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Hawkeyes Edge Lady Flames, 4-3
The Iowa Hawkeyes took their second victory in three days over the Lady Flames, with a 4-3 decision to win the 2011 Stetson Classic, Sunday morning.
Liberty concludes the tournament as the runner-up after going 2-3 over the weekend.
The Lady Flames are now 7-5 on the year, while Iowa improves to 12-10.
Liberty came out swinging, as designated player Jill Stephens led off with a double down the right field line. She advanced to third on a well-placed sacrifice bunt by Sammi Shivock, but she stayed stranded as the Iowa defense made the play on two straight grounders to keep Liberty from scoring.
The Hawkeyes put a run on the board to take a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the second. Stephanie Ochoa led off with a double that sailed over the head of Jenny Law in right, and designated player Johnnie Dowling reached on a Liberty fielding error. Both runners advanced on a sacrifice bunt by Jordan Goschie, and Ochoa scored on a sac fly to foul territory in left field by Jenny Schuelke.
Iowa held that lead briefly. The Lady Flames stormed back in the top of the third when Shivock hit her second homer of the tournament, a two-out, solo shot over the fence in right center to tie the game, 1-1.
The Lady Flames ran into trouble in the bottom of the third, as starting pitcher Katrina Johnson began to struggle. With one out, Michelle Zoeller singled on a bunt, and was able to reach second when Johnson made an errant throw to first. Chelsey Carmody then reached on a fielder's choice with a grounder to third, and Liz Watkins was hit by a pitch to load the bases.
Ochoa was up next, and singled with a hard-hit grounder to shortstop to drive in a run. Another run scored when Dowling reached on a fielding error by Johnson, giving the Hawkeyes a 3-1 advantage.
But the Lady Flames scored two runs of their own in the top of the fourth to tie it up again. With one out, Kaylee West doubled to left-center field and Kelly Strickland drew a walk. Both runs scored, when next batter Bridgett Woods singled to right and advanced all the way to third when the ball got past Goschie.
Two more Iowa hits led to another Hawkeye run in the bottom of the fourth. With one out, Katie Keim doubled down the right field line and scored, when Carmody singled up the middle to give Iowa the 4-3 lead.
Woods tried to generate a comeback for the Lady Flames in their final at-bat, leading off with a single through the left side. But the Hawkeyes came up with three straight outs to win the game and the Stetson Classic Championship, 4-3.
Woods was 2-for-3 with an RBI, while Shivock also drove in a run for Liberty.
Ochoa led the Hawkeyes, batting 3-for-3 with an RBI and a run scored.
Johnson gave up eight hits and two earned runs in six innings, striking out five batters in the process. With the loss, she drops to 3-3 this year.
Iowa pitcher Chelsea Lyon improves to 6-7, after giving up six hits and striking out four Lady Flames in the complete-game win.
The Lady Flames will now have two days off before competing against UCF in a single game, Thursday evening, at 7 p.m. in Orlando, Fla.