Liberty Softball beats Radford 4-2, advances to Big South title game
RADFORD, Va. (WSET) - The LU softball team survived two tough challenges in the Big South Tournament Friday, one from Radford, the other Mother Nature.
Friday's semifinal between Radford and Liberty felt like a doubleheader, or some sort of 'tale of two games'. Liberty came out stiff in the first half, but a four hour rain delay and some big hits have propelled the Flames into Saturday's championship game.
Dot Richardson, LIBERTY FLAMES HEAD COACH, said "Yeah, I think the break was actually good for us. This team's fun to watch. And great competition, you've still got seed 1,2 and 3 in the ballgame."
The 3-seed Radford had the Flames on the ropes early, Gretna's Brianna Mills knocked in a run en route to a 2-0 lead, while Highlander pitching didn't allow a hit. That is, until, the rain moved in.
After kicking up their heels, the Flames fought back.
Autumn Bishop crushed a 3-2 offering to dead center field in the 5th, giving Liberty their first lead of the game at 3-2. They'd get insurance in the 6th. Kaitlin McFarland blasted this shot off the building over the left field fence.
Julia DiMartino with 4 shutout innings in relief in the wild 4-2 win, which left some overcome with emotion.
Autumn Bishop, 3-RUN HR IN 5TH FOR LIBERTY, said "Knowing that my dad wasn't there in the stands, but that he's up 'there' watching me. It's crazy how much I love this team, and I couldn't be here without them."
With the win, Liberty moves into Saturday's championship game. The Flames are looking for their first Big South Championship since 2011.
Radford advanced to face Liberty in Saturday's championship game, the Highlanders outlasted defending tournament champion Longwood 3-2 in a 12-inning marathon.
Radford, with a loss to Liberty earlier in the day Friday, now must beat the Flames twice to claim the title.
Liberty, as the only undefeated team in the tournament, needs to beat the Highlanders only once to win the championship.