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Lady Flames Advance with 2-0 Win Over PC

May 13, 2010
|  Conway, S.C.
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Tiffani Smith struck out eight batters and only gave up two hits in the 2-0 shutout win over the Blue Hose of Presbyterian.

Tiffani Smith struck out eight batters and only gave up two hits in the 2-0 shutout win over the Blue Hose of Presbyterian.

Tiffani Smith held the Blue Hose of Presbyterian to just two hits in a 2-0 shutout win, Thursday afternoon, in the first round of the Big South Softball Championship in Conway, S.C.

With the win, Liberty advances to play the winner of No. 3 Winthrop vs. No. 6 Coastal Carolina game, which is scheduled to begin at 2 p.m. The Lady Flames will face the victory later this evening at 7 p.m.

The contest went through four complete scoreless innings, before big hits from Cassie Hendrix and J'nae Jefferson gave Liberty the lead and eventually sealed the victory.

The Liberty defense ran into trouble early, as the Blue Hose put runners on second and third with no outs in the top of the first.

Tera Powell led off with an infield single and then advanced to second on a wild pitch by Liberty starter Smith. She then moved to third when Amanda Miller reached on a fielding error by Smith with a bunt.

Smith came up with a strikeout for the first out against Taylor Staten. Katie Anderson then flied out to left, and Powell crossed the plate. However, after an appeal by Liberty Head Coach Paul Wetmore, the umpiring crew announced that Powell had left early from third, and the at-bat ended with no runs scored.

Jefferson, a first-team all-conference selection, led off Liberty's opening at bat with a blooper single that dropped into short left field, and promptly stole second. Jenny Law, who led the league this year with 10 sacrifice bunts, laid down another successful tap to move Jefferson to third with one out.

But Jefferson remained stranded, as Kelly Strickland fouled out to third and Ashley Bensinger struck out swinging.

Smith, who picked up Big South Pitcher of the Year honors last night, heated up in the top of the second, striking out two batters looking in the three-up, three-down frame.

Hendrix recorded the second Liberty hit of the game in the bottom of the third with a single to short left center. Two outs later, Strickland ripped a ball deep to right, but Presbyterian right fielder Lindsey Trombley made the catch at the wall for the third out, and the game remained scoreless.

After a quiet fourth inning, Liberty put a runner in scoring position in the bottom of the fifth with one out. Amber DePasquale was hit by a pitch and then reached second on a stolen base. Hendrix followed by recorded her second base hit of the game with a single through the right side, scoring DePasquale and giving the Lady Flames a 1-0 advantage.

Jefferson continued the Lady Flames spark, busting a double to left center to score Hendrix and extend the score to 2-0.

The Blue Hose failed to generate a comeback as Smith retired the final six batters in order, and Liberty walked away with the 2-0 tournament win.

Liberty improves to 38-16 on the year, while Presbyterian drops to 21-27. The Blue Hose will face No. 5 Charleston Southern in an elimination game tomorrow at 9 a.m. The Buccaneers were defeated by No. 4 Gardner-Webb, 8-3, in the first game of the day.

Jefferson was 2-for-3 and Hendrix was 2-for-2, and both drove in runs for the Lady Flames.
Powell and Katie Anderson were each 1-for-3 for Presbyterian.

Smith (19-6) struck out eight batters in the complete-game shutout, her fourth scoreless game of the year, while Leslie Hensley gave up five hits and struck out three batters in the loss.