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Early Jump Gives Tigers Victory Over Flames
The victory was the first of the year for the Tigers in their season opener, giving Towson a 1-0 mark early in the 2008 season. The loss drops Liberty's record to 0-1-1 on the year.
The Tigers jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the bottom of the first inning, as an error led to two runs. Leadoff hitter Mindy Bean slapped one back to the pitcher's circle, but starting pitcher Tiffani Smith's throw to first to try and get the speedy second baseman sailed high of first sacker Beth Bennett.
After a stolen base by Bean, Smith retired the next two batters on a sacrifice bunt and a swinging strikeout. However, the freshman hurler hit the next batter and walked the following three, allowing Bean and Stephanie Fudurich to score a pair of unearned runs and give the Tigers an early 2-0 edge.
Towson tacked on three more runs in the bottom of the second, staking the Tigers to a 5-0 advantage. Bean walked and scored on a RBI triple to center field by Kim Lempa. Following a walk issued to Nina Navarro, both Lempa and Navarro advanced on a throwing error, as Keely McMillon attempted to pick Lempa off a third.
The third and final run of the inning, which was unearned, scored on Fudurich's base hit straight up the middle, chasing Smith from the game and giving the home team on the scoreboard a five-run edge.
The Tigers added to their advantage in the bottom half of the fourth inning, as Navarro led off the frame by drawing a walk. Following a base hit to center by Fudurich, which gave Towson runners at second and third, Emily Gould laid down a sacrifice bunt to squeeze Navarro in from third and push the lead to 6-0.
After peppering the Tigers with six hits over the fifth and sixth innings, Liberty was finally able to scratch across a run in the top of the sixth.
Back to back singles through the left side of the infield by Ashley Williams and Beth Bennett gave the Lady Flames runners at first and second. J'nae Jefferson followed with a RBI base hit up the middle, plating Williams and cutting the lead to five, 6-1.
However, the Tigers put the game out of reach with five runs in the bottom of the sixth, highlighted by a four-run, game-ending grand slam by Stef Streets.
Shannon Johnston picked up the victory for the Tigers, scattering eight hits over six innings of work, while fanning three batters in the complete-game effort.
Smith suffered the loss in her first collegiate start, surrendering five runs, two of which were earned, on two hits, while walking five and fanning two. Sarah Ellis finished off the final four-plus inning by allowing six earned runs on four hits, walking three and striking out four.
Fudurich led the Tigers from the plate, as the first baseman was 2-for-2 with two runs scored and a RBI. Navarro scored three times, while Streets drove in five total, including the grand slam homer to end the game.
Bennett and Cossentino led the Lady Flames from the plate, with both players going 2-for-3 from the plate. Jefferson drove in the lone run for Liberty, as the sophomore was 1-for-2 on the day.
The Lady Flames will conclude their second day's action at the College of Charleston Cougar Classic later this evening when Liberty faces Kennesaw State. First pitch for the day's final game is scheduled for 8 p.m.