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Lady Flames Shut Out Eagles to Take Opening Big South Series of the Year
With the victory, the Lady Flames raise their record to 24-16 on the season and begin Big South Conference play by claiming two out of three games on the weekend. During the three-game set, the Lady Flames scored 27 runs on 30 hits, including five home runs.
The Lady Flames took the lead early in the first, scoring two runs without a hit as Winthrop committed four errors during the frame to give Liberty a two-run lead.
Dawn Jeffs reached base as Sarah Magee dropped a pop fly over second base and two batters later, Jessica Moore grounded to third base, but the ball got by Mallory Hogan.
The Eagles looked like they were going to get out of the inning as Beth Bennett lofted a ball to right field, but a charging Lisa Kingsmore dropped the ball, allowing Jeffs to score followed by an errant throw back into the infield by Kingsmore, allowing Moore to cross the plate and stake Liberty to a 2-0 lead.
The Lady Flames tacked on four additional run in the top of the second inning on three hits. Courtney Johnson led off the inning with a single off the base of the wall in left field. Two batters later, J'nae Jefferson drew a walk, followed by a single to center field by Jeffs to load the bases.
Shannon McKain grounded into a fielder's choice, erasing Johnson at the plate, but for the second-straight day, Moore hit a grand slam, as the senior belted a 3-2 pitch well over the fence in left field, pushing Liberty's lead to six runs, 6-0, on her team-leading 12th home run of the year.
Liberty added an insurance run in the third inning as Beth Bennett singled to center field to start the inning. After moving to second on a groundout by Johnson, Bennett scored on a RBI double down the right-field line by Beth Hensley, pushing Liberty lead to 7-0.
The Lady Flames pushed it lead to nine runs in the top of the fourth, scoring two more runs on two additional hits. Jeffs led off the frame by drawing a walk, followed by an RBI double to the gap in right-center field by McKain.
Another walk to Moore, followed by a single to left field by Williams loaded the bases, where Bennett flied out to deep center field to allow McKain to score on the sacrifice fly, extending Liberty's lead to 9-0.
Winthrop threatened by loading the bases in the bottom half of the fifth inning, but Sarah Ellis came in to strike out the final two batters of the game to secure the shutout victory.
Terra Lowe upped her record to 9-5 on the year as the senior scattered four hits over 4 1/3 innings of action, before Ellis closed out the bottom of the fifth.
Megan Evan suffered her first loss since mid February to fall to 17-5 as the freshman was ruffed up for seven runs, five of which were earned, on five hits in three innings of work. Cari Wooldridge finished off the final two innings of the game, allowing two runs on three hits.
Moore finished the game 1-for-2 with two runs scored and four RBI on the second inning grand slam. Jeffs was 2-for-3 with two runs scored as well, followed by McKain who was 1-for-4 with two runs scored and a RBI.
The Lady Flames return to the softball diamond on Wednesday when they travel to Charlottesville, Va., to square off against in-state foe Virginia. First pitch of the afternoon doubleheader is scheduled for 3 p.m.