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Despite Overcoming Early Deficit, Lady Flames Drop League Opener To Winthrop
The Eagles controlled the pace of play early on as Winthrop took advantage of five Liberty errors over two innings to open up an eight-run lead, 8-0, after four innings of action.
Winthrop broke open a scoreless game in the third inning as the Eagles plated five runs on three hits, aided by three Lady Flames miscues. Back-to-back hits by Lauren Blaser and Tessa Thomas were followed by three-straight balls being mishandled by the Lady Flames' infield, leading to four runs.
Lauren Hill capped off the frame with an RBI single to center field, driving in Hilary Peacock to push Winthrop's lead to five runs, 5-0.
Winthrop tacked on three more runs on five hits in the fourth inning along with two more Liberty errors to push the Eagles' lead to 8-0. The three-run frame was highlighted by RBI singles from Stephanie Reid and Jenny Scrymgeour.
Liberty, who was down to its final out in the top of the fifth inning before the slaughter rule was to be implemented, got a two-out walk by Beth Hensley, followed by J'nae Jefferson's two-run homer to left, her second of the week and third of the year, keeping the game alive for Liberty.
The Eagles tacked on an insurance run in the sixth inning with a solo home run by Reid to push Winthrop's lead back to seven runs, 9-2, which proved to be a key run later in the contest for Winthrop.
Liberty finally got its high-powered offense going in the seventh inning, tied the game at 9-9 as the Lady Flames scored seven runs on five hits with all the runs coming without Winthrop recording an out in the frame. The seven-run outburst was capped by a grand slam homer by Jessica Moore, tying her with Dawn Jeffs for the team lead in home runs as both seniors have 11 round trippers on the year.
Winthrop went down in order in the bottom of the seventh, sending the game into extra innings. Both teams scored single runs in the eighth inning and Liberty added another in the top of the ninth as Ashley Williams singled home Jeffs with a two-out infield single.
Peacock quickly tied the game in the bottom of the ninth inning with a RBI single through the right side of the infield, followed by back-to-back singles by Hill and Mallory Hogan to load the bases where Sarah Magee was struck by a pitch, forcing in pinch runner Pearl Coleshill and ending the wild game to give the Eagles their sixth-straight extra inning win of the year.
Sarah Swor suffered the loss for Liberty in the game in relief of Sarah Ellis, falling to 4-4 on the year. Swor allowed four runs, two of which were earned, on six hits in 4 2/3 innings of work, after Ellis allowed the first eight runs, three of which were earned, on eight hits.
Swor fanned three batters in the contest, enabling the senior to claim sole possession of Liberty's all-time career strikeout mark as she now has 449 Ks to her credit. Swor entered the day tied with former record-holder Ali Thompson who finished her career (2000-02) with 446 strikeouts.
Jefferson paced the way for Liberty as the freshman was 2-for-4 with two runs scored and three RBI, followed by Jeff who was 2-for-5 with two runs scored. Moore knocked in a team-best four RBI with the seventh inning grand slam home run.