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Strickland Grand Slam Lifts Liberty over Presbyterian
After trailing Presbyterian College for five innings, the Lady Flames scored four runs on a Kelly Strickland grand slam, leading to a 4-2 Liberty victory.
Liberty improves to 23-23 overall and 9-4 in the Big South, while Presbyterian drops to 24-16 and 8-8 in conference play.
The Lady Flames put runners on base first, recording two hits in the bottom of the first. With one out, Keely McMillon singled with a blooper that landed just behind third base, but she was forced out at second on the next play. With Meredith Crisante on first, Ashley Bensinger singled through the right side. But Crisante was caught trying to advance to third, as right fielder Codee Yeske threw her out for the third out.
The Blue Hose put runs on the board in the top of the third, taking a 2-0 lead on one hit and two Liberty errors. With two outs, leadoff batter Tera Powell reached on a fielding error by pitcher Katrina Johnson, then stole second. Amanda Miller drew a walk, and Powell scored when Morgan Durham reached on a throwing error by Sammi Shivock at shortstop. Next, Miller scored on a single to left by Leslie Hensley.
In the top of the sixth, Kaylee West made a nice play for the third out, reaching over the fence on the first-base line to catch a foul ball.
Amber DePasquale tried to start something for Liberty in the bottom of the sixth, leading off with a single to center field. Pinch hitter Jill Stephens followed up with a single up the middle, and was replaced by Katie Zavodny on first.
Both runners advanced when McMillon grounded out to second, and Crisante hit a liner off pitcher Leslie Hensley, who was able to recover and toss it to first. Next, Bensinger drew a walk to load the bases with two outs with Kelly Strickland coming to the plate.
That's when Liberty turned it around, as Strickland ripped her 15th home run of the year. The grand slam gave the Lady Flames a 4-2 lead.
The bomb marked only the fifth home run on the year given up by Hensley. Additionally, 13 out of the first 17 Liberty outs were groundouts, shutting Liberty down until that pitch.
Katie Anderson led off the top of the seventh with a single up the middle, and Krysten Handy reached on a fielding error by Bensinger. Both runners advanced on a sac bunt by Rachel Hopper, and Powell struck out.
Next, Miller grounded out to third to end the game with a 4-2 Liberty win.
Strickland led the Lady Flames with four RBIs, and DePasquale was 2-for-2 with a run scored.
The Blue Hose were led by Hensley, who was 1-for-3 with an RBI.
Johnson picked up the win in the circle, improving to 12-8 on the year. She gave up just two hits and no earned runs while striking out five batters in the complete-game win.
Hensley (15-10) took the loss, giving up six hits and four earned runs while striking out one Liberty batter.
The two teams are back in action this afternoon for game two of the doubleheader.