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No. 2 Liberty Advances to Championship Game with 6-1 Win

May 13, 2011
|  Rock Hill, S.C.
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Amber DePasquale hit a two-run homer as the Lady Flames beat Gardner-Webb, 6-1.

Bolstered by four runs in the fifth inning and a two-run homer by Amber DePasquale in the sixth, the No. 2 seed Lady Flames defeated No. 6 Gardner-Webb to advance to their third Big South Championship title game in four years.

The loss eliminates Gardner-Webb from the 2011 Big South Championship presented by Musco Sports Lighting.

The Lady Flames outhit the Runnin' Bulldogs, 8-6, and pitcher Katrina Johnson gave up no earned runs in the contest, tossing her second-straight complete game win on the day.

The Lady Flames improve to 29-28 on the year, and Gardner-Webb's season ends with an 18-28 overall mark after falling to the Lady Flames for the fifth-straight time on the year.

Liberty will face the winner of tonight's matchup between No. 1 Radford and No. 5 Coastal Carolina. The Chanticleers handed Radford a first-round loss yesterday before the Highlanders came back to defeat them earlier this afternoon.

Tomorrow's championship match-up is slated to start at Noon and will be televised on ESPN3.com.

Kaylee West recorded the first Liberty hit of the contest, tapping a single up the middle to lead off the bottom of the second. But she was forced out at second on the next play, when Kelly Strickland reached on a fielder's choice.

Strickland moved into scoring position when Katie Zavodny laid down a sac bunt, but Sammi Shivock was out on a floater to second to end the inning with no score.

A Liberty miscue in the top of the third led to a Gardner-Webb run. With one out, Samantha Meenaghan singled on a bunt to third. After Jordyn Arrowood struck out, McKenzie Morenus reached on a throwing error by West at first, as she threw the ball away after fielding the ball. The falter allowed Morenus to make it to second and Meenaghan crossed home plate for a 1-0 Gardner-Webb lead.

The Lady Flames started a two-out rally in the bottom of the fourth when Strickland singled through the left side, and pinch hitter Jill Stephens singled down the left field line. But Shivock hit a grounder to third, and Rachel Jablonski fielded the ball and stepped on the bag for out number three.

Liberty exploded in the bottom of the fourth, scoring four runs on three hits and an error by the Runnin' Bulldogs. McMillon led off the surge with a single to center field, but was forced out on the next play when Amber DePasquale reached on a fielder's choice. Ashley Bensinger was then hit by a pitch to put runners on first and second.

Next, Law reached on a fielder's choice to shortstop, and DePasquale was safe at third when shortstop Arrowood made an errant throw. Two runs came home on a single to right by Meredith Crisante, and West then drove in a run with a single to right. Things got worse for the visiting team, as Crisante came home on a passed ball for a 4-1 score.

Senior DePasquale made sure to cushion that lead in the bottom of the sixth, and ripped a two-run home run, her first hit of the tournament, to give Liberty a 6-1 advantage.

The Runnin' Bulldogs put runners on first and second with two outs in the top of the seventh, but Liberty held on for the 6-1 win with a groundout by Arrowood.

Meenaghan led Gardner-Webb, batting 2-for-3.

The Lady Flames were led by DePasquale and Crisante, who were both 2-for-3 with two RBIs.
Johnson improves to 15-13 with the win, giving up six hits and no earned runs while fanning two batters in the complete game win.

Cindy Boomhower (8-15) took the loss, giving up seven hits and striking out one batter in 4.1 innings of work.