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Late Rally Gives Liberty 8-6 Win, Series Sweep of Blue Hose
Liberty used a four-run fifth inning to earn an 8-6, come-from-behind victory over Presbyterian College on Saturday at Liberty Softball Field.
With the win, Liberty (14-12, 3-1) swept the Blue Hose during the weekend series. The Lady Flames have now opened the Big South schedule at 3-1 for the second year in a row. Presbyterian College is now 14-15, falling to 0-3 in conference play.
Hanna Nichols hit a key two-run homer and scored two runs. Katie Zavodny went 2-for-4 with two runs scored, and has now hit safely in 18 straight games. Kelby Allen batted 2-for-3, hit two doubles and drove in a run. Amber Donovan batted 1-for-3 with two RBIs.
PC registered 11 hits, including four that cleared the fence. Cat Tarvin batted 3-for-4 and hit a home run, while Shelby Petik (2-for-4) hit two round trippers. Kirby Legacki added a four-bagger for the Blue Hose.
Annah Jo Brittingham earned the victory, improving her record to 6-3 on the season. The freshman allowed three runs on six hits in five innings of relief, while striking out a career-high six batters. Liberty starter Chandler Ball yielded three runs on five hits in two innings pitched.
Kelsey Barnette (1-2) drew the loss for the Blue Hose, allowing six runs (one earned) on six hits in 1 2/3 innings of relief after starter Kensley Lowdermelk gave up two runs during the first three innings.
Presbyterian College took an early lead in the top of the second. Petik hit a solo homer with one out. After a walk to Alyssa Goodin, Erin Ruff hit an RBI double, good for a 2-0 PC advantage.
The Blue Hose added a tally in the top of the third when Tarvin lined a leadoff, opposite-field homer.
The Lady Flames staged a two-out rally to score a pair of runs in the bottom of the third inning. Lawrence walked, and then went to third on a Zavodny single, which allowed Zavodny to advance to second. Donovan then hit a two-run single, bringing the Lady Flames to within one.
Liberty took the lead for the first time in the bottom of the fourth. Allen hit a double with one out, and Nichols followed with a walk. Holly Seiz then singled to load the bases. Megan Robinson then reached on a fielder's choice, as an error by the catcher allowed Allen to score. Jill Stephens gave Liberty a 4-3 lead with a sacrifice fly, but Barnette was able to get out of the jam.
PC battled back in the top of the fifth inning. Tarvin led off by singling to right field. Legacki hit a one-out homer, putting the Blue Hose back ahead, 5-4.
The Lady Flames responded during their fifth time at bat. After a single by Zavodny and an error by the PC shortstop, McCoy hit an RBI single to right center, tying the score. Allen then hit a double, plating Sammi Shivock with the go-ahead run. With one on and two out, Nichols went deep with a two-run shot over the right field fence. Nichols' fourth homer of the season extended Liberty's lead to 8-5.
A pair of singles and a walk loaded the bases for Presbyterian College with two outs in the sixth inning. Legacki then flied out to left, bringing the inning to a close.
PC made one last comeback attempt in the seventh stanza, as Petik hit her second homer of the game, and eighth of the season, making the score 8-6 with one out. Brittingham got the next two batters out, sealing the 8-6 victory.
The Lady Flames will next head to Buies Creek, N.C., for a three-game set at conference foe Campbell, next Friday and Saturday. Friday's doubleheader between the Lady Flames and Camels is scheduled to begin at 4 p.m., and the two teams will play a single game on Saturday at noon.