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Liberty Downs Future Big South Foe at Classic
With the victory, the Lady Flames halted their six-game losing skid and raise their record to 2-7-1 on the year. The Blue Hose, who are set to officially join the Big South for softball in 2010, fall to 7-12 with the loss.
Liberty wasted little time taking a lead in the contest, scoring two runs during its first time at the plate. Cassie Hendrix drew a leadoff walk and advanced to second on a sacrifice bunt by Amber DePasquale.
A wild pitch and a second walk, this time issued to Ashley Williams, gave Liberty runners at the corners. Head coach Paul Wetmore called for a double steal in the situation, where Presbyterian could not get out either runner for the game's first run.
Two more wild pitches led to Liberty's second run, with the second allowing Williams to score from third and stake the Lady Flames to a two-run lead, 2-0.
Liberty padded its advantage in the third inning, running up three more runs on the scoreboard to open up a five-run margin, 5-0.
Keely McMillon drew a one-out walk, followed by Jessica Leary's single up the middle, giving the junior her first hit of the season. After both runners advanced on a sacrifice bunt by Hendrix, DePasquale grounded to short for what should have been the third out of the inning.
However, the ball got by Kayla Handy to extend the inning and allow McMillon to cross the plate. Williams followed and took advance of the lengthened inning by singling to left center and driving in Leary and DePasquale to cap off the three-run frame.
Liberty plated insurance runs in the bottom of the fourth and sixth innings. During the fourth, Hendrix led off the frame with an infield single, followed by a wild pitch and a passed ball. Two batters later, Williams struck out swinging, but the ball was dropped by Krystal Handy and on the throw down to first, the speedy Hendrix scored.
The Lady Flames capped off the contest, which saw Liberty tie a season high for runs scored, when Hendrix once again led off the inning with a single up the middle. Following singles by Williams and Beth Bennett, the freshman scored the game's final run on a sacrifice fly by Shannon McKain.
The remainder of the game belonged to junior Sarah Ellis, as the hurler allowed just one hit on a single to left by Laura Tate in the sixth inning. The hurler picked up her first win of the year (1-3), going the distance, as she tied a season high with seven batters fanned and walked just three.
Paige Cassidy suffered the loss for the Blue Hose, dropping to 2-4 on the year. The sophomore allowed six runs, two of which were earned, on three hits, while walking seven and issuing four wild pitches.
Erin Stewart finished off the final two innings of the game, allowing a run on three hits, while walking one, striking out another and tossing two wild pitches to give the Blue Hose six during the contest.
Hendrix and Williams led the Lady Flames with two hits apiece. Hendrix was 2-for-2 with three runs scored, while Williams was 2-for-3 with a run scored and two RBI.
The Lady Flames will close out the first day of action at the rain-shorted Hatter Classic later on this evening, when Liberty faces host Stetson. Game time is set for 6:30 p.m.