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Liberty Snaps Longwood's 8-Game Winning Streak, 8-7
Liberty built a 6-1 lead, and withstood a furious Longwood rally, downing the Lancers, 8-7, on Monday night at Lancer Field.
Liberty improves to 17-18, including 6-7 in Big South play, after its second win in a row. Longwood saw its eight-game winning streak come to an end, as the Lancers are now 27-11, 9-5 in conference games.
Both teams registered nine hits on Monday. The hosts committed six errors, leading to four unearned runs by the Lady Flames.
Katie Zavodny hit 3-for-5 with two runs scored, while Hanna Nichols batted 2-for-4 with two RBIs. Jill Stephens and Holly Seiz both recorded RBI doubles.
The Lancers received base hits from nine different players. Megan Baltzell drove in two runs, while Emily Muphy homered.
Annah Jo Brittingham (8-5) earned the win, yielding one run on one hit in 1 1/3 innings of relief. Chandler Ball pitched the first 5 2/3 innings, allowing six runs, five earned, on eight hits.
Libby Morris (12-5) drew the loss after giving up two runs, one earned, on one hit in two innings of work. Starting pitcher Brooke Short went five innings, allowing six runs (three earned) on eight hits.
The Lady Flames got off to a quick start, as Zavodny led off the first inning with a single. After a sacrifice and a groundout, Nichols hit a two-out single to plate Zavodny and give Liberty a 1-0 lead. Ball then retired the Lancers in order during the bottom half of the frame.
Longwood leveled the score at 1-1 in its second time at bat. Murphy walked, and then stole second. Sciacca hit an RBI single, and went to second on an error. A double play and a strikeout helped Ball escape further damage.
Liberty took advantage of two Longwood errors in the top of the third, scoring four times. Zavodny led off with a single, and Stephens then drove her in with a double. Shivock reached base on a three-base error, scoring Stephens. Nichols then singled to right field, scoring Shivock. With Nichols on third and two outs, a throwing error allowed Nichols to score for a 5-1 Liberty lead.
The Lady Flames tacked on a run in the top of the sixth inning, as the first two Liberty batters reached via errors. Zavodny then singled to load the bases, and Longwood made a pitching change. Following a fielder's choice, Shivock drove in a run when she reached on an error by the shortstop. Nichols then lined out to Chelsea Sciacca in right, who threw out Zavodny at the plate to keep the score, 6-1, Liberty.
Ball had given up just three hits through the first five innings, before the Lancers connected for five runs on five hits during the sixth frame. A walk to Sciacca and consecutive singles filled the bases with one out. Jamie Barbour and Kori Nishitomi both recorded RBI singles, making it 6-3. Baltzell then cleared the bases with a single to right, tying the score at 6-6. Brittingham then came on to retire Short.
Seiz came through with a one-out, RBI double in the top of the seventh, putting Liberty back in the lead, 7-6. Megan Robinson then grounded out to the pitcher, and Seiz scored when Jordan Cox air-mailed a throw over the third baseman's head.
The Lancers pulled to within one when Murphy hit a leadoff homer during the last of the seventh. Sciacca then walked. After a groundout and a strikeout, Barbour drew a free pass. Brittingham got Shinrock to line out to short, capping the 8-7 Lady Flames win.
Liberty will next travel to Greensboro, N.C., for a doubleheader at UNCG on Wednesday. Game one for Wednesday's twin bill is set to begin at 3 p.m.