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Lady Flames Split Doubleheader With Bethune-Cookman To End Home Winning Streak
Shannon McKain's game saving catch in the top of the seventh inning helped secure a 4-3 win in the first game against Bethune-Cookman, while the Wildcats plated two runs in the first inning and road a solid pitching performance to a 2-0 rain shorten victory in the second, Monday afternoon, in a non-conference doubleheader at the Liberty Softball Field.
Liberty's one-run victory in the first game gave the Lady Flames their ninth-straight home victory, but the second game loss ended the school record home winning streak while the split gives Liberty a 24-11 record on the season.
In the first game, Liberty jumped out to a quick 3-0 lead in the first inning as Jessica Moore led off the game with a double down the left field line, while Dawn Jeffs followed with her fourth home run of the year with a two-run shot over the fence in left center field. Three batters later, Beth Hensley kept the hot start going as the junior connected on her second round tripper of the season as her solo home run to left center gave Liberty a three-run lead.
The score remained the same until the top of the third inning as Jaimie Scott led off the frame with a single to right field, while moving to second as the ball got by Jessica Leary in right on the play. Ariel Robinson followed with a single back up the middle to plate Scott, while three batters later, Christina Trimble doubled down the left field line to drive in Robinson and trim Liberty's lead to 3-2.
However, Hensley struck again as she led off the bottom half of the inning with a solo homer to left, giving the left fielder her first career multiple home run game and the Lady Flames a 4-2 lead.
The Wildcats pulled back within one in the fourth inning as Breanna Shaw reached with a single to left field and later scored on a RBI base hit that dropped down the left field line by Robinson to trim the lead to 4-3.
Neither team mustered much offense until the top of the seventh inning when Shaterra Davis and Trimble led off the frame with singles. After getting a lineout to first and a fielder's choice out at third base, Shaw drilled a long shot seemingly over the fence in center field for a home run, but center fielder Shannon McKain was able to pull the ball back in the field with the game saving catch to give the Lady Flames the victory.
Moore finished the game 4-for-4 from the plate with a run scored, while Hensley was 3-for-3 with two solo homers to lead the Lady Flames from the plate in the game.
Sarah Swor upped her record to 9-4 on the as she allowed three runs on 12 hits, while striking out four batters in her team-leading ninth complete game of the year. Alissa Noriega suffered the loss as she allowed four runs on eight hits in two innings of work, while Vivera Patterson finished off the final four innings in effective relief by scattering four hits.
In the second game, it was the Wildcats that took the early lead as Davis reached on an infield single, while Trimble followed and reached on a fielder's choice play. Sarde Stewart added another base runner with another infield single to second base, while Andrea Thomas drove in Davis and Trimble with a two RBI double to right center field to give Bethune-Cookman the early lead.
However, that would prove to be all the offense the Wildcats would need as Liberty scratched out just two infield hits over six innings of action before the game was called in the bottom of the seventh inning 25 minutes into a rain delay as the skies opened up and the area was under a tornado warning.
The two infield hits came in the first inning by Dawn Jeffs and Beth Bennett, but Patterson was able to shut the Lady Flames down the remained of the game as she struck out three in six innings of work to up her record to 15-13 on the year.
Sarah Ellis suffered her first collegiate loss as the freshman fell to 7-1 on the year after allowing the two runs on nine hits in her sixth complete game of the year.
The Lady Flames will continue a five-game homestand tomorrow afternoon as they face in-state opponent Virginia for a non-conference doubleheader. First pitch is scheduled for 2 p.m. at the Liberty Softball Field.