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Lady Flames Rally Late, Fall at CSU, 6-4
The Liberty softball team opened a three-game weekend series at Charleston Southern on Saturday, with the host Buccaneers downing the Lady Flames, 6-4 during game one of a twin bill at CSU Softball Field.
With the win, Charleston Southern improves to 8-32 on the season, including a 1-11 mark in conference play. Liberty's record stands at 15-17, 4-6 in Big South contests, going into the second game of Saturday's doubleheader.
The Buccaneers recorded three home runs, while the Lady Flames countered with two round trippers of their own.
Jennifer Giles (4-22) earned the victory, allowing four runs on four hits during her complete-game effort.
Chandler Ball (6-8) allowed six runs, two earned, on five hits while pitching the first 3 1/3 innings. Annah Jo Brittingham pitched 2 2/3 frames, yielding just two hits.
Jana Matthews hits 2-for-3 with two homers and five RBIs for CSU. Lizzy Olmstead added two hits, and Melanie Stickney registered a home run.
For the Lady Flames, Hanna Nichols and Holly Seiz both went 2-for-3, as both players went deep once. Seiz drove in two runs, and Seiz had one RBI. Katie Zavodny stole her 28th base of the season, and is tied for second in program history with 66 career stolen bases. Her school-record-tying 23-game hitting streak came to an end.
The Lady Flames manufactured a run during their first time at bat. Zavodny was hit by a pitch, and then stole second. After going to third on a flyout, Zavodny scored on a squeeze bunt by Shivock. During the bottom half of the first, Ball struck out two Buccaneers in retiring CSU in order.
CSU evened the score at 1-1 when Matthews hit a high drive over the fence in left center to open the bottom of the second inning.
The Buccaneers loaded the bases with nobody out in the bottom of the third, on an error and back-to-back singles by Olmstead and Christian. Matthews cleared the bases with a two-out grand slam, making it 5-1, CSU.
Nichols led off the fourth inning with her fifth homer of the season, and the Lady Flames' first hit of the game sliced the deficit to 5-2.
The hosts regained their four-run lead when Stickney lined a homer down the left field line. Brittingham then came on in relief of Ball, and the freshman gave up a hit before retiring the final three batters of the inning.
Brittingham pitched a pair of three-batter innings, holding the Buccaneers at bay in the fifth and sixth innings.
With one out in the top of the seventh, pinch hitter Grace Nordan reached on an error. Seiz then hit a two-run home run, bringing the Lady Flames to within two, 6-4. Giles got the final two outs on groundouts by Zavodny and Jill Stephens.