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Lady Flames Record Season-High 16 Hits, Down Winthrop, 10-3
The Liberty softball team pounded out a season-high 16 hits, backing up a five-hit pitching effort by Annah Jo Brittingham on the way to a 10-3 victory over Winthrop, Friday.
With the win, the Lady Flames (7-39, 2-18 Big South) snap a 12-game winless streak, splitting the doubleheader with Winthrop. The Eagles (23-21, 11-9) had won four straight conference games prior to Friday's loss.
Three different Lady Flames had three hits, in Katie Zavodny Megan Robinson and Katie Han. Zavodny homered, stole a base and drove in two, while Robinson doubled. Zavodny is now ranked fifth all-time at Liberty with 198 career hits. Kelby Allen and Holly Seiz both went 2-for-4 and scored twice, with Seiz hitting a double.
Alex White hit a two-run home run for the Eagles, while Mel Andrea hit her team-best ninth homer of the season.
Brittingham (3-18), making her first start since April 5 at Coastal Carolina, pitched a complete-game five-hitter, yielding three runs while striking out two and walking five.
Sutton Watson (9-7) lasted just one-third of an inning, allowing five runs (two earned) on five hits. Dallas King yielded five runs on 11 hits in 5 2/3 innings of work.
The Lady Flames scored five runs in the bottom of the first, taking advantage of three Eagle errors. Zavodny and Robinson hit back-to-back singles to lead off, and Nichols drove in Zavodny for a 1-0 lead. Allen then drove in Robinson with a single. Han singled, and Allen scored on a throwing error after Seiz singled to right. King then entered the circle for Winthrop. With two outs, Crisp reached on an error, with two more runners crossing the plate. Zavodny popped out to end the inning.
Brittingham tossed a 1-2-3 second inning, and the Lady Flames singled twice during the second, but left two runners stranded.
King broke up Brittingham's no-hit bid with one out in the third, but the sophomore got the next two batters out.
Liberty extended its lead to 7-0 in the bottom of the third with a two-out rally. Lawrence singled, before stealing both second and third. Zavodny then launched a towering home run over the fence in right. Robinson followed with a double, but King got Nichols to ground out for the third out.
Winthrop began its comeback attempt by scoring a pair of fourth-inning tallies. McKenzi Corn walked to lead off the inning, and White lined a two-run home run to right, making to 7-2.
After both teams went scoreless in the fifth, the Eagles drew closer when Andrea led off the sixth by homering to left field. Brittingham then worked around a walk to White, retiring the next three batters.
The Lady Flames put the game out of reach with three runs during the bottom of the sixth inning. Nichols and Allen hit consecutive singles to lead off. Seiz later came through with a one-out RBI double. Nordan plated Allen with a single through the left side, and Jamie Crisp grounded to short, pushing Seiz across with Liberty's 10th run of the contest.
The Eagles mounted a seventh-inning rally, as Kristy Noble drew a leadoff walk and Megan Winningham singled with one out. The next two batters popped out, and the Lady Flames celebrated their 10-3 victory.
The Lady Flames and Eagles close out this weekend's series with a 1 p.m. matchup, tomorrow at Liberty Softball Field.