Softball sweeps on senior day

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Tommy Withers

Following the sweep of Coastal Carolina over the weekend, the Highlanders opened up their week on the road against the No. 6 team in the nation, the University of Tennessee. After giving up a leadoff single to senior Kristen Shifflett, the Vols’ starting pitcher settled down and struck out the side.

Freshman Stephanie Dameron started the game on the mound for the Highs and pitched three innings of four-run ball. The lack of hits was the story throughout the game, with Radford University scattering just four and only scoring one run.
Shifflett went 2-for-3, extending her hit-streak to 11 and junior Vicki Madden picked up the lone RBI for RU as they went on to lose the game 9-1.

The Highs brought their brooms with them for the weekend series against Winthrop University, sweeping the three-game series and not allowing a single run.
Sophomore Jackie Jenkins got the start in Friday’s Big South opener and she stayed red-hot, earning another shutout.

Senior Taylor Cunningham scored the opening run of the game for RU after senior Shannon Keefe’s RBI single to right field. The Highs went on to score six runs in the final three innings, largely due to multiple errors by Winthrop, and won the game 7-0.
The top of the order came through for RU with seven hits and six RBI between the first five batters.

Saturday’s games were special for the Highs in many different ways. The team celebrated senior day recognizing their six graduating seniors before the game. The team really came to play on senior day, opening up the game with a quick 3-0 lead in the first. Along with a hot offense, Dameron earned a complete game shutout victory, allowing just four hits and striking out five.

The Highs put together an offensive attack bouyed by junior Michelle Beall, who led the team with two RBI in the first game.

In the second game, Jenkins once again got the start, and was on track for her third straight shutout before being lifted in the sixth.

Senior Kellie Snooks and senior Chelsea Kelley finished the game from there, splitting the final two innings, and allowing no hits, one walk and one strikeout.

Jenkins pushed her win total to 15 for the year and dropped her earned run average down to a stunning 1.08. She threw 61 pitches in her outing, 42 of them for strikes.

Junior Hannah Ojeda and senior Lauren Williams led the way offensively for RU, both going 2-for-3 with two RBI.

Along with Williams, Shifflett tripled to extend her hitting streak to 14 games and scored a run.

Junior Nichole Beall also added an RBI when she scored Shifflett with a single up the middle in the first inning.

The Highs’ pitching staff and defense have gone 34.2 innings without allowing a run in league play. Their last earned run was in the first inning of a game against Coastal Carolina last weekend.

RU’s convincing wins Saturday gave Head Coach Mickey Dean his 200th win as a High.

Coach Dean and his sizzling Highs have two more games left on their homestand this week.

The University of Virginia is coming to town for a doubleheader Wednesday, April 27 at 4 p.m. and Liberty University will be returning Thursday, April 28 to resume a previously rained out game at 6 p.m. at the RU Softball Field.