Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Lady Flames smother Gardner-Webb

Liberty wins two straight games against the Runnin’ Bulldogs to begin new streak against conference foe

Producing runs— Shortsop Holly Seiz contributed at the plate during the three game series. Photo Credit: Katie Welch

After dropping game one 4-2 and ending an 11-game winning streak against the Gardner-Webb Runnin’ Bulldogs (7-27, 4-12 Big South), the Lady Flames (19-21, 8-8 Big South) clinched the series by winning two straight games.

Designated player Sammi Shivock led the Lady Flames, batting 6-9 and driving in six runs over the three-game series.

GW 4, LU 2
In the opening contest of the weekend, Liberty did not capitalize on opportunities. Despite 10 hits, the Lady Flames only brought home two runners, losing the game 4-2.

Liberty scored its first run to take an early lead in the third inning. With two outs, designated player Shivock drove the ball down the left-field line for an RBI double, sending sophomore Megan Robinson home to score.

“(I was) just thinking about getting to the bag,” Shivock said.
For the next three innings, Liberty could not produce any runs on
six hits.

“I really thought we were a little lethargic,” Head Coach Paul Wetmore said. “I didn’t think we were up on our game. We gave away, probably, a few innings at the plate where we didn’t swing the bat as well as I thought we
could have.”

Despite leading most of the game, Liberty faltered defensively down the stretch. A late-game rally by Gardner-Webb, which included four runs in the span of two innings, propelled the Runnin’ Bulldogs to a win.

In the sixth inning, senior Jordyn Arrowood batted a runner home with a single to left field for Gardner-Webb’s first run. The equalizer jump started the Runnin’ Bulldogs
comeback.

In the top of the final inning, Liberty made several mistakes in the field, allowing Gardner-Webb to take the lead. The Runnin’ Bulldogs exploited Liberty’s defense, scoring its second run on a passed ball.

Sophomore Savannah Burns then sent a hit deep to the right-center-field gap, pushing two runners past home base for two more Gardner-Webb tallies, extending the lead to 4-2.

“It came down to the end, and I told them early on that if you let them hang around long enough, they’re gonna find a way to get runs,” Wetmore said. “At that point, we just made a couple of defensive mistakes that really hurt us.”

The Lady Flames rallied in the bottom of the seventh. Senior center fielder Katie Zavodny added an infield hit, and redshirt junior Jill Stephens added a second hit in the inning for the Lady Flames. Shivock then singled to center field for her second hit and RBI of the day. However, Gardner-Webb sealed the game with a ground out.

“I was just happy that we got another run on the board because one is never enough,” Zavodny said.

LU 3, GW 1
The Liberty Lady Flames softball team defeated the Gardner-Webb Runnin’ Bulldogs 3-1 in the second game of a double header Friday,
April 12.

The Lady Flames jumped out to an early 1-0 lead after a two-out rally that was capped off with an RBI single by Kelby Allen.
In the bottom of the third, the Lady Flames added to their lead after a sacrifice fly by Shivock drove home center fielder Zavodny.

Contribute to the cause— Three Lady Flames had more than two hits in the 13-5 victory against the Runnin’ Bulldogs in game three. Photo Credit: Katie Welch

However, the Runnin’ Bulldogs responded in the top half of the fourth after an error by Liberty allowed them to draw within one run, making the
score 2-1.

The Lady Flames regained their two-run lead in the bottom half of the fifth after a double to the left-field gap by first baseman Hannah Nichols scored Stephens.

Lady Flames starting pitcher Chandler Ball threw the complete game, surrendering only one unearned run on six hits.

LU 13, GW 5
The weather was warm, but the bats were hot Saturday, April 13 as the Lady Flames lit up Gardner-Webb, 13-5. Shivock went 3-3 with a single, double and three-run home run on the day.

“I just went hard each at bat,” Shivock said
The Lady Flames began the offense after Gardner-Webb starter Ashley Rhyne loaded the bases with two walks and a single with just one out. Liberty took advantage as Kelby Allen hit a sacrifice fly to make the score 1-0.

Gardner-Webb quickly answered in the second, taking a 2-1 lead on two RBIs by Mariana Gallardo and Samantha
Meenaghan.

Liberty starting pitcher Annah Jo Brittingham gave up three runs on seven hits in three innings of work as Ball took over in the circle for Liberty.

The Lady Flames bats ignited in the fourth inning. With two runners on base, Blair Lawerence struck a two-run double into left field, tying the score at three. After a Zavodny single put runners on the corners, an RBI double by Stephens gave Liberty a 4-3 lead. Shivock also blasted a three-run home run over the scoreboard, making it 7-3.

“That (fourth inning) was huge,” Wetmore said. “We did a little bit of everything — suicide squeeze, the long ball — it really exploded our offense. It really got us going in the right direction.”

The Runnin’ Bulldogs brought themselves back within two runs when Mennagham hit a two-run home run into left field, making it 7-5 in the top of the sixth inning.

“I told them this is their last chance to bat, so I wanted them to bat around,” Wetmore said.
In the sixth inning, the Lady Flames capped off the game with another six runs, highlighted by a three-run home run by Donovan.

The Lady Flames will travel to face the James Madison Dukes
Wednesday, April 17.

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