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UNCG Edges Liberty, 8-5, in Extra Innings
The visiting UNCG Spartans earned a split of Wednesday's doubleheader, coming from behind to win game two over Liberty, 8-5, in eight innings.
With the win, the Spartans improve to 15-18 on the season, while the Lady Flames are now 6-28. In two games on Wednesday, the teams combined for 37 runs and 39 base hits. During game two, UNCG left 13 runners on base, compared to one runner stranded by Liberty.
UNCG's Danielle Vega and Kendall McKinney both went 2-for-5 with a homer and three RBIs, and McKinney added a double. Nicole Thomas batted 3-for-4, while Dominique Madruga went 2-for-3, doubled and scored two runs.
Katie Zavodny batted 3-for-4 with a triple, a stolen base, two runs scored and one RBI for Liberty. Kenly Allen hit a home run, her fourth of the season, and drove in three runs. Blair Lawrence stole two bases and scored one run.
Lacey Leary (4-2) tossed a complete game, giving up five runs on six hits and striking out three batters.
Annah Jo Brittingham (2-17) drew the loss, allowing six runs on seven hits while walking out five in 5 2/3 innings of work. Alyssa DiMartino gave up two runs on three hits, making multiple different appearances in the circle.
As was the case in game one, the Spartans scored once in the first inning during the nightcap. Madruga hit a one-out double, and scored on a single by Katelyn Bedwell. A single and a walk gave UNCG a bases-loaded situation, but McKinney popped out, keeping the score at 1-0.
The Lady Flames jumped into the lead, 2-1, in the bottom of the first, as Zavodny hit a leadoff single, before Allen went deep with a two-run bomb to right center with one out.
Brittingham kept the Spartans off the board in the second, third and fourth innings, allowing Liberty space to build onto its lead.
Liberty tacked on two third-inning tallies, boosting its advantage to 4-1. Lawrence reached on an error, and stole second and third, before scoring on a throwing error. Zavodny then singled on the infield, and swiped second. After a Megan Robinson single, Zavodny scored when Allen grounded out to the shortstop.
UNCG tied up the game by posting a three-run fifth inning. With runners on second and third and two outs, Vega hit a game-tying homer over the fence in center. The next two batters recorded base hits, and DiMartino then came on in relief of Brittingham to get the final out.
Leary set down the Lady Flames in order in each inning from the fourth through the seventh, retiring 13 Liberty batters in order. During UNCG's sixth and seventh times at bat, the Spartans stranded a total of five runners.
In the top of the seventh, the visitors loaded the bases with one out. Brittingham then relieved DiMartino, who went to third base. The sophomore right-hander got out of the inning with two grounders.
After Liberty went 1-2-3 in the bottom of the seventh, the game headed to the eighth inning, the Lady Flames' second extra-inning game this season.
UNCG opened the eighth with a Madruga single and a walk by Bedwell. Brittingham then got Lindsay Thomas to pop out, before DiMartino came back into the pitcher's circle from right field. The senior got Vega to fly out, before a hot shot by Nicole Thomas to third sent a run home. McKinney then hit a three-run homer, giving the guests insurance runs and an 8-4 lead.
Brittingham singled to open the eighth for the Lady Flames, and scored on an RBI triple by Zavodny. Leary got the next two batters to ground out and fly out, securing the 8-5 win for the Spartans.
The Lady Flames head to the road for the next six games, beginning with a weekend series at Big South-leading Coastal Carolina, Saturday and Sunday. Saturday's first game will begin at 1 p.m., and will be aired live on ESPN3.com.