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Smith Holds Hampton's Bats in Check for Win
With the victory, Liberty moves its record to 12-34-1 on the season following its third-straight triumph. The loss halts a three-game winning streak for Hampton, dropping the Lady Pirates to 24-13 on the year.
The Lady Flames made their first dent on the scoreboard in the top of the third inning, thanks to back-to-back two-out hits. Cassie Hendrix started the two-run frame with a bunt single down the third-base line.
After advancing to second on a wild offering from Pirates starting pitcher Amanda Black, Hendrix and Ashley Williams traded places when Williams singled up the middle to plate Hendrix.
Williams, who advanced to second on the attempted throw to get Hendrix at home, scored when Shannon McKain dropped a RBI single down the right-field line to stake Liberty to an early 2-0 lead.
Liberty added to its advantage in the top of the fifth inning by playing some small ball. Hendrix reached base on her second infield single, with a bunt down the third-base line.
The second baseman moved to second on Black's second wild pitch of the game and to third on Beth Bennett's fly out to center field. McKain followed by putting down a successful suicide squeeze bunt, allowing Hendrix to score and extending the Lady Flames' margin to three runs, 3-0.
The rest of the game was dominated by Smith, who upped her record to 4-10 on the season with one of her best pitching performances. The rookie fanned a season-best 10 batters, while allowing two hits. The first was a leadoff hit to Evelyn Garcia in the first and the second was an infield double, as Hendrix lost sight of a high fly ball by Garcia in the sixth.
Black suffered the loss for Hampton, allowing three runs on six hits during her 18th complete game of the year. The righty walked two and struck out three to fall to 14-8.
Hendrix and Williams led the Lady Flames from the plate with a pair of two-hit games. Hendrix was 2-for-4 with two runs scored, while Williams was a perfect 2-for-2 with a run scored and a RBI. Williams' double in the third inning was the 47th of her career, tying her for first place on Liberty's all-time career doubles list with Shannon Tanski.
Garcia was the lone Lady Pirate to record a hit, finishing the game 2-for-3 from the dish.
Liberty and Hampton will return to Lady Pirate Field for the second game of today's double dip following a 20-minute intermission. The doubleheader nightcap will conclude an 11-game stretch for Liberty against in-state opponents.