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Williams' Eighth-Inning Double Lifts Liberty to Victory Over Spartans
With the victory, the Lady Flames raise their season record to 30-16, marking the second-straight year and the eighth time in program history a Liberty softball team has reached the 30-win plateau. The win also gives Liberty its eighth-straight win to account for the seventh time in program history Liberty has won eight-consecutive games.
In the opening game, the homestanding Spartans jumped out to a one-run lead in the bottom of the second inning. Jennifer Bonilla started the frame with a double off the base of the wall in left field. After a walk was issued to Whitney Sirois, Lindsay Mouse got a two-out base hit up the middle to score Bonilla from second and give UNC Greensboro the early edge, 1-0.
Liberty evened the game at 1-1 in the top of the fourth inning on a pair of doubles. Jessica Moore doubled to right center, extending her season-best hitting streak to 11-straight games.
After moving to third base on a long fly ball off the bat of Williams, Moore scored when Beth Bennett got her second hit of the game. The first baseman's double to left center plated Moore and tied the score.
The Lady Flames took their first lead of the afternoon in the top of the sixth inning as Moore started the inning with an infield single to shortstop. Williams added a double off the fence in left-center field. Bennett then lofted a sacrifice fly to left which allowed Moore to cross the plate and give Liberty a 2-1 lead.
But the Liberty lead was short lived as pinch hitter Brandi Schnute hit her first home run of the year to lead off the bottom of the sixth, a solo shot over the fence in center field which knotted the game at 2-2.
The score remained the same until the top of the eighth inning, when the top of Liberty's order pushed the Lady Flames out to a two-run advantage. Dawn Jeffs started off the frame with a single up the middle and moved to second after a sacrifice bunt by Shannon McKain.
UNC Greensboro chose to intentionally walk Moore, but Vanessa Oakes' first pitch got by Sirios, allowing Jeffs to move to third. After Moore was walked, the center fielder swiped her team-leading 10th stole base of the year. That set the stage for Williams to double down the left-field line and give Liberty a two-run lead as both Jeffs and Moore scored on the play.
In the bottom of the eighth, starting pitcher Terra Lowe struck Adriane Audley with a pitch to lead off the frame. Head coach Paul Wetmore then make the call to the bullpen, bringing in Sarah Ellis to record the final three outs of the game.
For Ellis, it was her fourth save of the year, setting a new school record for saves in a season.
Lowe upped her record to 12-5 on the year as the senior scattered three hits and allowed two runs in seven-plus innings of work, fanning 10 batters to mark her third-straight game with nine or more strikeouts.
Liberty had four separate hitters finish the game with multiple hits as Jeffs, Williams and Bennett were 2-for-4 in the contest with Williams and Bennett driving in Liberty's four runs. Moore followed, going 2-for-3 with three runs scored.