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Liberty Beats Coastal to Advance in Tourney

May 9, 2008
|  Rock Hill, S.C.
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J'nae Jefferson was 3-for-4 with a her third home run of the year pacing Liberty's 10-hit attack against Coastal Carolina.

J'nae Jefferson was 3-for-4 with a her third home run of the year pacing Liberty's 10-hit attack against Coastal Carolina.

No. seed 4 Liberty plated runs in six-consecutive innings, highlighted by three in the fifth, to claim a 8-2 victory over No. 3 Coastal Carolina in Game 8 of the 2008 Big South Softball Championship, Friday evening, at Terry Field.

The victory, Liberty's second on the day to stave off elimination in the loser's bracket, ups the Lady Flames' record to 19-39-1 on the season. The loss brings to a close Coastal Carolina's season at 20-40.

The Lady Flames scored first in the contest, plating a run on a pair of doubles in the top of the second. J'nae Jefferson opened the frame by lacing a two-base hit to the gap in right center field.
After a sacrifice bunt by Keely McMillon moved Jefferson to third, Leah Cossentino popped up to third, but the ball was dropped by Alicia Irwin to give Liberty runners at the corners.

With Shannon McKain up at the plate, both runners took off for the next base, with Cossentino taking second and Jefferson getting picked off third. On the next pitch, McKain stroked the inning's second double to the gap in right center, plating Cossentino and staking the Lady Flames to the early 1-0 lead.

Liberty added to its lead in the top of the third inning, thanks to some control issues by Coastal Carolina's pitchers. Starting pitcher Ashley Pederson struck Cassie Hendrix and walked Beth Bennett.

Following a base hit through the left side of the infield by Ashley Williams to load the bases, Pederson was pulled from the game and was replaced by Michelle Evans. The third pitch offered by the reliever got by catcher Ashley Pisone, allowing Hendrix to score and push Liberty's lead to two runs, 2-0.

For the third-straight inning, Liberty extended its lead, starting with an infield single by Jenna Eatmon, as the right fielder slapped a ball deep into the hole at shortstop.

After a walk was issued to Amber DePasquale, Hendrix got a single that clipped the glove of Verity Long-Droppert at second base, allowing Eatmon to score and push the visitor's mark on the scoreboard to three runs, 3-0.

The Chanticleers were finally able to scratch a run off the plate, scoring one on three hits in the bottom of the fourth thanks to a two-out rally. Kelsey Riffel doubled to start the rally, with a two-base hit to the fence in left center.

Alyssa Tornatore followed with a single through the left side of the infield, while Laicole Walker got Coastal Carolina's third-straight hit with a single up the middle to plate Riffel and trim Liberty's lead to two runs, 3-1.

However, Liberty was able to push its lead back to a comfortable margin with three runs in the top of the fifth inning. Williams opened the frame with a solo home run to left, the 43rd of her career.

After a single to left center by Jefferson and a pair of fielding errors loaded the bases for Liberty, Eatmon lined a shot off of relief pitcher Ashley Frederick's leg into left center, allowing pinch runner Elena Lampman and Cossentino to score and push Liberty's lead to five, 6-1.

Coastal Carolina was able to cut into Liberty's margin with a run in the bottom of the fifth inning. Allison Cantrell opened the frame by drawing a walk from relief pitcher Sarah Ellis and later scored on an RBI base hit down the left field line by Alicia Irwin to trim the lead to four runs, 6-2.

Liberty quickly took the five-run advantage back, 7-2, as Jefferson clocked her third home run of the year, sending a 1-0 offering over the fence in left field in the top of the sixth inning.

An extra base hit in the top of the seventh gave Liberty its final run, as McKain led off the seventh inning with a walk and scored on a DePasquale triple to the gap in left field to account for the game's final run.

Smith proved to be the victor in Liberty's second two and half hour game of the day, picking up her second win of the day to improve to improve to 7-13. The freshman tossed four innings, allowing one run on six hits, while walking two and fanning five batters.

Ellis finished off the final three innings, allowing a run on a hit, while walking one and striking out another.

Pederson suffered the loss for the Chanticleers to end the year 8-13, as she was roughed up for five runs, two of which were earned, in five hits during the first 2 1/3 innings of work.

Evans tossed 1 2/3 innings, allowing a run on two hits, while Frederick finished off the final three innings by allowing two runs on three hits.

Both teams combined to leave nine runners on bats, giving the Lady Flames 25 runners stranded during their combined two games on the day. For the second time on the day and the fourth time in five games, Liberty recorded double-digits hits with 10 base hits during in the game.

Jefferson paced Liberty's 10-hit attack, going 3-for-4 during the contest, highlighted by the solo home run in the sixth. Eatmon followed by going 2-for-3 with two RBIs, while Williams was 2-for-4 with a run scored and another driven in.

With the victory, the Lady Flames advance to the final game of the second day at the 2008 Big South Softball Championship. No. 4 Liberty will face arch rival and No. 2 seed Radford 20 minutes following the conclusion of the contest in Game 9 of the Championship.