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Offense Abounds For Lady Flames In 9-4 Victory Over Princeton
The Lady Flames wasted little time jumping out to a lead as Liberty plated three runs in the top of the first inning. Dawn Jeffs led off the frame with an infield single, followed by a walk to J'nae Jefferson.
That set the stage for Jessica Moore to connect on her first home run of the year and the 40th of her career as her three-run blast to straightaway center field gave Liberty a 3-0 lead.
Liberty added to its advantage in the top of the third inning as Jefferson was issued another free pass. After moving to second on a failed pick-off attempt, Jefferson scored on a base hit back up the middle by Ashley Williams, pushing Liberty's lead to 4-0.
The Tigers strung together a trio of hits to plate their first run of the game in the bottom half of the third, starting with a single to right field by Lauren Bierman. After moving to second on a sacrifice bunt and to third on a single to the gap in right-center field by Jackie Araneo, Bierman scored on a base hit down the left-field line off the bat of Kathryn Welch, trimming Liberty's lead to three runs, 4-1.
The score remained the same until the top of the fifth when Moore connected on a solo homer high off the fair pole down the left-field line, giving Liberty a 5-1 lead and Moore her 10th career multiple home run game.
Princeton cut the lead back to three runs, 5-2, in the bottom of the fifth inning as Bierman led off the inning by drawing a walk. Bierman was replaced by Ellen Scott at first base as a pinch runner and she later scored on a sacrifice fly by Welch.
But Liberty put the game out of reach in the top of the sixth inning as the Lady Flames added four more runs on three hits. The scoring outburst was highlighted by a RBI base hit by Moore, a misplayed ball in the outfield that allowed Jefferson and Williams to score and a double steal that included pinch runner Beth Hensley crossing the plate.
Moore led the Lady Flames from the plate as the senior was 3-for-5 with five RBI. Shannon McKain (2-for-3), Beth Bennett (2-for-4) and Jeffs (2-for-4) all finished the game with multiple hits as well.
Sarah Ellis upped her record to 3-1 on the year as she allowed two runs on five hits in 4 2/3 innings of work. Sarah Swor finished off the final 2 1/3 innings of the game, allowing two runs on four hits, to pick up her first save of the year and the eighth of her career, making her Liberty's new career saves leader.
The Lady Flames will face Fairfield later on this evening in a single game outside the tournament, while Liberty will return to tournament action tomorrow when they close out pool play against Rhode Island (10 a.m.) and Marshall (12:15 p.m.).