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Lady Flames Move into Big South Lead with Series Win over Coastal Carolina
With the victory on the day, the Lady Flames raise their record to 34-21 on the year and 9-3 in conference play. The win gives Liberty its fourth-consecutive Big South series victory and moves the Lady Flames into a tie with Winthrop for the conference's top spot. The loss drops Coastal Carolina to 20-32 on the year and 7-8 in Big South action.
The Lady Flames took the game's opening edge as Jessica Moore hit her Big South Conference leading 17th home run of the year, connecting on an opposite field solo shot to right center, giving Liberty a 1-0 lead after one.
The long ball continued to play a factor in the contest as Liberty added two more runs in the bottom of the third, thanks to Dawn Jeffs' 14th home run of the season.
J'nae Jefferson preceded Jeffs by slapping a single through the left side of the infield, followed by Jeffs' two-run shot to right field, giving Liberty its 66th round tripper of the year which ties last year's school record.
Coastal Carolina got on the scoreboard by virtue of the home run in the top of the fourth inning as Allison Cantrell hit her team-leading 11th homer of the year, a solo shot to center field, cutting Liberty's lead to two runs, 3-1.
The home run marked the first hit starting pitcher Terra Lowe had allowed this weekend after the senior tossed her second no-hitter of the year against Coastal Carolina yesterday.
The Chanticleers tied the game in the top of the sixth inning as Coastal Carolina plated two runs on three hits to knot the game at 3-3. Cantrell started the two-run frame by hitting her second home run of the game and 12th of the season, a solo shot to right field.
Kristina Shepperd kept things moving for the visitors by being struck by a pitch, followed two batters later, Brittany Birnbaum lining a shot off of Courtney Johnson's glove at third base for a hit to give Coastal Carolina runners at first and second.
Relief pitcher Sarah Ellis entered the game to defuse the situation, but Trish Kretchman was able to get her first hit of the year, a seeing-eye single to right, driving in pinch runner Kelsey Riffel to tie the game.
The score remained the same until the bottom of the seventh inning when Liberty got three-consecutive infield singles to load the bases. Pinch hitter Claire Fridey started the frame by legging out a single to shortstop.
Next, Jefferson slapping a bunt by a charging Kimberly Cillis at first base, followed by Jeffs laying down a bunt single to first, loading the bases for the final play. Hensley ended the game as the senior was able to drop in a hit just over first base, scoring Jessica Leary and securing the victory for Liberty.
Ellis picked up the victory in the relief effort as the sophomore scattered three hits over 1 1/3 innings of work, upping her record to 12-7 on the year. Lowe started the game and allowed just one run on the fourth inning home run, followed by Sarah Swor allowing two runs on three hits over two innings of work.
Ashley Frederick suffered the loss in relief of Kretchman as Frederick allowed the game-winning run on five hits over three-plus innings of work. Kretchman started the contest and allowed three runs on four hits.
Jeffs led the Lady Flames from the plate with her second-consecutive multiple-hit game of the series, going 2-for-4 with a home run to extend her hitting streak to 11 games. Jefferson followed by going 2-for-3 with a run scored.
Cantrell was the offensive star for the Chanticleers as the second baseman was 2-for-4 with two solo home runs, followed by Danyelle Gerdts going 2-for-4 from the plate as well.
The Lady Flames will play their final home games of the season on Tuesday when they host in-state opponent Virginia Tech. Prior to the doubleheader against the No. 18/23 Hokies, Liberty will honor its 2007 senior class as Beth Hensley, Dawn Jeffs, Terra Lowe, Jessica Moore and Sarah Swor will be playing in the final home games of their careers. First pitch of the afternoon is set for 3 p.m. at the Liberty Softball Field.
Today's game brought to a close the Chanticleers regular season as Coastal Carolina won't return to the softball diamond until May 10-12 when they host the 2007 Big South Softball Championship in Conway, S.C.