Apr 13, 2010

Smith pitches Lady Flames to victory

by Ryan Carr

After splitting a double header on Friday, the Lady Flames came out determined to win the final game of their weekend series with conference rival Charleston Southern on Saturday. Junior pitcher Tiffani Smith, who struck out nine Buccaneers to help secure a 5-1 victory pitching in relief, led the Lady Flames.

“We had to pull out a victory today and we just went out there and played hard like we knew we could. It was a new day and we only had one game to play so we just left it all out on the field,” said Smith.

Liberty got on the board first in the top of the first inning with a single by junior Ashley Bensinger that scored senior J’nae Jefferson. Erin Kegley tied the game for Charleston Southern by driving in a run with a double. The Lady Flames added three runs in the fourth inning to take the lead and never look back.

Sophomore Jenny Law drove in two runs with a single after sophomore Meredith Baisden scored on a wild pitch to give Liberty a 4-1 lead. Baisden scored again in the fifth inning from a single by junior Cassie Hendrix to cap off the scoring for the Lady Flames. Charleston Southern only managed one run on three hits from the Lady Flames.

“(Smith) came in and in five and a third innings she had nine strikeouts, gave up no hits and was just in complete command of the game the whole way. They did absolutely nothing with her. That’s what we needed her to come in and just shut them right down, she did a great job,” Head Coach Paul Wetmore said.

On Friday, Liberty started off the series right with a convincing shut out win over the Buccaneers in the first game of the doubleheader. Smith picked up her first of two victories on the weekend by a score of 3-0. Smith struck out 10 Buccaneers and only surrendered two hits and two walks in the contest.

With a 1-0 lead in the seventh inning the Lady Flames added some insurance after sophomore Jenny Law singled to score a run. A second run crossed the plate after a throwing error by the right fielder.

Charleston Southern picked up their only win of the weekend on Friday in the second game of the doubleheader with a 5-4 defeat of the Lady Flames. Megan Hall tripled in the third inning to score three runs and give the Buccaneers an early 3-2 lead led the Buccaneers. Charleston Southern added another run later in the inning to extend the lead to 4-2.

In the top of the fourth, Lady Flames sophomore Kaylee West hit a solo home run to cut the lead to one run. Liberty tied the game up in the top of the sixth with a single by sophomore Bridgett Woods that scored junior Amber DePasquale from third base. In the final inning Charleston Southern scored the winning run with two outs after Kegley grounded a ball to third that hit off the glove of Woods.

Earlier in the week the Lady Flames played host to UNC Greensboro in a doubleheader. The Spartans looked primed to run away with the game after taking a 5-0 lead in the fourth inning but the Lady Flames quickly responded the next inning. In the bottom of the fifth Law smacked a double with the bases loaded to score two runs. Bensinger walked to load the bases back up for Liberty.

With one out sophomore Kelly Strickland knocked her first career grand slam out of the park for her tenth home run of the season to give the Lady Flames a 6-5 lead.

“The only thing I could try to think of was base hit, base hit and then there it went,” said Strickland.

The Spartans tied the game in the seventh inning after Smith walked a batter with the bases loaded to send the game into extra innings.

Each team plated a run in the eighth inning to keep the score knotted up at seven. In the top of the ninth inning the Spartans again jumped out to large lead with a grand slam of their own from Katie Stripling. The Lady Flames however did not go down quietly.

Trailing 11-7, Bensinger singled to score Jefferson from third to bring the Lady Flames closer. With two outs DePasquale hit a two run homer to bring Liberty within a run of the Spartans. The Lady Flames were unable to continue the rally and dropped the opening game by a final of 11-10.

Contact Ryan Carr at rmcarr2@liberty.edu.

Printable Version

» Men’s Hockey splits opening weekend series
» There’s no place like home
» Four minutes with Pat
» Flames volleyball dethrones Dukes
» Are athletes or reporters to blame?
» Men’s Soccer misfires in consecutive losses