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7th-Inning Homer by Donovan Gives Liberty 7-5 Win
The Liberty softball team pulled out a 7-5, come-from-behind win over Gardner-Webb, Sunday, with Amber Donovan hitting a game-winning three-run homer with two outs in the top of the seventh inning.
The Lady Flames earned a sweep of the weekend Big South series, advancing to 9-15 on the season, with a 3-1 record in conference play. Gardner-Webb is now 13-18, 0-3 in the Big South, following three setbacks to the Lady Flames.
Donovan and Sammi Shivock both hit three-run homers, with Shivock's blast giving Liberty a 4-3 lead in the top of the fifth inning. Jill Stephens went 2-for-3, doubled and had one RBI, while Bridgett Woods hit 2-for-3 with two runs scored.
Chandler Ball allowed three runs on five hits in three innings pitched. Alyssa DiMartino (6-10) pitched four innings of relief to pick up the win, yielding two runs, one earned on seven hits.
The Runnin' Bulldogs registered 12 hits, getting two hits apiece from Amanda Gomes, Meinda Dulkowski and Jane Savage. Gomes homered and tripled, driving in three runs. Jessica Childers (2-6) drew the loss, allowing four runs, one earned, on four hits in two and one-third innings of relief pitching.
Cindy Boomhower recorded two strikeouts in retiring the Lady Flames in order during the top of the first inning.
The Runnin' Bulldogs jumped in front quickly, as Gomes hit a three-run home run to left field with one out in the bottom of the first inning. Gomes' homer drove in Dulkowski and McKenzie Morenus, giving Gardner-Webb a 3-0 lead. Ball struck out Lindsea Hutchinson for the third out.
Meredith Crisante singled during the second inning, and stole second. After a two-out walk to Jenny Law, Kelly Strickland lined out to deep center, ending the rally.
Ball held the Runnin' Bulldogs off the board during their second time to bat, working around a leadoff single by Savage to keep the score at 3-0.
Stephens sent a solid single to right with one out in the top of the third. Liberty then grounded out for the final two outs of the stanza.
Morenus led off the bottom of the third with a single, and was left on base at the close of the inning. Boomhower posted a 1-2-3 top of the fourth, giving her five batters retired in a row.
DiMartino entered the circle in relief of Ball to start the fourth inning. The Runnin' Bulldogs loaded the bases with one out on three singles. Gardner-Webb then stranded all three runners, as Strickland assisted on the final two outs.
The Lady Flames scored four times during the top of the fifth to take the lead. Law opened the inning with an infield single. Woods singled to left, putting two runners on base and one out. Stephens drove in Law with a double to the left center field gap. Childers then came on in relief of Boomhower. Shivock greeted her with a three-run home run, giving Liberty a 4-3 lead.
Gomes drove a triple to right field as the first Gardner-Webb batter in the fifth. Pinch runner Rachel Jablonski scored from third on a Liberty miscue, tying the game at 4-4. Morgan Baker plated Kellie Beres with a pinch-hit single, good for a 5-4 Runnin' Bulldogs advantage.
Crisante reached base on an error in the sixth inning, but Childers got the Lady Flames out on a strikeout, flyout and groundout, keeping the score at 5-4.
Following a scoreless Gardner-Webb sixth inning, the Lady Flames came to bat trailing by one run. Woods singled to right field to lead off the seventh. She moved to third when Stephens reached on a throwing error. Childers struck out the next two batters, and had two strikes on Donovan when she hit a go-ahead home run to left field, good for a 7-5 lead.
Gardner-Webb went 1-2-3 in the bottom of the seventh, on three flyouts to Law in right field, sealing Liberty's comeback victory.
Liberty will next face Radford in a conference doubleheader, Wednesday at Radford. Game one of the twin bill begins at 2 p.m. The Lady Flames and Highlanders met this past Wednesday at Liberty Softball Field in both teams' Big South opener, with Radford winning, 6-3.