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Lady Flames Open Regular-Season Finale Series with 8-0 Win over Panthers
With the victory, the Lady Flames raise their record to 35-23 on the year and 10-3 in Big South action, giving Liberty sole possession of first place in the conference. The loss drops the Panthers' record to 24-34 on the season and 4-9 in conference play.
In the opening game, the Lady Flames wasted little time taking a lead as Liberty plated four runs on four hits and a costly error to jump out to a four-run lead in the second.
Sarah Swor got a two-out rally started with her sixth double of the year, sending a lined shot into the gap in right center. Courtney Johnson followed by dropping a single on the right-field line, scoring Swor from second base.
Jessica Leary was allowed to reach base as the right fielder's bunt was misplayed by starting pitcher Bethany Reynoldson, extending the inning. And J'nae Jefferson made the most of the extra at bat as the freshman hit her sixth home run of the year, tagging the three-run shot just to the left of the scoreboard in left field to give Liberty a 4-0 edge.
Another error led to Liberty's fifth run in the top of the third inning as Jessica Moore led off the frame with a sharply-hit single to left, followed by the ball slipping under the glove of Blaes Schmissrauter, allowing Moore to move to third base. Ashley Williams followed with a single through the left side of the infield, plating Moore and pushing the Lady Flames' lead to 5-0.
The Lady Flames put the game out of reach in the top of the fifth inning with a trio of runs. Shannon McKain led off the inning with a single to left field. Moore followed by hitting her team-leading 18th home run of the year, wrapping a two-run shot around the foul pole in left, scoring pinch runner Kristina Jerry and herself.
Williams was struck by the first pitch offered from reliever Janira Santiago. A sacrifice bunt by Beth Bennett moved Williams to second and the catcher advanced one more base after a wild pitch. Swor followed by lofting a ball into the left-center field, plating Williams on the sacrifice fly for the game's final run.
Terra Lowe upped her record to 16-8 on the season and 7-1 against Big South competition as the senior fanned eight batters and allowed two hits during the five-inning victory. The 16 victories tied Lowe's career high as the senior finished the 2006 season with 16 wins as well.
Reynoldson suffered the loss, falling to 17-16 on the season, as she was roughed up for seven runs, three of which were earned, on eight hits during four-plus inning of work.
Moore led the Lady Flames from the plate as she was 2-for-2 with two runs scored and the two-run blast in the fifth. Six other Liberty players recorded a hit, including Dawn Jeffs, who hit a double in the second, which allowed the senior to tie her own school record with 86 hits on the year.