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Lady Flames Dominate Highlanders, 9-1

March 23, 2010  Lynchburg, Va.  RSS
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Jenny Law was 3-for-4 with three RBIs as Liberty defeated Radford, 9-1.

Jenny Law was 3-for-4 with three RBIs as Liberty defeated Radford, 9-1.

The Lady Flames concluded their 2010 home opener in style, sending the 2009 Big South Champion Radford Highlanders back home after a five-inning 9-1 victory, Tuesday afternoon, at Liberty Softball Field.

The Lady Flames haven't defeated the Highlanders by eight runs since 2007, when Liberty took a 9-1 win at home on April 21.

Liberty dropped two games to Radford, 8-2 and 7-6, in last week's doubleheader at Radford.

Jenny Law recorded the first hit of the game in the bottom of the first, with a one-out liner to right field. Ashley Bensinger was then hit by a pitch to put runners on first and second. But the Lady Flames couldn't capitalize, as Kelly Strickland fouled out to first and Danielle Howard struck out.

The Highlanders put a run on the board in the top of the second to take a 1-0 lead. Shannon Keefe reached on an infield single, then stole second. With one out, Meredith Moore struck out swinging, but was able to reach first base because of the wild pitch on strike three, and Keefe moved to third.

On the next play, Nichelle Beall grounded back to pitcher Tiffani Smith, who tossed it home in an attempt to keep the run from scoring. However, Keefe was called safe at home, and Radford had the early lead.

Danielle Howard made a big play in the top of the third when she threw out Kristen Shifflett, who attempted to score from second on Sarah Himan's base hit to left, keeping the Highlanders from adding to their lead.

Law continued her solid performance at the plate, leading off the bottom of the third with a single to left center. Bensinger then laid down a successful sacrifice bunt to move Law to second, and Strickland stepped in the box to rip her eighth homer of the year, giving Liberty a 2-1 advantage.

Two outs later, Amber DePasquale followed suit with another homer, her second of the year, a shot to left center in nearly the exact same spot Strickland's homer left the park, and Liberty held a 3-1 lead.

The fifth inning was a slugfest, as Liberty scored six runs on seven hits to end the game.

Bensinger singled up the middle to lead off the at-bat, and one out later, scored on a triple to right field by Howard, extending Liberty's lead to 4-1. The Lady Flames didn't stop there, as DePasquale singled on a slow-roller to the pitcher, and Howard scored when West lined a single to right field.

West was forced out at second on the next play, when Bridgett Woods reached on a fielder's choice to shortstop Shifflett. But the Lady Flames rally continued, as Hendrix and J'nae Jefferson recorded back-to back singles – Hendrix's hit brought in a run – and Law ended the game with a double to right center, driving in three runs for the 9-1 victory.

Law led the Lady Flames, batting 3-for-4 with three RBIs and the game-winning double, while DePasquale was 2-for-2 at the plate.

Michelle Beall led the Highlanders, batting 1-for-2 with an RBI.

Pitcher Tiffani Smith (7-3) held Radford to just three hits, and struck out six batters in five innings of work.

Chelsea Kelley (9-4) took the loss in the circle, giving up three hits and striking out two batters in 2 1/3 innings.

With the win, Liberty improves to 14-8 overall and 1-2 in Big South play, and Radford drops to 13-9 overall and 2-1 in the Big South.

The Lady Flames continue the season tomorrow with a non-conference doubleheader against Virginia in Charlottesville, Va. First pitch of Game 1 is scheduled for 4 p.m.