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Spartans Earn Split with Game Two Win over LU
The win earned the visiting Spartans a split on the afternoon in the non-conference double dip, as Liberty won the opener, 1-0, in a pitcher's duel. The victory pushs UNC Greensboro's record to 10-19 and snaps its nine-game losing streak. The loss drops Liberty to 4-20-1.
UNC Greensboro took the game's first lead in the bottom of the first inning by taking advantage of a Lady Flames miscue. Leadoff hitter Mary Greenway lofted a ball to left field, but the ball slipped out of the glove of a charging Shannon McKain.
The speedy runner, who moved to second on the dropped ball, advanced to third on a wild pitch and scored on Whitney Sirois fielder's choice ground ball to give the visiters a 1-0 lead.
The Lady Flames quickly tied the game in the bottom of the second when Keely McMillon clocked her first collegiate home run, sending a lead-off shot over the fence in center to open the second.
The back-and-forth exchange continued when Greenway beat out an infield single to open the third. The speedster swiped second for her 21st stolen base of the year, helping her score on Leslie Furness' single down the left-field line.
The long ball continued to play a factor on the day for Liberty. Ashley Williams got the green light on a 3-0 count and sent the offering from Hannah Angel out of the park in left center to knot the contest at 2-2.
The Spartans recaptured the advantage with a pair of runs, one aided by another Liberty error. Kaitlin Merkt started the frame with a single to center and moved to second on a groundout by Whitney Miller.
Mary Catherine Vercoe gave the Spartans runners at the corners with a single to left, while Lyndsay Mouse's base hit center, UNCG's third of the inning, drove in Merkt to break the tie.
No. 9 batter Kristen Gabel grounded to Leah Cossentino at shortstop, but the freshman couldn't make the play, allowing pinch runner Laura Olenderski to cross the plate on the miscue and push the Spartans lead to two runs, 4-2.
Liberty trimmed the lead in half during the bottom of the fifth inning, thanks to a lead-off double to left by Amber DePasquale. Two batters later, Williams struck again with a single up the middle to drive in the centerfielder and cut the edge to one, 4-3.
The Lady Flames mounted a last-inning, two-out threat with hits by Cassie Hendrix and Bennett, but Hannah Angel was able to get a groundout to secure the complete-game victory.
Angel allowed three runs on eight hits during seven innings of work, walking two and striking out six to up her record to 4-9.
Sarah Ellis suffered the loss, falling to 1-11 on the year, as she allowed four runs, two of which were earned, on five hits over 5 1/3 innings of work. Tiffani Smith finished off the final 1 2/3 innings of the game, allowing one hit, while walking and fanning two batters.
The Lady Flames started to find the long ball on the afternoon, a staple for Liberty over the last several seasons. Liberty entered the day with five home runs during its first 23 games, but clocked three on the afternoon during their first two home games of the year.
Last year, Liberty hit 31 home runs at the Liberty Softball Field en route to a school record 73 round trippers on the year.
Williams and Bennett paced Liberty's eight-hit attack, each going 2-for-4 from the plate. Bennett's multiple-hit effort pushed her hitting streak to six games.
Greenway led the Spartans from the dish, going 2-for-4 and scored two of the team's four runs.
The Lady Flames are in the middle of a much-needed break, following 23 games to open the first 25 games of the year. Today's doubleheader with UNC Greensboro was the lone outing on Liberty's schedule over a 15-day span.
The Lady Flames are next scheduled to return to action on April 2, when they welcome intra-state opponent James Madison to the Liberty Softball Field. First pitch for the afternoon twinbill is slated for 2 p.m.