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Johnson Tosses Shutout in 2-0 Liberty Win
Liberty pitcher Kat Johnson picked up her second consecutive shutout win as the Lady Flames defeated Coastal Carolina, 2-0, Friday afternoon, in Game 1 of a Big South Conference doubleheader.
J'nae Jefferson put the Lady Flames on the board immediately, leading off with a homer to center field in the bottom of the first, her seventh of the year, to give Liberty a 1-0 lead.
The Chanticleers made a threat in the top of the second, loading the bases with just one out on a walk and two singles. But Johnson struck out Olivia Piccirillo, and Mecaela Ballard grounded out to first for the third out, stranding three Coastal Carolina runners.
In the bottom of the second, Kaylee West led off with a walk, and after Bridgett Woods struck out, Meredith Baisden singled on a bunt to the pitcher. Both runners advanced when Amber DePasquale grounded out to second, but the runners couldn't score, as Cassie Hendrix grounded out to first to end the inning.
Coastal Carolina threatened again in the top of the third. Ashley Pisone led off with a single to left, and moved to second on a sacrifice bunt by Sarah Maples. Pisone then moved to third when Jazmin Daigle grounded out to second, but she remained stranded, as Stacy Snellings struck out swinging to end the at-bat.
Hendrix recorded a two-out single for Liberty in the bottom of the fifth, but Jefferson grounded out to pitcher Ashley Frederick to end the inning with the score staying at 1-0.
The Lady Flames cushioned their lead in the bottom of the sixth. Jenny Law drew a walk, and Strickland doubled down the right field line to put runners on second and third. Law then crossed the plate when Ashley Bensinger hit a sacrifice fly to center field, extending the score to 2-0.
The Liberty defense ran into trouble in the top of the seventh. With one out, Alyssa Tornatore singled to left field, and pinch hitter Olivia Williams reached on a Lady Flames fielding error. Both runners advanced when Mecaela Ballard grounded out to first, but the game ended on the next play when Pisone grounded out to third. Liberty walked away with the 2-0 victory.
With the win, Liberty improves to 35-16 overall and 11-5 in Big South Conference play, while the Chanticleers drop to 25-27 overall and 6-10 in the Big South.
Liberty recorded five hits in the contest, and runs were driven in by Jefferson and Bensinger.
Tornatore paced Coastal Carolina, going 2-for-3 at the plate.
Johnson improves to 9-4 with the win, after giving up five hits and striking out three batters in the complete game shutout.
Frederick drops to 14-16 after giving up five hits and recording 10 strikeouts.
The two teams will face off in Game 2 of today's doubleheader later this afternoon.