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Liberty Completes Doubleheader Sweep with 7-2 Win over Birmingham-Southern
With the pair of victories on the evening, Liberty improves its record to 36-23 on the year and 11-3 in Big South Conference action, tying a school record for conference victories in a season. The 1999 squad finished the year with an 11-3 record, giving that Liberty team a share of the regular-season title.
The Lady Flames now stand in sole possession of first place in the league and can wrap up their first regular-season title since 2000 by closing out the series with a victory tomorrow afternoon. The pair of losses on the night drops Birmingham-Southern's record to 24-35 on the year and 4-10 in conference play.
The nightcap remained scoreless until the top of the fifth inning when Dawn Jeffs hit a towering solo home run to lead off the inning to right field. The homer was the senior's 15th round tripper of the year and was her 87th hit of the season, breaking Jeffs' single season record of 86 hits set last year.
The Lady Flames added two more runs later that inning as Jessica Moore got an infield single deep in the hole at shortstop. Ashley Williams followed by drawing a walk and Beth Bennett singled to left, but the ball got by Blaes Schmissrauter, allowing both Moore and Williams to score on the left fielders' second error of the evening, staking Liberty to a 3-0 lead.
The Lady Flames put the game out of reach in the top of the sixth inning when Liberty batted around for the second-straight inning, scoring four runs on five hits.
A single up the middle by Jeffs and a base hit to right by pinch hitter Claire Fridey were followed by Moore's 19th home run of the year, a three-run blast to straightaway center field.
After back-to-back groundouts handled by Brooke Reed, the shortstop wasn't able to take care of the third as her throwing error allowed Sarah Swor to reach base and extend the inning. Courtney Johnson followed with a double to the gap in left center, driving in Swor and pushing Liberty's lead to seven runs, 7-0.
The Panthers got their first runs of the evening in the bottom of the sixth inning as Reed doubled to the gap in left center, followed by a two-run home run by Heather Fox, her team-best sixth of the year, to right center.
Swor was the winning pitcher in the game for Liberty as the senior scattered four hits over six innings of work, allowing two runs and striking out five batters, upping her record to 6-7. Sarah Ellis came in to close out the game in the seventh inning, striking out all three batters she faced.
Melissa Muehlenfeld suffered the loss, falling to 0-3 on the season, as she allowed seven runs on 10 hits, walking four and striking out four in six innings of work.
Moore led the squad from the plate as she was 3-for-4 with two runs scored and three RBI, followed by Jeffs, who was 2-for-5 with two runs scored and a run driven in.
The Lady Flames and the Panthers conclude their three-game series tomorrow afternoon when they return to BSU Softball Field for the final game. First pitch of the Big South Conference contest is set for 1 p.m. (CST), concluding both team's regular-season schedule.