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Three Homers Lead Liberty Past Siena

March 4, 2011
|  Baltimore, Md.
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Meredith Crisante drove in six runs as the Lady Flames defeated Siena, 11-3.

Meredith Crisante hit two homers and Grace Nordan recorded her first career bomb as the Lady Flames dominated the Saints of Siena, 11-3, during the opening game of the UMBC Retriever Classic.

With the win, the Lady Flames improve to 3-2 on the season, while the loss drops the Saints to 2-3 in 2011.

Liberty's offense came alive, pounding out a season-high 11 hits in the contest, while the Lady Flames defense held Siena to three base hits.

Tiffani Smith picked up the win in the circle, improving to 2-1 on the season, as the senior fanned nine batters. Darcy Gardner (0-1) suffered the loss, giving up six hits and four earned runs in 1.1 innings of work.

The Lady Flames struggled in the first inning, as Siena scored two runs on two hits to take an early lead. After two straight walks by Smith, Shannon Jones singled through the left side to drive in a run. The next batter, Jessica-Jo Sandrini, reached on an infield single to bring in another Siena run and push the lead to 2-0.

Jenny Law recorded Liberty's first hit of the game in the bottom of the first with a one-out single to right center. But she was left stranded, as Ashley Bensinger flied out to center and Kelly Strickland grounded out to third to end the home half of the frame.

The Liberty bats came alive in the bottom of the second, when Kaylee West led off with a single up the middle. One out later, Bridgett Woods ripped a long fly ball over the head of the left-fielder for a double, and West moved to third. Then, Crisante stepped up to homer over the left field fence, giving the Lady Flames a 3-2 advantage.

Amber DePasquale drew a walk, then promptly stole second to keep the inning rolling for the Lady Flames. She then moved to third on a single by Katie Zavodny, and scored on a single to right by Law push move the score to 4-2.

The Lady Flames put more runners on in the bottom of the fourth, when Crisante reached on a Siena error, and DePasquale singled to left center. But the Saints' defense came up with three straight outs to keep Liberty from adding any more runs to their total.

Pinch hitter Nordan, in her first career at-bat, busted a solo homer with two outs in the bottom of the fifth for a 5-2 score. After Woods walked, Crisante hit her second homer of the game, this time to right field, to put Liberty up by five, 7-2.

The Saints responded in the top of the sixth, when Courtney Brinkman hit a solo two-out home run of her own, bringing the score to 7-3.

But Liberty bounced right back in the bottom of the sixth, scoring four runs to end the game with an 11-3 score. After Stephens and Law drew two straight walks, Bensinger singled to right field to load the bases with no outs.

Pinch hitter Keely McMillon and West both forced in runs when they were issued a walk, before Sammi Shivock was out on a sacrifice fly to right field that allowed Bensinger to cross the plate. After a Liberty strikeout, Crisante drove in the game-ending run with a single up the middle.

The Lady Flames were paced by Crisante, who was 3-for-4 with six RBIs and two homers. Law was 2-for-3 at the plate and scored a run.

Crisante's six RBIs trails only players in Liberty history for most RBIs in a game, as the record is held by Amanda Maska (seven vs. East Carolina on April 17, 2004) and Tiffany Johnson (seven vs. West Virginia Tech on April 9, 2005).

Courtney Brinkman led Siena, batting 1-for-3 with an RBI and a run scored.

Liberty is back in action later this morning, taking on Mount St. Mary's in Game 2 of the UMBC Retriever Classic.