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Liberty Rallies Late, Cornell Prevails, 7-4
Liberty rallied to tie Cornell, 4-4, with a three-run fifth inning, but the Big Red scored three runs in the top of the seventh inning to claim a 7-4 victory and sweep a doubleheader from the Lady Flames, Thursday at Liberty Softball Field.
Cornell evens its record at 8-8 with its two wins in Lynchburg, while the Lady Flames fall to 6-15 on the season. Liberty has gone 11 contests without a victory.
Both teams scored three times in the fifth inning, and Cornell went ahead for good with three unearned runs in the seventh.
Six different Lady Flames recorded base hits, with Sammi Shivock doubling in two runs and Amber Donovan hitting her team-high seventh double of the season. Kaylee West had an RBI as well, the 86th of her career, a number which ties her with Sonja Keith (1996-99) for 10th in program history.
Chandler Ball pitched the opening five and one-third innings, allowing four runs on nine hits. Grace Nordan drew the loss in her first pitching appearance of the season, yielding three unearned runs on four hits.
Cornell registered 13 hits in game two, with Linda Laeufer going 4-for-5 with two doubles and two RBIs. Alyson Onyon pitched a complete game, striking out nine batters while allowing four runs, three earned, on six hits.
Ball worked around a leadoff single in keeping the Big Red off the scoreboard in the first. Katie Zavodny led off the bottom of the first with a single, and moved to second on a sacrifice bunt. Onyon then struck out Kelby Allen to end the frame.
Cornell went ahead with a run in the top of the third inning. Clare Feely scored from third on a grounder to short, good for a 1-0 lead. Ball limited the damage, stranding three Big Red runners with a strikeout and groundout.
Shivock lined to right field, where Katie Watts dropped it, putting a runner on first with no outs in the bottom of the fourth. She moved to third after two outs, and scored on a single to second base by Kaylee West. A strikeout sent the tie game into the fifth inning.
Cornell tacked on three in the top of the fifth. Belles was hit by a pitch with one out and the bases loaded, and the Big Red regained the lead at 2-1. Sophie Giaquinto extended the lead to 4-1 with an RBI single. Bridgett Woods made a diving stop for the third out.
Jenny Law recorded a base hit with one out in the fifth, and Woods followed with a single to right. Jill Stephens walked, loading the bases for Shivock, who doubled to the gap to plate two runs. Meredith Crisante tied the game, 4-4, with a hard smash to shortstop, plating Zavodny. Onyon fanned the final two Lady Flames, keeping the score even.
The Big Red placed runners on second and third with two outs in the top of the sixth. Nordan then entered the circle for Liberty, and got Erin Keene to ground into a double play on the first pitch to get out of the inning.
Donovan doubled off the right field fence to lead off the Lady Flames' sixth time at bat. Onyon then struck out the side, and the game remained tied, 4-4.
Cornell loaded the bases with one out during the top of the seventh, and the go-ahead run scored on a throwing error. Nordan struck out Bucolo for the second out, and then Laeufer hit a two-run double for a 7-4 lead, while Feely was erased trying to take home on the play.
Liberty went in order, on three groundouts, to close out the seventh inning and the game.
The Lady Flames return to the road, and will face Gardner-Webb in a three-game Big South series, starting with a 1 p.m. doubleheader on Saturday in Boiling Springs.