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7th-Inning Rally Propels Gardner-Webb Past Liberty, 6-5
Liberty hit three home runs on Friday, tying the game at 5-5, before Gardner-Webb scored once in the seventh, claiming game one of a twin bill, 6-5, at Liberty Softball Field.
With the win, Gardner-Webb snaps an eight-game losing skid, improving to 12-19, 2-11 in Big South play. The Lady Flames fall to 6-35, 1-15 in conference action, with their eighth straight setback.
For Gardner-Webb, Megan Gibbons batted 3-for-4 with a double and two runs scored, while Kellie Beres and Jessica Childers both went 2-for-4. Childers drove in two runs, while Beres scored twice.
Liberty's Marybeth Sciolino went 3-for-3, good for her first career three-hit game. Grace Nordan batted 2-for-4 with a homer, while Kelby Allen and Katie Zavodny hit one round-trippper apiece.
Ashley Rhyne (4-12) picked up the win, with 1 2/3 innings of no-hit relief. Gardner-Webb starter Childers allowed five runs on eight hits in 5 1/3 innings of work.
Alyssa DiMartino (3-13) drew the loss, allowing six runs (three earned) on 11 hits, as Liberty committed five errors. The senior struck out a season-high four Runnin' Bulldogs.
Gardner-Webb jumped ahead with two first-inning tallies, on RBI singles from Megan Champion and Childers. The Runnin' Bulldogs left the bases loaded, as DiMartino got the final two batters to strike out and ground out.
Liberty threatened in the bottom of the first, as two walks and a fielder's choice filled the bases. Holly Seiz then flied to center with two outs, ending the rally.
The Runnin' Bulldogs extended their lead to three in the second inning. Taylar Pridgen reached on an error, and later scored on a throwing error during a double steal play.
Liberty got on the scoreboard during its second time up. Nordan singled to center, and took second on an error. Sciolino then plated Nordan with a single, making it 3-1.
A pair of scoreless innings ensued, in the third and fourth, with Liberty leaving three on base and Gardner-Webb stranding just one over the two innings.
Gardner-Webb tacked on two runs in the top of the fifth. Beres reached on an error to lead off, and stole second. She later scored on a one-out single by Gibbons. An error on a fielder's choice kept the inning alive, leading to a bases-loaded RBI single by Jill Blank. DiMartino got out of the inning with a Pridgen groundout, but not before the visitors took a 5-1 lead.
Liberty drew within 5-2 on a one-out solo shot to left center by Allen during the bottom of the fifth.
DiMartino then pitched a 1-2-3 top of the sixth inning, keeping the deficit at three.
The Lady Flames knotted the game up by posting a three in the scoring column during the sixth stanza. Nordan homered with one out, her first longball of the season. Sciolino followed with a single, and then Zavodny lined a home run to center, her first hit to clear the fence in her career, tying the game at 5-all. Rhyne came on to get the final two outs of the inning.
Gibbons hit a leadoff single to start the seventh, and went to second on a wild pitch. Childers then cashed in on the opportunity, driving in Gibbons with a single for a 6-5 Runnin' Bulldogs lead. The game then went to the bottom of the final inning as a one-run contest.
Nichols walked to begin Liberty's final time at bat. Seiz sent her to second with a sacrifice bunt. Rhyne then got McCoy on a popout and fanned Nordan to seal the 6-5 victory.