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Five-Run Second Pushes Liberty Opening-Game Over Hornets
The win marks Liberty's sixth straight to move the Lady Flames' record to 28-16 and marks the team's 10-consecutive at home to set a new school record.
Liberty took control of the game early as the Lady Flames exploded for five runs in the second frame on four hits. After Beth Hensley was issued a walk, J'nae Jefferson doubled to right-center field.
Dawn Jeffs gave Liberty its first run of the game with a sacrifice fly to left, allowing Hensley to cross the plate. After an infield single by Shannon McKain gave Liberty runners at the corners, McKain swiped second to record her second stolen base of the year. Jessica Moore followed with a double to left center, driving in both Jefferson and McKain.
Ashley Williams capped off the five-run frame as the designated player belted her seventh round tripper of the year, hitting a two-run blast to right-center field to lift Liberty to the early 5-0 lead.
The Hornets cut into Liberty's lead in the top of the third inning as Kirstin Swank was issued a lead-off walk. After Amber James moved Swank to second on a sacrifice bunt, Danielle DiFranco dropped a bunt single down the third base line, giving Lynchburg runners at the corners.
DiFranco stole second base and Lady Flames catcher Michelle Fridey tried to catch pinch runner Leslie Bailey off the bag at third, but her throw was errant, allowing the freshman to score.
A walk to Brittany Allsop followed by Audra Delta Rosa's single up the middle loaded the bases. Elizabeth Perkins was then walked, forcing DiFranco in from third to cut Liberty's lead to three runs, 5-2.
Liberty tacked on two more runs in the fifth inning as Beth Bennett doubled in Moore, who had reached on a lead-off walk, followed by a RBI base hit off the bat of Beth Hensley to score Dana Wheeler and push the Lady Flames' lead to five runs, 7-2.
Both teams plated runs during their sixth inning at bats, closing out the game's scoring. Another bases-loaded walk, this one issued to the Hornets' Delta Rosa, forced in Dara Sandifer in the top of the frame. Liberty's tally came courtesy of a RBI double by pinch hitter Claire Fridey, which drove in pinch runner Rachel Love.
McKain paced Liberty's offensive attack as the outfielder was 3-for-4 with a run scored, followed by Williams, who went 1-for-4 with the two-run home run. Moore finished the contest 1-for-2, scoring twice in the game and taking sole possession of Liberty's all-time career runs scored record with 169 runs (previous record was held by Stacy Radulovich with 167 runs).
Swor was the victor in the contest as she allowed two runs on two hits during four innings of work, while walking five and fanning five others to boost her record to 5-4. Ali Manns suffered the loss and drops to 11-3 on the year as she was roughed up for five runs on five hits during the first two innings of the game.