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Hatters Complete Sweep with 2-1 Victory
The twinbill taking gives the homestanding Hatters' their 20th victory of the year, moving the team's mark to 20-8. The mark includes seven in a row. The loss drops Liberty's record to 2-12-1 and accounts for the squad's fifth-straight setback.
The Stetson pitching staff has been dominating of late, recording shutouts in six of its last eight outings. Over the last 10 games, the Hatters' hurlers have allowed only three runs. Liberty's fifth-inning run snapped Stetson's streak of 33-consecutive innings without allowing a run.
The game remained scoreless until the bottom of the fourth inning, when starting pitcher Sarah Ellis had some control problems and walked in the game's first run.
Leonor Carreno started the frame with an infield single to first, as the speedy runner beat out a play at the bag. Following a fly ball to center field for the frame's second out, Ellis struggled to find the plate, walking three-consecutive batters. The third free pass was issued to Blythe Golden, forcing in Carreno from third for the game's first dent on the scoreboard.
Liberty quickly answered back in the top of the fifth inning. The Lady Flames plated the equalizer on a hit and two Stetson errors, with the ball never leaving the infield during the frame.
Amber DePasquale led off the inning with an infield single through the middle. Leah Cossentino followed by putting down a sacrifice bunt. On the bunt, Erica Demers' throw to first would get by Nicole Forbes covering at first, allowing DePasquale to move to third.
Jessica Leary kept things going for Liberty, putting down another sacrifice bunt. Demers tried to get the charging DePasquale at the plate, but the throw was off target, allowing the center fielder to score and break the Hatters' opponent scoreless streak.
However, the tie ball game was short lived. Stetson regained the lead in the bottom half of the frame. Lindsay Wightman led off the inning with a sharply hit single through the left side of the infield. Two batters later, Amanda Lindsey doubled off the base of the fence in straightaway center field, putting two runners in scoring position.
Carreno was called on to try a suicide squeeze bunt, but was unable to get the bat on the ball, leaving Wightman caught in a run down between home and third. However, Ashley Williams' throw to third was mishandled, allowing the Hatters' third baseman to score and give the Hatters a 2-1 edge.
The remainder of the game was left in the hands of the pitchers, as the two hurlers combined to scatter 10 hits and allow only the three runs.
Demers picked up her second-straight victory over Liberty, pushing her record to 10-2 on the season. The junior allowed four hits and an unearned run, while striking out four batters during her 12th complete game of the year.
Ellis, the tough-luck loser, falls to 1-5. The junior scattered six hits over six innings of work, allowing two runs, while walking four and striking out three.
Wightman and Carreno paced the Hatters at the plate. Both batters went 2-for-3 with a run scored in the contest.
Liberty's hits were scattered among four players, as Beth Bennett, Williams and DePasquale all went 1-for-3, while Cassie Hendrix was 1-for-4.
The Lady Flames will continue their Spring Break tour of the Sunshine State tomorrow, when Liberty travels to Orlando, Fla., for a pair of single games at the UCF Softball Complex. The Lady Flames will play the Golden Knights at 1 p.m., followed by a match-up with No. 16 Baylor at 3 p.m.
The Lady Bears will be looking to avenge one of the hallmark victories in Liberty program history. Last year, the Lady Flames upended Baylor, 4-0, at the Bank of Hawaii Invitational in Honolulu, Hawaii. The Lady Bears were ranked No. 10 in the nation at the time.