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Liberty Drops Non-Conference Contest to UNC Greensboro
The Lady Flames were held to just three hits, Wednesday afternoon, as UNC Greensboro cruised to a 9-1 win in game one of a non-conference doubleheader.
Today marks the first time that Liberty has been held to three hits or less since March 17 against No. 21 Texas A&M. The Lady Flames drop to 12-15 on the year, while the Spartans improve to 16-18.
The Spartans had the first knock of the contest when Jordan Jewett doubled to left to lead off the bottom of the second. One out later, Jewett was safe at third when Katelyn Bedwell reached on a fielder's choice with a grounder to shortstop.
After Ashley Reetz struck out, back-to-back walks and a Liberty throwing error allowed three runs to score, giving UNC Greensboro a 3-0 lead. But second baseman Kelly Strickland made a diving catch in foul territory on the next play, causing the Spartans to strand three runners.
UNC Greensboro put another runner in scoring position in the bottom of the third. Eileen Horsmon tapped a one-out single to shallow left, and advanced to second when Bedwell grounded out to second. But the inning ended on the next play when Reetz grounded out on a bunt to third, and the score remained unchanged.
The Lady Flames recorded their first hit in the top of the fourth, when Strickland hit a solo home run to center field, her seventh bomb of the year. Jenny Law followed up with a double to left center, prompting the Spartans to replace starting pitcher Josie Felix with Cory Mattson.
Law was out at third on the next play when Kaylee West reached on a fielder's choice to shortstop. After Meredith Crisante drew a walk, Mattson fanned Bridgett Woods to keep the score at 3-1.
The Spartans scored four more runs off of four hits in the bottom of the fourth for a commanding 7-1 lead. With two outs, Alex Emeterio singled to second base, and was safe at second on a fielder's choice by Kaitlin Merkt.
After Heather Robb singled for an RBI and Emeterio crossed home on a Liberty miscue, Lady Flames' pitcher Katrina Johnson gave up back-to-back walks. Next, Bedwell singled up the middle to bring in two more runs for the home team.
Amber DePasquale led off the top of the fifth with a single to center field. After Sammi Shivock flied out, Katie Zavodny grounded out to first and DePasquale moved to second.
Back-to-back walks to McMillon and Strickland loaded the bases, but Law flied out deep to center field to end the at-bat with no additional Liberty runs.
The Spartans ended the game early in the bottom of the fifth with two more runs. Three consecutive singles by Kristen Gabel, Aisha Figueroa and Emeterio produced one run, and an RBI-single through the right side by Robb ended the game with a 9-1 score.
Strickland led the Lady Flames, batting 1-for-2 with the only Liberty RBI.
Robb paced UNC Greensboro, going 2-for-4 at the plate and driving in two runs.
Felix (5-7) picked up the win in the circle, giving up two hits in 3.1 innings of work, and Mattson earned the save.
Tiffani Smith suffered the loss, dropping to 4-9 on the year. She gave up three hits and struck out two batters in two complete innings of work.
The two teams are back in action this afternoon, facing off for game two of the doubleheader.