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Williams And Jeffs Homers Lift Lady Flames To Victory Over Winthrop At Big South Softball Championship
A three-run homer by Ashley Williams in the third and a grand slam home run by Dawn Jeffs in the fourth propelled No. 3 seed Liberty to an 8-3 victory over No. 5 seed Winthrop in Game 8 of the 2006 Big South Softball Championship presented Aéropostale, Friday afternoon, at Dedmon Center Field.
The victory gives Liberty its 40th victory of the season, marking the second time in the history of the program that Liberty has recorded 40 wins in a year. Liberty is now 40-22 on the season, leaving the squad just a win short of the school record as the 1999 team finished the season with a 41-25 record.
The Eagles jumped out to a quick 3-0 lead in the top of the first inning as Winthrop capitalized on a Liberty error to extend the inning and jump out to the three-run lead.
Lisa Kingsmore started things off with a single down the left field line, while Sarah Magee grounded back to Sarah Swor in the circle but she wasn't able to handle the ball and both runners were safe on the play.
Both runners advanced a base as Hilary Peacock grounded out to second base, while Laura Hill dropped in a single to left field to plate Kingsmore and Magee. Lindsey Merriman followed with a single to right field to drive in Hill to cap off the three-run first inning.
The score remained the same until the third inning when the Lady Flames finally got their offense going, beginning with a single up the middle by Terra Lowe. Jessica Leary moved the runner up with a sacrifice fly, while Jessica Moore reached base on a walk.
Jeffs followed with a single through the left side of the infield, while Beth Bennett gave Liberty its first run of the game when she lofted a fly ball to left field that allowed Lowe to score on the sacrifice fly.
Williams followed with a three-run homer well over the fence in straightaway center field, marking the second-team all-conference catcher's 14th homer of the season, giving Liberty a 4-3 lead. The three RBI on the play gives the sophomore 60 on the season, tying the school record as Meredith Hollyfield also recorded 60 RBI in 2000.
The Lady Flames continued to add to their lead in the fourth inning, starting with an infield single off the bat of Beth Hensley, while Leary added a single through the left side of the infield to give Liberty runners at the corners.
Moore, who entered the game tied for the conference lead with 20 home runs, was issued an intentional free pass to load the bases. And Jeffs make Winthrop play for the decision as the first-team all-conference honoree connected on her seventh home run of the year with an opposite field grand slam to give Liberty an 8-3.
Swor was able to settle down over the final six innings of the game as the junior scattered five hits over the last six frames to up her record to 16-10 on the season. In total, Swor allowed eight hits and three unearned runs in the complete-game victory.
Izzy Trottier suffered the loss as she allowed four runs on four hits in 2 2/3 innings of work to fall to 2-7 on the year, while Shahna Ashard (0.2 IP, 3 H, 4 R, 4 ER, 1 BB, 1 SO) and Julie Harvey (2.2 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 2 SO) finished off the rest of the game.
Jeffs led the Lady Flames from the plate as she was 2-for-3 with two runs scored and four RBI, while Williams was 1-for-2 with a run scored and three RBI.
With the victory, No. 3 seed Liberty advances to Game 10 of the 2006 Big South Softball Championship where they will face No. 4 Birmingham-Southern, who earlier today defeated No. 6 Texas A&M Corpus Christi, 8-0, in an elimination game.