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Lady Flames Fall on Senior Day to Runnin' Bulldogs, 5-3
A three-run home run by Gardner-Webb's Samantha Meenaghan proved to be the difference, as the Runnin' Bulldogs defeated Liberty, 5-3, on Saturday at Liberty Softball Field.
Prior to Saturday's game, Liberty honored its five seniors – Alyssa DiMartino, Grace Nordan, Marybeth Sciolino, Sammi Shivock and Katie Zavodny – with a brief ceremony. All five seniors appeared in the starting lineup for today's game.
Gardner-Webb improves to 14-29, 4-11 in Big South action after sweeping the Lady Flames this weekend. Liberty is now 6-37, with a 1-17 league mark after sustaining its 10th straight setback.
Jessica Childers (8-16) earned the win, allowing three runs, two earned, on six hits in a complete-game effort. Childers walked four and struck out two.
DiMartino (3-14) went the distance for the Lady Flames, giving up five runs on eight hits while walking three.
Meenaghan went 2-for-3 with a home run and three RBIs to lead the Runnin' Bulldogs' offense. Kellie Beres batted 2-for-3, while Childers recorded a double.
Megan Robinson batted 2-for-2, drawing two walks and scoring once. Hanna Nichols went 2-for-4 with a double and two RBIs, while Blair Lawrence went 1-for-3 with a stolen base and two runs scored.
The Lady Flames took an early lead, scoring two runs during their first time at bat. Lawrence and Robinson both walked, and Nichols hit a two-out, two-run double for a 2-0 Liberty advantage. After a walk to Kassidy McCoy, Shivock flied to left for the third out.
Gardner-Webb sliced the deficit in half during the top of the second. Childers hit a leadoff double, and went to third on a wild pitch. She then scored on an RBI groundout by Jill Blank. DiMartino got Taylar Pridgen to ground to short, ending the threat.
The Runnin' Bulldogs manufactured a run to tie the score at 2-2 in the third stanza. Meenaghan led off with an infield single, and went to second on a sacrifice bunt. She then went to third via a wild pitch, and scored when Megan Champion hit a sacrifice fly.
Childers worked around a one-out double by Robinson, keeping the game tied through three frames.
Back-to-back one-out singles by Scarlett Harris and Blank gave Gardner-Webb two baserunners during the fourth. After Blank was erased due to runner's interference, Meenaghan untied the score with a three-run shot to right center, making it 5-2, Runnin' Bulldogs.
Liberty rallied with two outs in the bottom of the fifth, as Lawrence doubled to the gap in left center. Robinson followed with an infield single, and Lawrence scored on an errant throw to first. A Kelby Allen flyout sent the game to the sixth with the guests still ahead by three.
After Gardner-Webb stranded two in the top of the sixth, Liberty earned an excellent scoring chance during its sixth time up. Nichols and McCoy hit consecutive singles, and Childers hit Shivock with a pitch, loading the bases with nobody out. Gardner-Webb retired two runners at the plate on back-to-back fielders' choices, and Zavodny flied to right, leaving three on base.
DiMartino pitched a 1-2-3 seventh, bringing the Lady Flames up for the final time.
Robinson drew a one-out walk in the bottom of the seventh, but Childers escaped with the win, getting Allen to pop out and Nichols to fly out to center.
The Lady Flames next compete at ACC opponent Virginia Tech in a doubleheader on Wednesday. The first game of Wednesday's twin bill is scheduled to begin at 5 p.m. at Tech Softball Park.