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Lady Flames Claim Game One From Blue Hose, 3-1
Behind the strength of a Chandler Ball three-hitter and a three-run second inning, the Liberty softball team claimed a 3-1 win during game one of a doubleheader at Presbyterian College on Friday.
The Lady Flames improve their record to 16-26 on the season, with a 7-9 mark in conference play. Presbyterian College falls to 14-25, 6-8 in Big South games.
Ball (9-8) allowed one run on just three hits, striking out five batters. Hanna Nichols went 2-for-3 with an RBI, while Kelly Strickland hit her fourth homer of the season and 43rd of her career. Amber Donovan went 1-for-2 and hit her 10th double of the season, making her the first Liberty freshman since Ashley Williams in 2005 to hit 10 or more doubles.
Leslie Hensley (7-13) allowed three unearned runs on five hits. Three Blue Hose players registered one hit apiece, with Morgan Durham scoring the team's lone run.
Sammi Shivock doubled to right center with two outs in the top of the first inning, and then Hensley fanned Crisante for the third out. Ball worked around a two-out walk to retire the Blue Hose during the bottom of the frame.
The Lady Flames stormed ahead with a three-run second inning. Kelby Allen reached base by error to lead off, then went to second on a sacrifice bunt. Nichols drove her in with a single to center, making the score 1-0. Strickland then hit a two-run homer to left center, good for a 3-0 Liberty advantage.
With runners on second and third and two outs, Durham crossed the plate on a wild pitch for Presbyterian College's first run. Jill McLean grounded out to short, ending the threat.
Jill Stephens walked and stole second in the third inning. After hitting Allen with a pitch, Hensley got Donovan to ground out, keeping the score at 3-1. For PC, Tera Powell led off the bottom of the third with a bunt single, but was left at second base at the close of the stanza.
From there, both pitchers settled in, with Ball and Hensley keeping the other team off the board from the fourth through sixth innings.
Donovan sent a one-out double to the gap during the top of the sixth, but Hensley kept the score the same with two outs in a row. Ball pitched a 1-2-3 bottom of the frame, sending the game into the seventh inning.
The Blue Hose came to bat for the final time trailing by two runs. Erin Taylor led off with a single to left. Ball closed the door on a 3-1 Liberty victory, getting the next three batters to ground out.