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Lady Flames Drop Second Straight in Extras

March 15, 2008
|  Clearwater, Fla.
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Beth Bennett was 2-for-4, while driving in both of Liberty's run against Chattanooga on Saturday.

Beth Bennett was 2-for-4, while driving in both of Liberty's run against Chattanooga on Saturday.

After playing 18 straight that ended in regulation or less, Liberty played its second-straight extra-inning contests, losing this time in 10 innings. Chattanooga plated a run in the bottom of the 10th to complete a 3-2 come-from-behind victory, Saturday afternoon, closing out Liberty's action in the second day at the USF Under Armour Showcase.

With the victory, the Mocs improve to 16-13 on the season. The loss brings Liberty's season-to-date record to 2-17-1, tying the program's longest losing streak since 2004, as the Lady Flames have dropped 11-straight.

Liberty wasted little time jumping out to a lead, scoring the game's first run in the top of the first inning. Lead-off hitter Cassie Hendrix opened the game with a single to left field.

Two batters later, Hendrix moved to second, as Shannon McKain was issued a free pass. Beth Bennett followed with a single up the middle, driving in Hendrix with her team-leading sixth RBI of the season, to give Liberty the early 1-0 lead.

Bennett came through again in the top of the sixth inning, finding center field with another base hit. J'nae Jefferson was awarded first base when starting pitcher Michelle Fuzzard was called for an illegal pitch on a 3-2 count.

After swiping her first stolen base of the year, Jefferson scored when Bennett hit a two-out single to center to push Liberty's advantage to two runs, 2-0.

The Mocs finally broke through in the bottom of the sixth inning, plating two runs on three hits to tie the game at 2-2. Lead-off hitter Tara Tembey singled to right field and was awarded second when the ball rolled underneath both Jenna Eatmon's glove and the fence in right.

Fuzzard helped out her own cause, trading places with Tembey at second by doubling to the gap in right center. Hutchinson kept the rally going for Chattanooga, with a single to center to drive in pinch runner Della Harrison and knot the score at 2-2.

Neither team could push across their international tiebreaker runner who was placed at second in the eighth and ninth innings, leaving the game tied at 2-2 heading into the 10th.

After Liberty failed to score in the top of the 10th, the Mocs got runners at the corners after Courtney Johnson' wasn't able to field Kristin Holloway's attempt sacrifice bunt.

Following an intentional walk issued to Tiffany Baker to load the bases, Lynleigh Hurndon dropped in a base hit to right center over the heads of a drawn-in infield to end the game.

Kandice Irwin picked up the victory in relief of Fuzzard, tossing four hitless innings, in which she walked one and struck out eight. Fuzzard tossed the first six frames, allowing two runs on five hits.

Sarah Ellis suffered the loss in relief of starting pitcher Dana Wheeler to fall to 1-8 on the year. The junior allowed the one team unearned run in the 10th on her only hit allowed, walking and striking out two batters during three-plus innings of work.

Wheeler allowed two runs on six hits during the first six innings of the game, while striking out four batters.

Offensively, Laci Upchurch and Fuzzard led the Mocs by going 2-for-4 from the plate, while Upchurch scored the game-deciding run.

Liberty had its highest hit total (5) since banging out six hits during a 7-0 victory on Presbyterian last Saturday. Bennett paced the Liberty attack going 2-for-4 day at the plate with two RBI.

The Lady Flames will close out action at the USF Under Armour Showcase tomorrow when they face Dartmouth at 2 p.m., on Field 3 at the Eddie C. Moore Softball Complex. Liberty was scheduled to play one additional game on Sunday, but due to rains which shorted the day on Friday, each of the 25 teams in the tournament lost a game.