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Liberty Sweeps Away CSU, 12-8, in Series Finale
Liberty completed a Big South-opening three-game sweep at Charleston Southern, downing the Buccaneers, 12-8, Saturday at CSU Softball Field.
The Lady Flames (16-12, 3-0 Big South) have won six straight games overall. Liberty has started 3-0 in Big South play for the second year in a row. This is the first time since 2012 at Gardner-Webb that Liberty has swept an away Big South series. CSU falls to 11-21, including 0-3 in conference play.
Alexia Taylor batted 3-for-4 with a double, homer and three RBI, while Tori Zavodny hit 2-for-4 with three runs scored. Amber Bishop went 2-for-5 with a double and two RBI. Jasmeen Click hit 2-for-3 with a career-high three stolen bases and two runs scored.
Charleston Southern hit five homers, led by Jade Gandara, who went 3-for-4 with three home runs, three RBI and three runs scored. Caitlyn Emberson hit 2-for-3 with a homer, two runs and two RBI, while Cheyenne Gandara hit a homer and drove in three runs.
Kenzie Friesen (5-1) earned the victory, with 1 1/3 inning of hitless relief, striking out two. Elizabeth Engler (2 2/3 IP), Julia DiMartino (1 2/3 IP) and Chase Cassady (1 1/3 IP) combined to allow eight runs on seven hits.
Cheyenne Gandara (3-8) drew the loss, allowing nine runs (three earned) on nine hits in 3 2/3 innings pitched, striking out three and walking one. Holly Clark and Arizona Pilgrim both pitched in a relief.
Taylor put the Lady Flames on the board with an opposite-field homer to start the second inning. Robertson then singled up the middle and stole second, going to third on a passed ball. Emily Sweat drew a walk, and Robertson was caught at home on a double-steal play. Taylor Hoffman lined out to third, but third baseman Mallory Kasinger threw errantly into center field, allowing Sweat to score from second.
The Lady Flames manufactured a pair of runs in the third. Click hit an infield single and went to second on a groundout. Amber Bishop then drove her in with a single to left. Zavodny singled, and went to second when Bishop was thrown out at third. Taylor then came through with a two-out RBI single.
CSU put together a four-run rally with two outs in the bottom of the third. Stevi Johnson drew a walk, and Emberson singled to right center. Cheyenne Gandara then lifted a three-run homer to center. Jade Gandara then greeted reliever DiMartino with a game-tying solo homer to right.
Liberty regained its lead with a five–run fourth, benefitting from three CSU errors. Hoffman bunted for a single, and scored when Click reached on a three-base throwing error. Autumn Bishop plated Click with a single, and scored on a double by Amber Bishop. Zavodny reached on a dropped fly ball, scoring Bishop for an 8-4 lead. Zavodny then scored on a failed pickoff attempt.
DiMartino pitched out of trouble in the bottom of the fourth, walking Brittany McPherson to start the inning. Amanda Matsumoto reached on an error with one out, but DiMartino set down the next two batters.
The Lady Flames tacked on a pair of runs in the fifth. Robertson led off with a double to left, before Sweat drove her in by singling up the middle. Sweat later scored on an RBI groundout by Deidra See, making it 11-4.
Charleston Southern received a fifth-inning solo shot from Jade Gandara. Cassady entered the circle for DiMartino to get the final two outs.
Liberty scored once in the top of the sixth, as Zavodny led off with a single and scored on a double down the left field line by Taylor.
The Buccaneers hit a pair of long balls in the sixth, narrowing the gap to 12-8. Emberson hit a two-run blast to left, before Jade Gandara's solo homer to center. Friesen then relieved Cassady for the third out.
Friesen pitched a 1-2-3 seventh to finish off the victory for the Lady Flames.
The Lady Flames return home for a three-game Big South series, hosting Radford on Friday and Saturday at Kamphuis Field at Liberty Softball Stadium. Friday's game is scheduled to begin at 7 p.m., while Liberty and Radford are slated to contest a doubleheader on Saturday, with game one set for 3 p.m.