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Nichols Hits Walk-Off Single, Lady Flames Down PC, 5-4, in 9 Innings
The Liberty softball team posted its fourth walk-off win of the season when Hanna Nichols recorded an RBI single in the ninth inning to give the Lady Flames a 5-4 win over visiting Presbyterian College, Friday at Liberty Softball Field.
The Lady Flames level their record at 12-12, 1-1 in Big South play after winning their conference home opener for the first time since 2010. Presbyterian College drops its Big South opener, falling to 14-13 overall on the campaign.
The game had a chance at being much more high-scoring, as PC stranded 13 runners and Liberty left 10 on base.
Nichols went 3-for-5, while Kelby Allen batted 2-for-5 with a double, a homer and three RBIs. Amber Donovan hit a homer in the first inning, while Kassidy McCoy hit 2-for-4. Katie Zavodny singled and tied her career high with three stolen bases, stretching her hitting streak to 16 games.
Ball (5-6) pitched the final 7 2/3 innings in relief, allowing just one run while scattering 10 hits. Liberty starter Kenzie Friesen gave up three runs, one earned, on one hit, while walking three in 1 1/3 innings of work.
Loudermelk (8-7) yielded five runs on nine hits, striking out six batters during her complete game for Presbyterian College.
Erin Ruff batted 3-for-4 for the Blue Hose, while Cat Tarvin and Shelby Petik both recorded two hits.
Presbyterian College scored once in the first inning, when Tera Powell walked as the leadoff batter and later scored on a wild pitch by Friesen.
The Lady Flames jumped ahead with a four-run outburst in the bottom of the first. Donovan hit a solo home run to tie the game. After a walk to Sammi Shivock and a McCoy single, Allen slammed a three-run homer to right center, good for a 4-1 Lady Flames lead.
The Blue Hose pulled to within one in the top of the second. With two on and one out, Ball came on in relief of Friesen. The next batter, Morgan Durham, reached on an error. McLean and Ruff both registered RBI singles, making it 4-3, but Ball struck out Tarvin with the bases full.
PC loaded the bases again with one out in the third inning, on a walk and a pair of singles. Ball got Durham to fly out, and Tera Powell grounded out for the third out.
Following a three-batter Liberty third, PC tied it in the top of the fourth. Ruff and Tarvin both singled with one out. After a fielder's choice, Ruff scored on a wild pitch, evening the score at 4-4.
Liberty threatened in the bottom of the fourth when Nichols led off with a double. A groundout moved pinch runner Blair Lawrence to third, but Lawrence was later thrown out at the plate on a fielder's choice. A flyout by Shivock ended the stanza.
In the bottom of the sixth, Zavodny singled, and then stole second with two outs. After advancing to third on a wild pitch, Zavodny was left on base when Shivock grounded out.
After a scoreless seventh, the game went to extra innings. Powell hit a one-out single in the top of the eighth, and went to third when Courtney Lawton reached on an error. Ruff flied out with runners on second and third to end the Blue Hose's scoring chance.
Consecutive singles by Petik and Jennifer Marshall put runners on first and second with two outs in the PC half of the ninth, before Ball got Erin Taylor to pop out, quelling the rally.
McCoy drew a one-out walk to begin Liberty's ninth-inning rally. After Allen reached on a fielder's choice, the catcher went to second on a wild pitch and got to third on a passed ball. Nordan then walked, bringing up Nichols, who lined a single to left center, plating Allen with the winning run.