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Chanticleers Hold On for Game One Victory
With the game one victory, Coastal Carolina improves to 17-27 on the year and 5-2 in Big South Conference play. The loss drops Liberty's season record to 8-26-1 and evens its league mark at 2-2.
Liberty took the game's first lead, scoring a run on a Coastal Carolina error in the top of the third inning. Amber DePasquale started off the frame by reaching on an infield single deep in the hole at shortstop.
Two batters later, Beth Bennett pushed her personal-best hitting streak to 16-straight games to give Liberty runners at the corners, with a single to right field.
Shannon McKain followed by popping up to second base, but the ball was dropped by a drifting Allison Cantrell. The senior wasn't able to haul in the infield fly, as the ball continued moving toward the first base line due to swirling winds at the ball park. The error allowed DePasquale to score and gave Liberty an early 1-0 edge.
Liberty continued to capitalize on Coastal Carolina miscues, plating another run in the fourth inning to open up a two-run lead. Leah Cossentino reached on an infield hit. Laicole Walker's late throw to first rolled into the first base dugout and allowed the freshman to take second base.
A groundout by Elena Lampman moved Cossentino up to third. DePasquale's RBI base hit through the middle, plated Cossentino and pushed Liberty's lead to 2-0.
However, the extended lead was short lived, as Coastal Carolina tied the game at 2-2 in the bottom of the fourth inning. Verity Long-Droppert opened the inning by drawing a walk, which was quickly followed by a RBI double by Cantrell to the gap in right center field.
Cantrell took third base on the throw off her scoring base hit and tied the game, when a Sarah Ellis pitch skipped in the dirt to the backstop, allowing the senior to score.
The Chanticleers plated a third run during their next at bat to take a 3-2 lead, started by a lead-off base hit up the middle by Alyssa Tornature.
Walker gave Coastal Carolina two base runners, beating out a bunt down the third base line.
Two consecutive sacrifice hits allowed pinch runner Jessica Scott to score the game-winning run. Brittany Birnhaum dropped down a sacrifice bunt to first, followed by a sacrifice fly by Long-Droppert to give the home team the final margin of 3-2.
Liberty mounted a threat in the top of the seventh inning, but came up inches short of tying the game. DePasquale opened the inning with the Lady Flames' third infield base hit of the game.
After swiping her fourth stole base of the year, DePasquale took third base on a sacrifice bunt by Cassie Hendrix. Ashley Williams, looking to extend an 11-game hitting streak wasn't able to do so, as the senior popped up to shortstop for the inning's second out.
Bennett followed by dropping a single over Alicia Irwin's head at third base, but DePasquale got a late jump off the bag at third. Walker was able to pick up the ball and gun the freshman out at the plate to end the contest.
Ashley Pederson went the distance, upping her record on the year to 7-8 by tossing her fifth complete game of the season. The freshman allowed a pair of unearned runs on seven hits, while walking one and striking out two.
Ellis took the loss for Liberty to fall to 3-13, allowing three runs on four hits over her team-leading 13th complete game of the year. The junior finished the game by walking and striking out three bats apiece.
Coastal Carolina evenly spread out its four hits, with three out of its top four hitters in the line-up recording hits. Long-Droppert was 1-for-1 with a RBI, while Cantrell was 1-for-3 with a run scored and a RBI.
Two hitters in Liberty's order accounted for six of Liberty's seven hits. Bennett led the Lady Flames by going 3-for-4 from the dish, while DePasquale was 3-for-3 with a run scored and a RBI.
The Lady Flames and the Chanticleers conclude today's doubleheader with a second game approximately 20 minutes following the conclusion of the first contest. Liberty and Coastal Carolina will wrap up the weekend set of games with the series finale at 1 p.m. tomorrow.