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Liberty Opens Big South Play with Resounding 12-0 Win at CSU
The visiting Liberty Lady Flames scored 12 runs over the final three innings, running away with a 12-0 victory over Charleston Southern in both teams' Big South opener, Friday at CSU Softball Field.
Liberty (14-12) has won its last four games overall, and is 3-0 in its last three conference openers. The Lady Flames have scored 10 or more runs in four straight games for the first time in program history. Charleston Southern falls to 11-19, 0-1 in Big South play.
Friday's game marked the first time that Liberty has posted a shutout in its conference opener since a 1-0 win at Elon, April 6, 2001.
Amber Bishop went 3-for-4 with two homers, three runs scored and six RBI. Amber Bishop is the first Lady Flame to hit two homers in a game since Kassidy McCoy at Charleston Southern, April 12, 2015. She is also the first Liberty player with six RBI in a game since Holly Seiz at Charleston Southern, April 7, 2013. Alexia Taylor batted 3-for-4 with a homer and two RBI, while Autumn Bishop went 2-for-2 with two doubles and three runs scored. Sarah Robertson and Emily Sweat had two hits each.
Five different Buccaneers recorded one hit apiece.
Julia DiMartino (3-4) tossed a complete-game, five-hit shutout, walking two and striking out five. The shutout was her first of the season, and eighth of her career. The Lady Flames have now pitched back-to-back shutouts.
Cheyenne Gandara (3-7) drew the loss, allowing six runs, five earned, on six hits, with two walks in 2 1/3 innings pitched. Arizona Pilgrim (1 2/3 innings) and Nicole Ayala (one inning) pitched the remainder of the game in relief.
The Buccaneers threatened to score with a two-out rally in the bottom of the second. Mallory Kasinger drew a walk, and Georgi DeLio singled down the line in right, putting runners on the corners. DiMartino struck out Brittany McPherson, keeping the score at 0-0 through two innings.
Liberty broke through in the top of the third inning, batting around while scoring six runs. Click drew a walk to lead off, and Autumn Bishop followed with a double to center. Amber Bishop then hit a two-run single to left. Taylor later made it 4-0 with a one-out, two-RBI blast to center. Robertson singled, and scored on a double by Sweat. Arizona Pilgrim then entered the circle in relief of Gandara, giving up an RBI groundout before getting out of the inning.
DiMartino allowed a single in the third stanza, but a strikeout and flyout ended the inning.
The Lady Flames had another big inning in the fourth. Click led off with a single and went to second on a throwing error. Autumn Bishop lined an RBI double to left center before her sister, Amber, made it 9-0 with a two-run shot down the left-field line. After a hit batter, Taylor and Robertson hit back-to-back singles, pushing across Liberty's 10th run of the game.
Back-to-back singles by Cheyenne Gandara and Jade Gandara gave CSU life to start the bottom of the fourth. However, DiMartino retired the next three batters to quell the rally.
Liberty added a pair of fifth-inning tallies off of Ayala, as Autumn Bishop hit a one-out single and Amber Bishop drove a two-run home run to right center.
DiMartino finished off the shutout with a 1-2-3 fifth, as Liberty celebrated a run-rule victory.
The Lady Flames and Buccaneers will complete their series tomorrow with a doubleheader. Game one is scheduled to begin at 1 p.m. at CSU Softball Field.