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Nine Hits Lift Liberty over Virginia

March 24, 2010  Charlottesville, Va.  RSS
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Keely McMillon drove in two runs as the Lady Flames defeated Virginia, 6-4.

Keely McMillon drove in two runs as the Lady Flames defeated Virginia, 6-4.

Liberty outhit Virginia, 8-5, and picked up a 6-4 win in Game 2 of a doubleheader, Wednesday afternoon, in Charlottesville, Va., forcing a spilt on the afternoon's twinbill action.

After recording only three hits in the Game 1 loss, the Lady Flames' bats lit up early in the second game, as Liberty scored three runs on three hits and one Virginia error in the top of the second inning.

With one out, Kaylee West singled up the middle, followed by a Danielle Howard walk. Both runners advanced when Keely McMillon grounded out to second, and with two outs, Cassie Hendrix reached on a fielding error by the shortstop, allowing West to score and Howard to move to third.

That brought up leadoff batter J'nae Jefferson, who doubled to right center, bringing in Howard for another run. Law followed up with an RBI infield single to give the Lady Flames the early 3-0 cushion.

Liberty continued the offensive surge in the top of the third, scoring two more runs on three hits. Kelly Strickland doubled to right center, and moved to third on a bunt single by Amber DePasquale. After DePasquale stole second, McMillon ripped a two-out single to bring in two more runs, and the Lady Flames extended their lead to 5-0.

The Cavaliers plated two runs in the bottom of the fifth. Clara Kendall led off with a single to center field and then stole second. Alison Pittman followed up with a bunt single, moving Kendall to third. After Pittman stole second, pinch hitter Kennedy Byxbee drew a one-out walk, and Kendall scored on a passed ball as the other runners advanced.

Giannina Cipolloni then grounded out to second, driving in another run to trim Liberty's lead back to three runs, 5-2.

After a scoreless Lady Flames at-bat, Virginia added two more runs to come within one.

However, Strickland gave her team a greater advantage by ripping a solo homer to right center, marking her second consecutive game with a homer and bringing her season and team-leading total to nine.

The Liberty defense shut down the Cavaliers in the bottom of the seventh, sealing the 6-4 victory.

Seven Lady Flames recorded hits in the contest, and Liberty was led by Strickland, who was 2-for-4 with one RBI, while McMillon went 1-for-3 at the plate with two RBIs.

Virginia was led by Kendall, who was 2-for-3 with two RBIs.

Tiffani Smith picked up the win in the circle, improving to 8-3 on the year. She threw six complete innings, giving up four hits and striking out six batters. Katie Warrington made a one-inning appearance in relief, giving up only one hit and fanning two batters in the sixth.

Nicole Koren suffered the loss, dropping to 4-3 after giving up seven hits and striking out one Liberty batter.

With the win, the Lady Flames improve to 15-9 on the year after Liberty has won two of its last three games. The second game loss for the Cavaliers, who are coming off a stunning 2-1 victory over No. 2 Arizona this past weekend, drops Virginia to 15-13 on the season.

The victory marked Liberty's fifth over Virginia in the 26-game series between the two programs since the Lady Flames made the jump to the Division I level in 1994. The last time Liberty beat the Cavaliers was in 2008, when the Lady Flames swept a doubleheader at home on April 9.

Liberty has a break before resuming Big South Conference play at home next week, hosting Winthrop in a three-game series April 2 and 3 at Liberty Softball Field.