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Three-Run Frames Lead Tigers Past Lady Flames
With the victory, Towson's second over the Lady Flames during the past two weekends, evens the Tigers' record at 3-3. The loss, Liberty's fifth in a row, drops the Lady Flames' record to 1-6-1.
The Tigers jumped out on top in the third inning, plating three runs on five hits during the course of the frame. Mindy Bean led off the inning with a sharply hit single into left, followed by her third stolen base of the year.
Leadoff hitter Kim Lempa gave Towson runners at the corners with a single just to the left of the bag at second. Sammi DiPompo then hit one off the end of the bat and legged out an infield single, but Dana Wheeler's attempted throw to get the second baseman sailed down the right-field line, allowing Bean and Lempa to score on the miscue.
DiPompo, who was at second after the throwing error, advanced to third on groundout and scored on Stephanie Fudurich's base hit back up the middle to give the Tigers a 3-0 lead.
Towson doubled its lead in the fourth, scoring three more on two hits and a pair of Liberty mistakes to stake its claim to a six-run lead, 6-0.
Wheeler got Meaghan Clark to strikeout, but the ball got by Keely McMillon behind the plate, allowing her field counterpart to reach first base.
Lempa grounded back to Wheeler in the circle, but the lefty wasn't able to make the play, giving Towson a pair of base runners. Two batters later, Nina Navarro singled to center, driving in Clark, while Stephanie Fudurich capped off the three-run inning with a single to the gap in left center, plating Lempa and Navarro.
The Tigers tacked on two additional runs in the top of the sixth, bringing the contest to end an inning short. Lempa led off the frame with a triple down the left-field line, and scored on a sacrifice fly by DiPompo. Navarro reached base on a dropped fly ball to right and later scored on a base-loaded walk to give the Tigers their final runs of the contest.
Following a walk and a base hit in the first inning, Claire Rietmann-Groutt faced the minimum the remainder of the contest, retiring all but one of the next 15 batters in succession.
The junior picked up her first victory of the year to move to 1-0 on the year, allowing just the first-inning single, while walking two and fanning five batters.
Wheeler suffered the loss for Liberty, allowing six total runs, one of which was earned, on nine hits during 3 2/3 innings of work, while striking out five. Sarah Ellis finished the last 2 1/3 innings of the game, allowing two runs on a hit, while walking three and striking out three.
Towson's first three batters combined to score six of the Tigers' eight runs, while Lempa paced the way for the team from the plate by going 3-for-4 with three runs scored. Fudurich followed by going 2-for-3 with three RBI. The Tigers combined to record an opponent season-high 10 hits during the contest.
Liberty's lone hit on the afternoon came off the bat of Ashley Williams, as the senior singled through the left side of the infield during the first inning. Shannon McKain finished the afternoon 0-for-2, bringing to a halt her five-game hitting streak. However, the base knock by Williams pushes her hitting streak to four straight.
The Lady Flames will begin the championship play in the Silver Bracket of the Pirate Clash, tomorrow morning at the ECU Softball Field. Liberty will be pitted against Big South and arch rival Radford, with first pitch for the contest slated for 9 a.m.