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Power Hitting Sends No. 3 Seed CSU Past No. 6 Seed Liberty

May 10, 2012
|  Radford, Va.
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Jill Stephens recorded an RBi during Liberty's opening game of the 2012 Big South Softball Championship, against Charleston Southern.

The third-seeded Charleston Southern Buccaneers used an eight-run first inning, en route to a 14-3, five inning victory over No. 6 seed Liberty in each team's first game of the 2012 Big South Softball Championship, Thursday at RU Softball Field.

Liberty (19-35) now faces No. 7 seed Presbyterian College tonight at 9:30 p.m. in an elimination contest. Charleston Southern (31-24) advances to face No. 2 seed Coastal Carolina tomorrow at 9 a.m.

The Lady Flames recorded three runs on six hits. Hanna Nichols hit her first career homer, a two-run shot in the second inning. Meredith Crisante hit a double and Jill Stephens registered an RBI.

Six of CSU's 12 hits were homers on the afternoon, with two each from Jana Matthews and Stephanie Sbardella and one apiece by Jessica Brock and Megan Lombard. Courtney Konyk had three RBIs.

Morgan Dowdy (18-12) earned the victory, allowing three runs on six hits and striking out five.

Alyssa DiMartino (8-20) started and drew the loss, yielding seven runs on seven hits. Grace Nordan and Chandler Ball pitched in relief, before DiMartino re-entered the circle during the third inning.

CSU jumped ahead with eight runs in the first frame. Matthews hit a three-run homer to right center to open the outburst. Sbardella followed with a solo shot, bringing about a pitching change for Liberty. Konyk hit a three-run triple, and Kelleher drove in the eighth run of the inning with a sacrifice fly.

The Lady Flames responded with three tallies in the top of the second. Crisante led off the inning with a double to left field, and Stephens plated her with a single to center. Nichols hit a two-run blast over the left-field fence to slice the deficit to five, 8-3. A groundout to short ended the inning.

Following a scoreless Buccaneer half of the second, Shivock walked with one out in the third inning. A pair of grounders led to the final two outs.

Lombard doubled to open the bottom of the third, and Kelleher then singled to center. Brock, Matthews and Sbardella hit consecutive homers to extend the CSU advantage to 13-3. The Buccaneers then grounded out three times to close the stanza.

Charleston Southern tacked on one more run on a solo homer by Lombard in the fourth.

Allen opened the fifth inning with a single to center, and Strickland followed with a single. Dowdy fanned the last two Lady Flames to bring the 14-3 game to an end after 4 ½ innings.