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Charlotte Downs Liberty, 7-1
The host Charlotte 49ers won the first semifinal game of the 49er Invitational, scoring a 7-1 victory over Liberty, Saturday at Phillips Softball Complex.
Charlotte (8-6) earns a spot in the championship game, against the winner of Georgetown and Stony Brook, tomorrow at 1 p.m. Liberty (2-14) will play in the consolation contest at 11 a.m., tomorrow.
Charlotte pitcher Lexi Betancourt (7-2) pitched a complete-game five-hitter, allowing one unearned run on five hits while striking out six.
Alyssa DiMartino (1-8) sustained the setback after giving up three runs on eight hits in three innings of work. Annah Jo Brittingham pitched three innings of relief, allowing four unearned runs on five hits.
Hannah Bright batted 3-for-4 with two runs scored, while Courtney Carroll and Jackie Kleinsmith both recorded two hits for the 49ers. Chelsea Ingersoll doubled and drove in two runs.
Megan Robinson went 2-for-3 for the second game in a row, while Katie Zavodny batted 2-for-3, stole a base and scored Liberty's lone run. Brittingham batted 1-for-3, recording her first career base hit.
Charlotte went ahead with a first-inning tally. Natalie Capone hit a leadoff single, and a sacrifice bunt by Kleinsmith moved her up 60 feet. Jessica Plemmons later hit a two-out RBI single to score Capone for a 1-0 49ers advantage.
DiMartino worked through a bases-loaded situation in the bottom of the second. Jessie Fennell hit a leadoff double, and Carroll singled with one out. After a walk to Capone, Samantha Slade grounded out to DiMartino, ending the threat.
The 49ers pushed across two runs with three straight hits to open the third inning. Ingersoll hit a two-run double, driving in Kleinsmith and Bright for a 3-0 edge. Brittingham then came on in relief of DiMartino, and allowed a walk and a base hit, before a strikeout and groundout closed the inning.
Zavodny led off the fourth frame with a bunt base hit. She moved to third after a pair of groundouts to the pitcher, but was left on third when Katie Han grounded to third.
Charlotte scored two more times during the fourth. Fennell was hit by a pitch with the bases loaded, making it 4-0, before Lewis hit a sacrifice fly for the 49ers' fifth tally. Brittingham got Betancourt to groundout, stranding three.
Robinson laced a leadoff single to left in the fifth, but three outs ensued, as Betancourt kept the shutout alive.
The Lady Flames entered the scoring column during the top of the sixth. Zavodny reached on a two-base throwing error with one out, and a wild pitch sent her to third. Sammi Shivock grounded to short, plating Zavodny with Liberty's first run.
The 49ers answered by scoring two insurance runs in the sixth frame. DiMartino re-entered the circle with the bases loaded and no outs. After two outs, Slade and Kleinsmith hit consecutive RBI singles, pushing Charlotte's lead to six, 7-1.
Liberty loaded the bases with a leadoff walk followed by singles from Robinson and Brittingham during the top of the seventh. With two outs, Allen sent a flare to left, and left fielder Hayley Lewis made a diving catch to end the game.