On an unusually warm Tuesday afternoon at Palmer Park, the Cavaliers faced a talented Liberty team. Virginia (11-19, 7-14 ACC) was coming off of its first ACC series win at Palmer Park against Boston College this past weekend and was looking to earn another win. Liberty (23-12, 4-2 ASUN) was coming off a conference series loss and hoping to get back in the win column.
The Flames wasted no time getting to work. In the first inning, senior second basemen Amber Bishop-Riley got a double out to centerfield. Sophomore center fielder Kara Canetto was up to bat next and ripped the ball down the right field line, earning herself a triple and an RBI. A single would bring Canetto home and give the Flames the 2-0 after their first at bat.
Bishop-Riley and Canetto both continued to help their team offensively throughout the rest of the game. Bishop-Riley had two hits and three RBIs. Canetto had the inverse — three hits and two RBIs.
After a quiet second inning, both teams scored some runs in the third inning. Senior first baseman Autumn Bishop — twin sister to Bishop-Riley — kicked off the inning with a double and was able to advance to third on a missed ball by junior catcher Donna Freedman. Following a hit batter and a groundout that allowed the runner to advance to second, sophomore infielder Denay Griffin got a double that allowed both runs to go home. The Flames were up 4-0.
Virginia took advantage of two walks and a bunt that allowed two runners to advance to second and third. A single by freshman third basemen Abby Weaver allowed one run to score. Later in the inning, the Cavaliers had bases loaded but were unable to capitalize.
Things got out of hand for Virginia in the top of the sixth inning. Going into the frame, Liberty was winning, but the Cavalier offense looked promising. It started off with a single, followed by a bunt in which everyone was safe. The next batter was hit, meaning bases were loaded as Bishop-Riley stepped to the plate. She got a triple, clearing the bases. Canetto got a single which allowed Bishop-Riley to run home. By the time Virginia got the final out of the inning, the Flames had scored five runs, making the score 12-3.
How were the Flames able to finish the game with a combined 11 hits? Simply put, Virginia’s pitching struggled. The Cavaliers tried four different pitchers in the six innings that were played, and none of them were able to stop the red-hot Liberty offense.
The Cavaliers have a couple days to rest their arms before resuming conference play. This weekend, Virginia will travel to face North Carolina in a four-game series starting Friday afternoon at 4 p.m.