of the contest.
Liberty is now headed to Blacksburg, Va., where the Lady Flames will resume last night's contest against Virginia Tech. That game was halted in the top of the fourth inning at the Liberty Softball Field in Lynchburg, Va., with the Hokies ahead, 5-0.
Recap from March 23
Due to heavy rain and lightning in the Radford area, the Big South contest between Liberty and Radford was suspended in the top of the eighth with a 3-3 score.
The umpires halted the game in the top of the eighth inning with one out when a lightning strike was spotted. Then, a steady rain began to fall during the delay.
When the game resumes, the Lady Flames will be up to bat with one out. Kaylee West will be at the plate with an 0-2 count.
The Lady Flames took advantage of two Radford miscues in the top of the first to take a 2-0 lead. With one out, Katie Zavodny reached on a fielding error by shortstop Kristen Shifflett, and moved to second when Jenny Law singled up the middle. Ashley Bensinger was then hit by a pitch to load the bases, and an out later, a fielding error by third baseman Taylor Cunningham with Kelly Strickland up to bat brought in two unearned runs for the Lady Flames.
That lead didn't last long, as the Highlanders tied it up, 2-2, in the bottom of the same inning, when Nichole Beall hit a two-run homer to center field, her seventh of the year.
Radford made another threat in the bottom of the second, putting runners on first and second with one out after Shannon Keefe was hit by a pitch and Lauren Williams walked. But Shifflett lined out to Liberty pitcher Katrina Johnson, who tossed it onto first for the double play, and Liberty escaped with no more Radford runs.
Another Radford miscue put a Liberty runner in scoring position in the top of the third. Zavodny led off with a grounder to shortstop, and first baseman Jessie Hutchins muffed the throw, allowing Zavodny to move to second on the play. But the Highlander defense came up with three straight outs, and the game stayed tied.
Two Liberty errors contributed to another Radford run in the bottom of the fourth, giving the Highlanders a 3-2 advantage. Michelle Beall led off with an infield single, and advanced to second on an errant throw by Shivock. After Meredith Moore grounded out, Keefe reached on a fielder's choice with a bunt to Johnson, who threw it in the dirt at home, allowing Beall to score for the Radford lead.
Bensinger led off the top of the sixth with a double down the left field line that bounced off the foul pole. But pinch hitter Jill Stephens was out on a batter's interference call, and Strickland fouled out to first.
Designated player Meredith Crisante made sure not to strand the runner, singling up the middle to score Bensinger, tying the game at 3-all.
Michelle Beall immediately got on base in the bottom of the sixth, reaching on a fielding error by Johnson. She then stole second, and after Moore struck out, she moved to third on a sac bunt by Keefe.
Hutchins was hit by a pitch, and pinch runner Morgan Eye stole second. But the runners stayed put, as Williams popped out for the third out.
DePasquale tried to start something for Liberty in the top of the seventh, leading off with an infield single that Shifflett couldn't make a play on. But she never advanced, as Shivock and Zavodny popped out and Law grounded out to end the at-bat with the score still tied.
The Highlanders put a runner in scoring position in the bottom of the seventh when Shifflett singled up the middle, then advanced to second on a wild pitch by reliever Tiffani Smith. After Hannah Ojeda was called out on batter's interference, Smith intentionally walked Nichole Beall. But two force outs got Liberty out of the jam and send the game into extra innings.