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Lady Flames Claim Game 3 Victory
Seven Liberty batters recorded hits and starting pitcher Kat Johnson tossed a complete-game shutout, as the Lady Flames defeated Presbyterian, 6-0, Sunday afternoon.
The win ends the three-game Big South Conference series, after the Blue Hose swept yesterday's doubleheader, 4-2 and 3-1..
The Lady Flames quickly loaded the bases in the top of the first. J'nae Jefferson led off with a single up the middle and then stole second. Two outs later, Ashley Bensinger was hit by a pitch, and both runners advanced when Kaylee West reached on a fielding error by Presbyterian shortstop Amanda Miller. But Bridgett Woods struck out for out No. 3, ending the Lady Flames' opening at-bat.
The Blue Hose responded with a scoring threat of their own in the bottom of the opening frame.
Tera Powell led off with an infield single, then moved to second on a wild pitch, and advanced to third on a sacrifice bunt by Morgan Durham. But Leslie Hensley struck out looking and Katie Anderson grounded out to shortstop Kelly Strickland to end the inning and leave Powell stranded.
The Lady Flames scored the first run of the game in the top of the third thanks to a Presbyterian miscue. With one out, Jenny Law reached on a single that bounced off of the bag at first. Strickland then hit a deep fly ball to right that was dropped by Brittany Howell, allowing Law to move to third.
Brittany Howell's throw to third went wild, and Law scored on the error, giving Liberty a 1-0 lead.
Liberty enjoyed a sizable inning in the fifth, scoring three runs on a single up the middle by West with the bases loaded. A collision at the plate allowed all three runners to score as West was able to advance to third.
The Blue Hose made a threat in the bottom of the sixth, putting a runner in scoring position with no outs. Pinch hitter Kayla Handy drew a walk and then moved to second when Powell singled through the left side. But third baseman Jefferson made two straight force outs on grounders to third, and Anderson was out on a fly ball to right for the third out.
Liberty cushioned its lead in the top of the seventh, scoring two runs on three hits to extend the score to 6-0, thanks to back-to-back RBI singles from Woods and Meredith Baisden.
The Blue Hose couldn't recover from the six-run deficit in the bottom of the seventh, and Liberty walked away with the win.
The Lady Flames improve to 34-16 overall and 10-5 in the Big South, while Presbyterian drops to 20-25 overall and 4-14 in conference play.
West was 1-for-4 with three RBIs for Liberty, while Jefferson was 2-for-4 with a run scored.
Powell paced the Blue Hose, going 3-for-3 at the plate.
Johnson (8-4) picked up the win in the circle, giving up four hits and striking out four batters in the complete-game appearance. Mary Gordon drops to 7-7 after giving up eight hits and recording six strikeouts in seven innings of work.
The Lady Flames will conclude the 2010 regular season next weekend, hosting Coastal Carolina in a three-game series on Friday and Saturday. Presbyterian will travel to Charleston, S.C., on Thursday, to face College of Charleston in a non-conference doubleheader to wrap up its regular season schedule.