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Terriers Edge Liberty to Open USF Showcase

March 14, 2008
|  Clearwater, Fla.
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Dana Wheeler recorded her second-highest striketout total of the year with eight against Boston University on Friday.

Dana Wheeler recorded her second-highest striketout total of the year with eight against Boston University on Friday.

Boston University scratched across single runs in the fourth and sixth innings and then left the ball in Kelley Engman's hands. And the freshman tossed her first collegiate shutout, leading her squad to a 2-0 victory in both team's opening games at the USF Under Armour Showcase, Friday afternoon, on Field 2 of the Eddie C. Moore Softball Complex.

With the victory, the Terriers raise their season record to 6-9 on the year. The loss, Liberty's eighth straight, drops the Lady Flames' record to 2-15-1 on the year.

The game remained quiet until the fourth inning, when both teams had a scoring opportunity. But, the Terriers were the only team to push a run across the plate.

For Liberty, J'nae Jefferson led off the top of the fourth by dropping a double into the gap in right center. After Shannon McKain moved the shortstop over to third with a sacrifice bunt, Engman got Keely McMillon and Ashley Williams to keep the ball inside the infield, thwarting Liberty's chance to take the early lead.

However, Boston University didn't squander their scoring chance and took an early 1-0 lead in the bottom half of the inning. Christy Leath started the scoring frame with a single through the left side of the infield. Pinch runner Molly Gallagher swiped her fourth stolen base of the year, and moved to third on Melissa Dubay's groundout to second.

Starting pitcher Dana Wheeler induced another ground ball by Rachel Hebert to short, but the first baseman was able to beat out the play at the bag, allowing Gallagher to score and break the scoreless tie.

The Terriers plated an insurance run in the bottom of the sixth, stringing together four-consecutive hits to lead to the game's final run.

Shayne Lotito started the inning with a single just off the end of the bat that spun in front of the plate long enough for the left fielder to beat out the throw. Leath followed with her second hit of the game, a base knock to left, while Dubay dropped a surprise bunt down the third base line to load the bases.

And for the second time on the afternoon, Hebert came through in the clutch for the Terriers, lacing a single into left center to drive in Lotito.

Wheeler was able to keep the damage to a nominal amount, fanning her seventh and eighth batters of the game and getting Melanie Delgado to pop up to the catcher to end the inning with just one run allowed.

However, the freshman from Boston University got the Lady Flames to go down in order in the top of the seventh, securing her second victory of the year and her first collegiate shutout.

The righty was masterful in the contest, scattering three hits over seven innings of work to move to 2-3 on the season. Of the 21 outs recorded by the Terriers, the hurler get 16 by virtue of groundouts, helping her squad battle a steady rain most of the game by keeping the ball in the infield.

Wheeler suffered the loss for Liberty to fall to 1-4 on the year, despite recording her second-highest strikeout total of the year at eight. The sophomore allowed two runs on nine hits during six innings of work.

Four different Terriers finished the game 2-for-3 to record eight of Boston University's nine hits, as Lotito, Leath, Hebert and Delgado each recorded multiple-hit contests.

Liberty was limited to three single-hit performances, as Jefferson and McMillon were 1-for-3 and McKain was 1-for-2 from the dish.

The Lady Flames were scheduled to face Penn State later on this evening to conclude the first day's action at the USF Under Armour Showcase; however, due to continual rain in the greater Clearwater area, the remainder of the first day's action has been washed out.

Liberty will now return to action tomorrow afternoon at 1 p.m. against Dartmouth and Chattanooga at 4 p.m. All of tomorrow's action will be played at various fields at the Eddie C. Moore Softball Complex.