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Lady Flames Claim Conference's Top Spot With Victory Over Coastal Carolina
Beth Bennett's two-out RBI single in the top of the eighth inning gave Liberty a 2-1 extra inning victory over Coastal Carolina in the first game of a scheduled Big South doubleheader, while the second one was called due to inclement weather Saturday afternoon at CCU Softball Field.
With the victory, the Lady Flames up their record to 34-16 on the season, while Liberty remains undefeated in league play with a 5-0 record. Earlier in the afternoon, Radford dropped its first conference game of the year to Charleston Southern, leaving Liberty as the only undefeated team in the league and atop of the conference standings.
The Chanticleers jumped out to a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the first inning as Sarah Hostetler led off the frame with a double to the fence in right field. After moving to third on a sacrifice bunt by Glynn Tolleson, Hostetler scored the game's first run on a wild pitch to give Coastal Carolina a 1-0 advantage.
The score remained the same until the top of the sixth inning when Jessica Leary led off the inning with a single back up the middle. After advancing to second base on a wild pitch, Beth Bennett came up with a two-out double to right field, plating Leary and knotting the game at 1-1.
Coastal Carolina had an opportunity to score in the bottom of the seventh inning when the Chanticleers were issued three walks in the frame to load the bases, including a pair of two out walks, but starting pitcher Sarah Swor got pinch hitter Lynee Hastings to strikeout out looking to end the threat.
In the top of the eighth inning, pinch hitter Sarah Love struck out looking to start the frame, while Jessica Moore was walked to give Liberty runners at first and second that included pinch runner Erika Rasmussen, who was placed at second base to start the inning as part of the international tiebreaker rule.
After Christine Doyle got Jeffs to strike out for the second out of the inning, Bennett came through for the Lady Flames again with a single down the left field line to plate Rasmussen and give Liberty a 2-1 lead.
The Chanticleers once again threatened in the bottom of the eighth inning as Coastal Carolina had runners on second and third with just one out, but Meagen Johnson lined out to second base, while Jeffs was able to catch Glynn Tolleson off the bag at second to double the catcher up and end the game.
Swor picked up the victory to up her record to 13-8 on the season by scattering three hits over eight innings of work, while allowing a run and striking out eight batters.
Doyle suffered the tough luck loss as she allowed two runs, with just one being earned, while striking out seven and giving up six hits.
Offensively, the Lady Flames were paced by Bennett as the freshman finished the game 3-for-4 with two RBI, while Williams (1-for-4), Beth Hensley (1-for-3) and Leary (1-for-2) recorded the team's remaining three hits.
Inclement weather surrounded the entire day the scheduled 1 p.m. game didn't start until 5:35 p.m. and after a 35 minute weather delay at the start of the second game, the contest was called.
The Lady Flames will put their undefeated conference record on the line this Wednesday when they travel to Radford, Va. to take on Radford. The league twinbill against the Highlanders is scheduled to begin at 2 p.m.