Virginia Tech pulled ahead of Liberty with a two-run rally in the sixth, earning a doubleheader split by taking game two, 3-2, on Tuesday at Liberty Softball Stadium.
The Hokies (17-28) ended a four-game losing streak. Liberty (32-17) saw its program-record 13-game winning streak snapped, as the Lady Flames outscored opponents, 80-6, during that time frame. This is the third year in a row that these two teams have split the season series.
Breanna Davenport batted 2-for-3 with one RBI, while Lauren Duff went 1-for-2 with two RBI for the Hokies. Vanessa Gonzalez scored twice.
Tori Zavodny went 2-for-4, while Alexia Taylor batted 1-for-3 to extend her hitting streak to 12 games. Sarah Robertson drove in one run and scored once.
Taylor Barnes (5-9) earned the win, allowing two runs on six hits, walking four and striking out two in five innings. Carrie Eberle picked up her first save of the season, pitching two innings of no-hit relief.
Julia DiMartino (14-7), starting for the second game in a row, allowed three runs on three hits, walking one and striking out two in five innings. DiMartino saw a personal 48-inning shutout streak end. Kenzie Friesen gave up two hits and struck out one in two innings of relief.
Liberty nearly went ahead in the bottom of the first. Amber Bishop reached on a fielder's choice and went to second on a groundout. Alexia Taylor sent a grounder up the middle that second baseman Olivia Lattin made a diving stop on, throwing to first for the third out.
DiMartino did not allow a baserunner until issuing a one-out walk to Gonzalez in the fourth. Davenport then singled on the infield. With two outs, Duff sent a single to left, and Gonzalez beat the tag of catcher Kaitlin McFarland for a 1-0 Virginia Tech lead.
The Lady Flames tied the game and threatened for more in the bottom of the fourth. After a walk to Robertson and a single by Taylor, See hit single, scoring Robertson from second on a close play. Taylor was thrown out at third on the play. Kayla Harris walked before Taylor Hoffman bunted for a single to load the bases. Barnes got out of trouble, getting McFarland to ground into an inning-ending double play.
The hosts went ahead in the bottom of the fifth. Jasmeen Click and Zavodny led off with back-to-back singles. Bishop then flied out to right, sending Click to third. Robertson then executed a squeeze play, scoring Click to go ahead 2-1. However, Robertson was thrown out on the play. The inning ended with a fielder's choice grounder by See.
Lattin led off the sixth with a single to left, going to second on an error. DiMartino then hit Gonzalez with a pitch. Friesen came on in relief of DiMartino. After a wild pitch, Davenport sent a game-tying RBI single to right. With Gonzalez on third and one out, Duff plated the go-ahead run with a squeeze bunt. The Lady Flames got out of the inning with a strikeout, pickoff double play.
After a leadoff walk to Harris in the bottom of the sixth, Eberle relieved Barnes in the circle. A sacrifice bunt sent pinch runner Cassie Gingerich to second and a groundout moved her to third. Click then walked before Zavodny lined out to end the rally.
Virginia Tech nearly added to its lead in the top of the seventh. With runners on first and third and two outs, Gonzalez sent a sinking liner that Click dove to make the catch on in left center, keeping the score at 3-2.
Eberle pitched a 1-2-3 seventh, wrapping up the save.
The Lady Flames return to conference play for the final six games. They will play at Winthrop for a three-game series, Friday and Saturday. Liberty and Winthrop will play a single game on Friday at 7 p.m. before contesting a doubleheader, Saturday at 2 p.m.