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Chattanooga Overpowers Liberty, 14-6
In an offensive battle that saw a total of 24 hits, the Mocs of Chattanooga came out on top, defeating Liberty, 14-6, Saturday afternoon.
Three Liberty batters had multiple-hit games, and Amber DePasquale drove in two runs during the contest.
The Lady Flames attacked immediately, scoring two runs on three hits in the top of the first. With one out, Katie Zavodny, who had reached on a fielder's choice, stole second, and advanced to third when Kelly Strickland singled to the pitcher. Even though her grounder went right to hurler Nikki Waters, an illegal pitch was called, and Waters didn't attempt to make a play. Zavodny moved to third, putting runners on the corners with one out.
After Jenny Law flied out to left, Strickland stole second, and Zavodny crossed the plate on another Waters illegal pitch. Strickland was next to score, as Ashley Bensinger singled to center field, giving Liberty a 2-0 lead.
Kaylee West followed up with a single to left, but Waters came up with a strikeout to end the at-bat.
The Mocs responded with their own base runners in the bottom of the first. Lyndsey Stiles led off with a walk, and moved to second on a single over the head of pitcher Alyssa DiMartino by Sara Poteat. But Strickland came up with a big double-play, fielding a Michelle Fuzzard ground ball and tagging second before tossing it to first. DiMartino then recorded her first strikeout, fanning Tiffany Baker for the third out.
Chattanooga tied it up, 2-2, in the bottom of the second. After Kasey Tydingco drew a walk, Della Harrison stepped up to rip a homer over the fence in center field for two Mocs runs. A Liberty error followed by another hit put runners on first and second, but the Liberty defense came up with three straight outs to end the inning.
The Lady Flames regained the lead with one swing in the top of the third, when Strickland homered down the left field line with two outs, putting Liberty ahead, 3-2. The bomb marked her third of the season.
Liberty extended its lead in the top of the fourth, as three hits and several wild pitches by reliever Kandice Irwin contributed to a 6-2 lead for the Lady Flames.
West, who hit two grounders to second that were called back due to illegal pitches, connected on her third try with a single to left field, then advanced to second on an illegal pitch. Woods followed up with a walk, and both runners advanced on a well-placed sacrifice bunt by Keely McMillon.
West and Woods crossed home on the next play, when DePasquale singled up the middle. After stealing second and advancing to third on another illegal pitch, DePasquale scored when Zavodny singled.
The bottom of the fourth was a nightmare for the Lady Flames, as the Mocs batted all the way through their lineup, scoring eight runs off of seven hits and a Liberty error to go ahead, 10-6. The trouble started with a three-run homer by Jessica Traxler, and Chattanooga strung together hit after hit to keep rolling.
The Mocs put up another run on Liberty in the bottom of the fifth. Stiles led off with a single, but was called out on runner's interference on the next play. Michelle Fuzzard followed with a single to left, advancing on the throw and moving Poteat to third. After Tiffany Baker walked, Poteat scored on a groundout by Tydingco, giving Chattanooga an 11-6 lead.
Liberty tried to start a rally in the top of the sixth, as DePasquale and Shivock reached on back-to-back doubles with one out. They advanced on a groundout by Zavodny, but Liberty came up empty when Irwin struck out Law.
The Mocs closed it out in the bottom of the sixth, scoring three more runs to end the game. Morimoto led off with a ground-rule double down the right field line, and Traxler walked. Lauren Flores then singled on a bunt to load the bases with nobody out.
Stiles was hit by a pitch to bring in the first run, and Traxler was forced out at home on the next play. But it was designated player Fuzzard up next, and she brought in the final two runs with a single up the middle, giving the Mocs a 14-6 win.
Strickland paced the Lady Flames, batting 2-for-3 with an RBI and two runs scored, while DePasquale was also 2-for-3 and drove in two runs.
Traxler led the Mocs, batting 2-for-3 with four RBIs.
DiMartino suffered the loss in the circle, dropping to 1-2 on the year. She threw 3.2 innings, giving up nine hits and striking out two batters. Reliever Tiffani Smith gave up six hits and struck out one batter in 1.2 innings of work.
Irwin picked up the win, giving up five hits and striking out four Liberty batters to improve to 8-1.
Liberty plays again this afternoon, facing Buffalo at 3 p.m.