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UNCG Holds Off Lady Flames, 5-4
The Liberty softball team battled back from an early 5-2 deficit, but its comeback effort fell just short, as the host UNCG Spartans downed the Lady Flames, 5-4, during game one on Wednesday at UNCG Softball Stadium.
UNCG improves its record to 26-10 with the victory, while Liberty falls to 17-19 entering the second game of the twin bill. Three UNCG errors led to three unearned runs by the Lady Flames.
Katie Zavodny went 2-for-4 with a stolen base and two runs scored. She is now the third player in program history with 30 stolen bases in a single season. Kelby Allen batted 1-for-4 and recorded an RBI.
Aisha Figueroa posted two hits for the Spartans, while Heather Robb hit a two-run homer.
Raeanne Hanks (15-4) earned the complete-game win, allowing four runs (one earned) on six hits while striking out six and walking four.
Chandler Ball (6-9) yielded three runs on four hits during the first two innings of play. Annah Jo Brittingham pitched the final four innings, giving up one earned run on three hits.
Hanks walked the bases loaded in the top of the first, as Jill Stephens, Hanna Nichols and Kassidy McCoy received free passes. Holly Seiz fouled out to end the Lady Flames' scoring chance.
The Spartans took a quick, 1-0 lead, during their first time at bat. Aisha Figueroa led off with a single, and stole second base. Katelyn Bedwell hit a two-out single to plate Figueroa with UNCG's first run.
Liberty scored a pair of runs in the second stanza. Katie Han registered an infield single, and then went to second on a sacrifice bunt. A single by Zavodny placed runners on the corners with two outs. Han then scored on a wild pitch, with Zavodny going to third. Stephens hit a flare that eluded the shortstop's grasp, and Zavodny scored for a 2-1 Lady Flames advantage.
UNCG tallied twice during the bottom of the second, when pinch hitter Toni MacReynolds drove in Tatian Alcala and Eileen Horsmon with a one-out single to center. The Spartans left a runner on third to end the second inning when Danielle Vega flied out.
The hosts added to their lead in the third frame, as Lindsay Thomas reached on an error, and Robb slammed a homer to left center with one out to make the score 5-2, UNCG.
The Lady Flames trimmed the deficit by one with a fourth-inning unearned run. With runners on first and second and two outs, an errant throw by Robb allowed Zavodny to score from second. Nichols flied out to center to end Liberty's fourth at bat.
Brittingham shut the door from the fourth inning on, keeping UNCG's total at five runs.
Liberty continued to inch closer to the Spartans, tallying once in the top of the sixth inning. Lawrence reached on an error to lead off the inning, and made it to third on a wild pitch with two outs. Allen then plated Blair Lawrence with a single up the middle, bringing the Lady Flames to within 5-4. Hanks struck out Nichols to end the threat.
After a scoreless UNCG sixth, Hanks retired the Lady Flames in order in the seventh frame, and the Spartans held on for a 5-4 win.