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16 Hits Lifts Liberty over Winthrop
The Lady Flames ripped a season-high 16 hits to defeat Winthrop, 13-6, in the first game of a Big South doubleheader, Saturday afternoon.
The most hits in a game for Liberty is 19, coming against North Carolina A&T on March 31, 2003.
With the win, the Lady Flames improve to 11-13 overall and 2-1 in Big South play, while the Eagles drop to 8-21 overall and 0-3 in the conference.
The Lady Flames came out swinging, busting five hits and scoring three runs in the top of the first. Katie Zavodny led off with a perfectly-placed double down the right field line, and promptly scored when Keely McMillon singled to right.
One out later, Ashley Bensinger extended her hitting streak to four games with an infield single, and moved to second on an RBI single through the left side by Kelly Strickland. Bensinger then came home when designated player Meredith Crisante singled to third, giving the Lady Flames a 3-0 advantage.
Zavodny recorded her second hit in the contest with a one-out, slap single in the top of the second inning. However, she was called out during the next at-bat, as she left the base early on a steal attempt. After McMillon reached on a fielding error by Winthrop shortstop Megan Chapman, Jenny Law lined out to center field for the third out.
Liberty got into trouble in the bottom of the first, as the Eagles recorded three straight singles to load the bases with nobody out. It looked as if the Lady Flames would escape the jam, as Teja Durante struck out and Chapman lined out to third. However, McKenzie Corn then drew a walk for an RBI, putting the Eagles on the board for a 3-1 score.
Taylor Wright led off the bottom of the third with an infield single, but was out on the next play when Strickland turned a double play. Brittany Stoudemire then grounded out to shortstop to end the inning with the score unchanged.
The Lady Flames added two runs to their total in a dramatic fashion in the top of the fourth. Sammi Shivock led off by drawing a walk, and one out later, advanced to second on a sac bunt by Zavodny. McMillon was next up, and singled to right. Shivock rounded third, and was called safe at home on a close play. During an argument involving the home plate umpire, McMillon snuck over to second, and scored when Law reached on an error by the Winthrop shortstop, giving Liberty a 5-1 advantage.
The Eagles scored another run on two hits and a Liberty error in the bottom of the fourth, bringing the score to 5-2. Ashleigh Jackson led off with a single to third, and moved to second on a sac bunt by Kelly Blea. On a Durante bunt, Katrina Johnson made an errant throw to first, allowing Jackson to score.
Strickland single-handedly regained the four-run lead for Liberty in the top of the fifth, belting a solo home run to left field for a 6-2 Lady Flames advantage.
Chapman followed suit in the bottom of the sixth, ripping her second homer of the year with a solo bomb to left, bringing the score to 6-3. After pinch hitter Lauren Levin drew a walk, Liberty head coach Paul Wetmore brought in Tiffani Smith to replace Johnson in the circle.
But the problems continued for Liberty, as Kathryn Eberlin homered to center field, bringing in two runs before two consecutive Winthrop batters reached on singles.
Next, Stoudemire singled through the right side, and Chelsey Schoenfeldt was able to score when Law bobbled the ball in right, tying the game.
The Lady Flames stormed back in the top of the seventh, loading the bases with no outs. Shivock led off with a double to right, and Amber DePasquale followed up with a single through the middle to move Shivock to third. DePasquale advanced to second on the throw.
On the next play, McMillon singled through the left side to drive in two runs, and Liberty regained the lead, 8-6. Bensinger tacked on another run for Liberty when she singled up the middle to bring in Zavodny.
After Strickland was intentionally walked, Crisante hit a sac fly to center field, advancing the runners and scoring McMillon for a 10-6 score.
The Lady Flames kept swinging the bats, as Kaylee West provided a two-RBI single up the middle and advanced to second on the throw. She then advanced to third on a single by Shivock. After a Winthrop pitching change, DePasquale reached on an error by the shortstop, allowing West to score, giving Liberty a comfortable 13-6 lead.
Liberty shut down Winthrop in the bottom of the seventh, and walked away with the 13-6 win.
McMillon led the Lady Flames, batting 3-for-5 with four RBIs and three runs scored, while Strickland was 2-for-3 at the plate and drove in two runs.
Winthrop was paced by Chapman, who was 2-for-5 with an RBI.
Smith earned the win in the circle, giving up four hits and one earned run in 0.2 innings. Natalie Becker suffered the loss, giving up eight hits and striking out six batters in 5.2 innings of work.
The two teams will meet for game two of today's doubleheader later this afternoon.