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Big 4th Inning Sends WKU to 9-1 Win Over Liberty

February 7, 2014
|  Fort Myers, Fla.
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Katie Zavodny went 1-for-3 against Western Kentucky, and recorded her program-record-tying 80th career stolen base. (Photo by Keely McMillon)

Liberty opened the Dot Richardson Era on Friday against Western Kentucky at the FGCU/Four Points by Sheraton Invitational. The Lady Toppers used a seven-run fourth inning on the way to a 9-1, six-inning victory over the Lady Flames.

Western Kentucky (1-0) took advantage of five Liberty (0-1) errors, scoring eight unearned runs. The Lady Toppers outhit the Lady Flames, 8-4.

Katie Zavodny went 1-for-3, and stole her program-record-tying 80th career stolen base, matching the record held by Stacy Radulovich (1996-99). Grace Nordan singled and scored, while Kelby Allen doubled and Jamie Crisp recorded her first career RBI.

Olivia Watkins batted 2-for-3 with a triple and two runs scored for Western Kentucky. Amanda Thomas homered and drove in three runs, while India Steward hit an RBI triple.

DiMartino, making her second career opening-day start (also 2012), drew the loss, allowing six unearned runs on six hits in 3 2/3 innings. Chandler Ball pitched the final two innings, giving up three runs, one earned, on two hits.

WKU's Emily Rousseau, the 2013 Sun Belt Pitcher of the Year, pitched four innings of two-hit ball for the win, before Janna Scheff finished the final two innings while allowing one run on two hits.

The Lady Toppers got on the board in bottom of the first inning. Watkins led off with a triple to center. DiMartino followed by getting two outs, before walking Kelsie Mattox. Thomas reached on an error, plating Watkins with WKU's first run, before DiMartino fanned McGill to close the frame.

Holly Seiz hit a leadoff single during the second. Two quick outs ensued, and Seiz was thrown out attempting to steal, sending the game to the bottom of the second with a 1-0 score.

Zavodny reached on an error to open the fourth inning. She then swiped second with one out, tying Liberty's career record. Seiz sent a sinking liner to right, but Shawna Sadler saved a run by making a shoestring catch for the third out.

Western Kentucky broke the game open in the fourth. India Steward came through with a two-out RBI triple, and scored on a throwing error. A two-run single to right by Preslie Cruse plated WKU's fourth and fifth runs. Ball then entered in relief of DiMartino. Following an illegal pitch, Thomas hit a two-run homer for an 8-0 advantage.

The Lady Flames greeted relief pitcher Scheff with back-to-back hits, as Nordan singled and Allen doubled. Crisp drove in a run with a fielder's choice grounder to second. Scheff recorded the final two outs, holding an 8-1 lead.

With two outs in the bottom of the sixth, Jacqueline McGill brought the game to an end with an RBI single.

The Lady Flames will next face Georgetown at approximately 12:15 p.m., in game two of the FGCU/Four Points by Sheraton Invitational.