Grace Nordan combined with Katrina Johnson to throw a no-hitter against Norfolk State.
Katrina Johnson and Grace Nordan combined for a no-hitter and Kelly Strickland homered twice, Wednesday afternoon, as the Lady Flames defeated Norfolk State, 9-0, in game one of a doubleheader at Liberty Softball Field. Johnson threw two innings and Nordan tossed three. Both pitchers walked a batter and Johnson tallied three strikeouts. Today's combined no-hitter by Johnson and Nordan was the 13th in program history. and the first since Feb. 28, 2009, when Tiffani Smith had a no-hitter against Delaware State. Strickland, who leads the Big South with 14 home runs on the year, also hit two home runs in yesterday's win over Hampton. One of her bombs today was a grand slam. With the win, Liberty improves to 21-18 on the year, while Norfolk State drops to 10-22. Back-to-back home runs by Strickland and Ashley Bensinger led to a 3-0 Liberty lead in the bottom of the first, prompting Norfolk State to make an early pitching change. Strickland's bomb brought in the first two runs, as Keely McMillon crossed home after singling to right, and Bensinger's solo shot made it a three-run advantage. At that point, Elizabeth Castaneda came in to relieve starter Casey Pomeroy. The Liberty offense turned it up a notch in the bottom of the second, scoring four more runs. Kaylee West led off with a walk, and one out later, Amber DePasquale singled to short left field. Sammi Shivock then walked to load the bases. With two outs, Strickland stepped up and ripped her second homer of the game, a grand slam down the left field line, giving Liberty a 7-0 lead. The Spartans put a runner on base due to a Liberty fielding error with one out in the top of the fourth. But third baseman Bridgett Woods teamed up with Strickland at second for a 5-4-3 double play, ending the at-bat. After a quiet fifth inning at-bat by the Spartans, the Lady Flames led off the bottom of the frame when Jenny Law doubled to center field. Meredith Crisante then ended the game with a home run to center field, sealing the 9-0 Liberty win. Strickland led the Lady Flames, batting 2-for-2 with six RBIs, while Crisante was 1-for-3 with two RBIs. Bensinger also recorded a multiple-hit game, batting 2-for-3 while driving in a run. Johnson picked up the win to improve to 11-5 on the year, while Pomeroy (5-8) took the loss, giving up three hits and three earned runs. The two teams are back in action for game two later this afternoon.