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Lady Flames Explode With 14 Hits En Route To 10-2 Game 1 Win Over Bulldogs
Liberty wasted little time taking the lead as they scored two runs in the top of the first inning. J'nae Jefferson led off the game by drawing and walk, followed by Dawn Jeffs' single back up the middle. After an infield single by Ashley Williams, starting pitcher Angie Walls continued to struggle with her control, walking both Beth Bennett and Sarah Swor to force in two runs and give Liberty a 2-0 lead.
The Lady Flames added to their lead in the second inning as Shannon McKain led off the inning with a sharp single down the left field line, followed by a bunt single by Jefferson.
Jeffs got her fifth-straight hit of the day with a single to right to drive in McKain, followed by a RBI base knock up the middle off the bat of Moore to drive in Jefferson. Moore recorded the final run of the frame as she scored from second after Jessi Williams was unable to handle a ball hit by Ashley Williams to shortstop, allowing Liberty to take a 5-0 lead.
Gardner-Webb got on the scoreboard in the third inning as Williams hit a two-out solo home run to straightaway center field, her first of the year, trimming Liberty's lead to 5-1.
However, Liberty exploded for five runs on four hits in the top of the fifth inning to put the game away. Jefferson started the scoring outburst as she crossed the plate after another fielding error by Williams, while Swor hit her second home run of the day as the three-run blast to right-center field, plating Moore and Bennett and to give Liberty a nine-run lead.
A single by Kelly Linsley followed by a RBI double off the fence in center field gave the Bulldogs their second run of the game, but Dana Wheeler, in her first collegiate pitching appearance, was able to get the final three outs of the frame to seal the victory.
Bennett led the Lady Flames from the plate as the first baseman finished the game 3-for-3 with a run scored and a RBI. Jefferson (2-for-2 with two runs scored), Jeffs (2-for-4 with a run score and a RBI), Moore (2-for-4 with two runs scored and a RBI) and McKain (2-for-3 with a run scored) all followed with multiple-hit games.
Swor was also the victor in the circle for Liberty as she allowed one run on three hits in four innings of work, walking three and strikeout out four batters. Wheeler allowed the one run on two hits as she worked the final inning for Liberty.
Walls suffered the loss for Gardner-Webb as she allowed five runs on six hits in one-plus innings of work, while Alison Coffey allowed the final five runs on eight hits in four innings of work.
The Lady Flames will play their third and final game of the day, starting at 3:45 p.m., against Gardner-Webb to close out their opening day.