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Liberty Falls to No. 14 Baylor on the Diamond

March 12, 2008
|  Orlando, Fla.
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Courtney Johnson and the Lady Flames faced their first nationally ranked opponent of the year when they squared off against No. 14 Baylor, who Liberty knocked off last year.

Courtney Johnson and the Lady Flames faced their first nationally ranked opponent of the year when they squared off against No. 14 Baylor, who Liberty knocked off last year.

A four-run third inning broke open a closely contested game, as No. 14 Baylor handed Liberty an 8-0 loss, Wednesday afternoon, in the first of three games scheduled to be played at the UCF Softball Complex on the day.

With the victory, Baylor ups its record to 17-5 on the year. The loss drops the Lady Flames' mark on the year to 2-13-1, extending Liberty's losing skid to six straight. The contest accounted for the sixth-consecutive year Liberty has squad off against a nationally ranked opponent.

The win for the Lady Bears avenged last year's setback to Liberty at the Bank of Hawaii Invitational, hosted by Hawaii in Honolulu, Hawaii. Liberty plated two runs in the first and another pair in the fifth to shutout No. 10 Baylor, 4-0, marking one of three nationally ranked teams Liberty knocked off during its 36-26 season.

Three members of this year's roster played a factor in the upset victory, starting with J'nae Jefferson, who went 2-for-3 with a run scored. Courtney Johnson scored a run, while Sarah Ellis came into to halt a late rally by Baylor to record her second of four saves on the year.

This year's outcome was different, as the Lady Bears jumped out to an early lead, mounting a two-out rally in the bottom of the first inning. Brette Reagen laced a two-out double down the left-field line, directly followed by Courtney Oberg finding the gap in left center to drive in Reagan and give Baylor a 1-0 edge.

Baylor pushed its lead to five runs, pushing four across on six hits during the third inning. The four-run frame was highlighted by a two-RBI double to the fence in left center off the bat of Oberg and a RBI single that just dropped inside the left-field line by Nicole Wesley.

The Lady Bears extended their lead to six runs in the fourth, as Brette Reagan drew an infield single in the second base area.

Following a groundout by new catcher Colby Vanham, which moved Reagan to second, the third baseman scored on a RBI single to left by Alex Colyer by just beating out a strong throw to the plate by left fielder Shannon McKain.

The Lady Bears ended the game in the bottom of the fifth inning, when Baylor scored the game's final two runs. Taylor Marcam started the two-run frame with a single through the left side of the infield. Following a stolen base by pinch runner Maritza Martinez, Kirsten Shortridge drove in Martinez with a single to center.

After an infield single off the bat of KJ Freeland, Reagan ended the game with a single to the gap in right center, driving in Shortridge to finish the contest.

Jenny Isham upped her record to 10-1 on the year, allowing just two base runners on the afternoon. Both came in the third inning, as Courtney Johnson drew a walk, followed by a single to left by Cassie Hendrix. The hurler ended the game with one walk and four strikeouts during the complete-game effort.

Dana Wheeler suffered the loss for Liberty, allowing six runs, five of which were earned, on 11 hits during four innings of work to fall to 1-3 on the year. Tiffani Smith pitched the fifth, allowing the last two runs on four hits.

Baylor pounded out a Liberty opponent-high 15 hits during the contest. Reagan led the way, as the third baseman was 3-for-4 with three runs scored, followed by Colyer, who was a perfect 3-for-3 from the plate, with a run scored and a RBI.

The Lady Flames will close today's softball action against field host UCF, starting approximately 30 minutes following the conclusion of the Baylor contest.