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Liberty Falls to Cornell in Home Opener

March 24, 2011
|  Lynchburg, Va.
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Kelly Strickland hit a three-run homer as Liberty dropped a 10-6 decision to Cornell.

Despite a late-game, six-run surge, the Lady Flames couldn't muster enough of a comeback, falling to Cornell, 10-6, Thursday afternoon.

The contest was the first game in a non-conference doubleheader, the 2011 home opener at Liberty Softball Field.

The Lady Flames drop to 8-12-1 on the year, while the Big Red improve to 6-9-1.

The Lady Flames were first to put a runner in scoring position, when Katie Zavodny ripped a one-out double down the left field line in the bottom of the first. But the Cornell defense came up with two straight outs to shut Liberty down, and the game stayed scoreless after one complete.

Erin Keene single handedly picked up a 1-0 lead for the Big Red in the top of the second, sending a home run over the fence in left field with one out.

Cornell kept swinging for the fence, extending its lead to 4-0 in the top of the third when Kristen Towne hit a three-run homer to left.

The Big Red added two more runs to their total in the top of the fourth, busting two hits and taking advantage of a Liberty defensive error. With one out, Cassie Walisiak singled up the middle, and Marissa Amiraian followed up with a walk. After Jenny Edwards popped out, Lauren Bucolo reached on a throwing error by Bensinger to load the bases with two outs.

On the next play, Kristen Towne singled down the right field line to bring in two runs, putting Cornell ahead, 6-0.

After another scoreless Liberty at-bat, Cornell tacked on another run with back-to-back doubles by Erin Keene and Morgan Cawley, and the Big Red went up 7-0.

The Big Red continued getting to the Liberty pitchers, ripping four more hits to score three additional runs for a 10-0 lead in the top of the sixth. After Bucolo singled up the middle, Towne followed up with a single down the right field line. J.J. Briggs then reached on a fielder's choice, and Bucolo scored.

Keene then singled through the left side, and an out later, Towne scored on an Ali Tomlinson groundout. Keene then scored when Cawley singled up the middle.

The Liberty bats came alive in the bottom of the sixth, as the Lady Flames scored five runs to keep the game from ending early. After Keely McMillon singled up the middle, pinch-runner Grace Nordan moved to second when Zavodny singled to the shortstop. Both runners crossed the plate on a single to right by Jenny Law, putting the score at 10-2.

After Bensinger reached on a Cornell error, Kelly Strickland hit her fourth homer of the year to score three more Liberty runs.

The Lady Flames were able to add another run to their total in the bottom of the seventh with a solo homer by Keely McMillon. But the scoring stopped there, as Cornell walked away with the 10-6 win.

Strickland was 1-for-3 with three RBIs, while McMillon was 2-for-3 with an RBI and Zavodny hit 2-for-4 with a run scored.

Towne led Cornell, batting 3-for-4 with five RBIs.

Elizabeth Dalrymple, a two-time Ivy League Pitcher of the Year, picked up the win, giving up seven hits and striking out seven in the complete-game performance.

Tiffani Smith suffered the loss, giving up three hits in 2.1 innings, while reliever Alyssa DiMartino gave up 10 hits and struck out one batter in 4.2 innings of work.

The Lady Flames will face off against the Big Red again this afternoon for game two of the non-conference doubleheader.