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Swor's Efforts Lift Lady Flames To 7-5 Season-Opening Win Over Stony Brook
The game remained scoreless until the top of the fifth inning when the Lady Flames exploded for four runs on five two-out hits. After retiring the first two batters of the inning, starting pitcher Terra Lowe got a seemingly harmless single back up the middle. But the base knock jump started Liberty's offense as Beth Hensley followed with a single back up the middle as well, while Jessica Moore loaded the bases as she drew a 3-1 walk.
Dawn Jeffs kept things alive for the Lady Flames as the second baseman beat out an infield single to shortstop, allowing pinch runner Rachel Love to score, while Beth Bennett drove in Hensley and Moore with a two-RBI base hit to the gap in right centerfield. Ashley Williams capped off the scoring outburst as the starting catcher got an RBI base hit to centerfield, driving in Jeffs to give Liberty a 4-0 lead.
But the advantage proved to be short lived as Stony Brook's Molly Kestranek led off the sixth inning by drawing a walk, while Hayley Durham followed with a two-run homer to straightaway centerfield to cut the lead in half. After Christina Voth was issued a four-pitch walk, Suzanne Turek followed with the second two-run homer of the inning as her shot over the wall in left field knotted the game at 4-4.
The Lady Flames regained the lead in the top half of the seventh inning as Jeffs got another infield single and scored on a Shannon McKain RBI single back up the middle to give Liberty a 5-4 lead. But the Seawolfs answered back in the bottom half of the frame as Ashley Westphal led off the top of the inning with a walk and later scored on a Sarah Swor wild pitch to send the game into extra innings.
But Swor more than made up for the wild toss on the mound as the junior hit her first career home run in the top of the eighth inning as her two-run shot over the wall in left field plated Claire Fridey, who was placed at second base to start the extra inning as part of the international tiebreaker run, giving Liberty the two-run victory. The home run marked Swor's third career hit in two-plus seasons with the Lady Flames.
Swor picked up the victory in relief as the junior didn't allow a hit in two innings of work, while striking out two batters. Lowe started the game and allowed four runs in five innings, while striking out five batters. Sarah Ellis tossed a scoreless inning of relief as she struck out one of the four batters she faced in the seven inning, while Beth Bennett faced one batter to start the seventh inning.
Offensively, Liberty finished the season-opening game with 11 hits with Jeffs and Bennett going 2-for-4 each, while Jeffs scored two runs and drove in another and Bennett finished with two RBI.