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Johnson Holds Chanticleers to Two Hits as Liberty Wins
Katrina Johnson held the Chanticleers to just two hits, and a five-run sixth frame by the Liberty offense paved the way for a 5-0 Big South victory to conclude the 2011 regular season.
With the win, Liberty takes its final Big South series of the year, as the Lady Flames took game two of yesterday's doubleheader, 4-1.
The Lady Flames end the regular season with a 26-27 overall record, and an 11-7 mark in Big South play. Coastal Carolina drops to 23-31 overall and 7-11 in conference play.
Ashley Bensinger started the game with a leadoff single down the right field line, and moved to second on a sac bunt by Jenny Law. But the Chanticleers made sure she stayed stranded, as two straight Liberty pop ups kept the Lady Flames scoreless.
The Lady Flames put another runner in scoring position in the top of the second. Sammi Shivock led off with a walk, and advanced to second on a wild pitch. After Kelly Strickland lined out and Grace Nordan struck out, Keely McMillon singled up the middle, allowing Shivock to advance to third.
But once again, Coastal Carolina escaped with no runs scored, as Amber DePasquale flied out to right for the third out.
The Chanticleers recorded their first hit of the contest in the bottom of the second, when Sarah Maples hit a one-out double to right center. But she didn't go any further, as Ashley Pisone struck out and Cacia Pierre grounded out to shortstop to end the inning.
The Lady Flames put runners on second and third with one out in the top of the fourth. Strickland was hit by a pitch, and Nordan singled through the left side. Both runners advanced on a passed ball, but that's as far as they got. McMillon popped out to third and DePasquale flied out to center field.
The sixth inning was the magic frame for Liberty, as five hits and a Coastal Carolina miscue led to a 5-0 Liberty lead.
Shivock led off with a double down the left field line, but was out on the next play when Strickland reached on a fielder's choice to shortstop. Next, McMillon singled up the middle, and pinch hitter Sydnei Lester recorded her first career hit with a single through the left side.
DePasquale started the scoring surge on the next play, singling up the middle to bring in the first run of the contest.
Bensinger was up next, and reached on a fielding error by Daigle at third. The fumble allowed two more runs to score, giving Liberty a 3-0 advantage.
The Lady Flames kept rolling, as Law drove in another run with a sac fly, and Crisante singled through the left side for an RBI to plate Besinger for the fifth and final run of the frame.
The Chanticleers threatened in the bottom of the sixth, when a double by Chelsea Pineda put runners on second and third with two outs. But Jazmin Daigle lined out to end the inning with no runs for the home team.
The final inning was quiet for both teams, and Liberty walked away with the 5-0 shutout.
McMillon was 2-for-3 with a run scored, while DePasquale, Law and Crisante each drove in runs.
The Chanticleers' two hits came from Pineda and Maples, and were both doubles.
Johnson (13-12) picked up the win, giving up two hits and notching six strikeouts in six innings. Tiffani Smith appeared in the seventh inning, giving up no hits and no runs in the appearance.
Katelin Edwards (4-7) took the loss, giving up nine hits and striking out four Liberty batters.
The Lady Flames will now wait for the official seeding for the 2011 Big South Softball Championship, which will be announced by the league office later this afternoon. The tournament, which will be hosted at Terry Field in Rock Hill, S.C., begins on Thursday. The victor of the three-day event will receive the league's automatic bid to the NCAA Regionals.