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Wheeler Fans 12 to Lead Liberty to Victory
The win was the Lady Flames' first of the early season, raising Liberty's record to 1-1-1. With the loss, Kennesaw State falls to 9-3 on the year.
The Lady Flames wasted little time taking an early lead, jumping out to a 3-0 advantage in the top of the first inning. Amber DePasquale reached base on a fielder's choice play, followed by Shannon McKain's base hit to right center.
Ashley Williams kept things rolling for Liberty with an RBI double down the right-field line, plating DePasquale for the game's first run. Beth Bennett capped off the three-run frame with a towering two-run shot well over the fence in left, staking Liberty to a 3-0 lead.
The subsequent four and a half innings proved to be a pitcher's duel, with the two teams combining for just one hit, as Kennesaw State's Kelsey Kulk doubled to left center to lead off the top of the fifth inning.
Liberty was able to find its bats again in the top of the sixth inning, adding four insurance runs to seal the victory. Cassie Hendrix led off the frame by reaching base on a throwing error, as Jessica Cross was able to snag a hot shot down at third base, but was unable to complete the play and make the throw to first.
DePasquale followed with an infield single deep in the hole at shortstop, followed by McKain's second hit of the game, a single up the middle to load the bases.
Two batters later, Bennett struck again with her second two-RBI base hit, this time coming with a single up the middle to score Hendrix and DePasquale. Keely McMillon finished off the four-run frame with a double to the fence in right-center field, driving in McKain and Bennett to give Liberty a seven-run edge, 7-0.
And that would proved to be enough run support for Wheeler, as the sophomore starting pitcher picked up her third career victory, surrendering just one hit on the double in the fifth, while fanning 12 batters to move to 1-0 on the season.
Liberty roughed up Owls' starting pitcher Angela Lopez for five runs, four of which were earned, on four hits during five innings of work, despite the hurler striking out nine batters. Jessica Cross allowed the final two runs on three hits over the last two innings of action.
Bennett led the Lady Flames from the plate, going 2-for-3 with two runs scored and four RBI. McKain followed with a 2-for-3 performance from the plate with a run scored, while DePasquale scored two runs and was 1-for-4.
The Lady Flames will close out action at the College of Charleston Cougar Classic tomorrow at 2 p.m., when they face the Wolfpack of N.C. State. The contest was originally scheduled for a Noon start, but was moved due to the altered schedule following a rain-shortened day on Friday.