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Lady Flames Shut Down Gardner-Webb, 3-1
Liberty plated one run during the first, third and fifth innings, while getting excellent pitching from Chandler Ball, on the way to a 3-1 win over Gardner-Webb during game two of a twin bill on Friday at Liberty Softball Field.
With the win, the Lady Flames earn a split of the doubleheader, as Gardner-Webb won game one, 4-2. Liberty runs its record to 18-21, including 7-8 in conference play, while Gardner-Webb is now 7-26, 4-13 in Big South games.
Ball (7-9) went the distance, allowing one unearned run on just six hits and striking out three Runnin' Bulldogs. During her previous home start, on April 3, Ball pitched a five-hit shutout of Radford.
Jessica Childers (2-10) drew the loss, pitching a complete game while giving up three runs (two earned on eight hits.
Hanna Nichols and Kelby Allen both went 2-for-3 with an RBI. Liberty's top three hitters in the batting order – Katie Zavodny, Jill Stephens and Sammi Shivock – all scored a run during game two.
Gardner-Webb's Jill Blank went 2-for-3 with one stolen base, while Jordyn Arrowood scored the Runnin' Bulldogs' lone run.
Liberty jumped ahead during its first time at bat, rallying with two outs. Shivock, McCoy and Allen all singled in succession, with Allen's base hit plating Shivock for a 1-0 Lady Flames lead.
Gardner-Webb loaded the bases with one out in the top of the third, with singles by Jill Blank and Samantha Meenaghan and a walk to Kellie Beres. Ball retired the final two batters on a flyout and a strikeout.
The Lady Flames tacked on a run in the bottom of the third, when Zavodny reached on an error and stole second. Following a sacrifice bunt by Jill Stephens, Shivock sent Zavodny home with a sacrifice fly, good for a 2-0 Lady Flames' advantage.
Gardner-Webb entered the scoring column during the fourth inning. Arrowood singled with one out, and went to second on a sacrifice bunt. Blank then reached when Kassidy McCoy misfired on a throw, and Arrowood scored on the play.
Liberty regained its two-run cushion in the bottom of the fifth. Jill Stephens hit a one-out single to center, and Nichols later laced a double into the left-center gap, building the hosts' lead to 3-1.
Ball pitched a 1-2-3 sixth, and followed with a scoreless inning in the top of the seventh. Blank led off the seventh with a single, and stole second. Ball then got the final two Runnin' Bulldogs to pop out, securing a 3-1 victory for the Lady Flames
The Lady Flames and Runnin' Bulldogs will conclude their weekend series tomorrow, with a single game set to begin at 1 p.m. at Liberty Softball Field.