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Top-Seeded Coastal Carolina Rallies Past No. 6 Seed Liberty, 2-1
Top-seeded Coastal Carolina hit two solo home runs during the bottom of the fifth inning, downing No. 6 seed Liberty, 2-1, on Friday at Terry Field in an elimination game of the 2013 Big South Softball Championship.
Liberty head coach Paul Wetmore coached the last game of a successful 20-year career, as he is retiring following this campaign. The Lady Flames recorded 547 wins under Wetmore's direction, as he has coached every game in Liberty softball's NCAA Division I era (since 1994). He guided the Lady Flames to a pair of Big South postseason titles and three regular-season conference championships.
Coastal Carolina (36-21) advances to face No. 5 seed Winthrop in a conference semifinal game tomorrow at 11:30 a.m. The Lady Flames' season ends, as Liberty posted a 20-37 record.
Liberty outfielder Jill Stephens went 2-for-3 in her last collegiate game, while Hanna Nichols singled and scored and Blair Lawrence recorded an RBI single.
For Coastal Carolina, Morgan Noad and Jessie Winans both hit solo home runs, as two out of the Chanticleers' four hits left the park.
Kiana Quolas pitched a complete-game four-hitter, yielding one run while improving to 22-10 on the season.
Chandler Ball (9-18) allowed two runs on four hits while striking out five and walking three in 5 1/3 innings of work. Annah Jo Brittingham pitched the final 2/3 of an inning.
Stephens singled with one out in the top of the first. She then stole second, but was left on base when Amber Donovan grounded out. Ball then struck out the side during the Coastal half of the first stanza.
Ball and Quolas both pitched effectively early on, as both teams had just one hit through four innings. Cacia Pierre broke up Ball's no-hit bid with one out in the top of the fourth, but was thrown out by center fielder Katie Zavodny trying to take second on the play.
The Lady Flames broke the scoreless tie with a tally in the top of the fifth. Nichols hit an infield single as the leadoff batter, and went to second on a sacrifice bunt. Lawrence hit a two-out single just inside the first-base line, plating Nichols with the go-ahead run. Lawrence then stole second, but a groundout ended the rally.
Coastal quickly leveled the score at 1-1, as Noad opened the bottom of the fifth by lining a home run to right center. The Chanticleers took the lead on a two-out, opposite-field blast over the fence off the bat of Winans.
Stephens led off the top of the sixth with a single up the middle. Sammi Shivock then grounded into a close 6-3 double play. Winans made a running catch on a flare by Amber Donovan to end Liberty's sixth time at bat.
During the bottom of the sixth, Quolas drew a leadoff walk, and went to second on a sacrifice bunt by Kory Hayden. Brittingham then came on in relief of Ball. An error sent pinch runner Courtney Howell to third with two outs. Following a walk, Brittingham fanned Noad, bringing the Lady Flames up to bat.
Quolas retired the side in order during the bottom of the seventh inning to close out the victory for the Chanticleers.