Katie Zavodny set a new program single-game record with five hits during Wednesday's first game between Liberty and Hampton.
Despite a program-record five hits from Katie Zavodny, the Liberty softball team fell to the visiting Hampton Pirates, 10-8, in eight innings during the Lady Flames' home opener, Wednesday at the Liberty Softball Field. With the win, Hampton is now 5-9 on the season, while Liberty fell to 3-7. The Lady Flames are now 19-9 all-time in home openers, and 14-6 in home-opening games during their NCAA Division I era. Zavodny went 5-for-5 for the Lady Flames, including two doubles, two RBIs, one run scored and a stolen base. Prior to Thursday, a four-hit game had been attained 27 times by a Lady Flame, but never a five-hit game. Jill Stephens homered and had two RBIs, while Grace Nordan went 2-for-4 with a double and an RBI and Hanna Nichols scored two runs. For Hampton, Margaret Wilkins batted 4-for-4 with a double and a home run. Shine Huwe and Bobbi Langlois both went 2-for-4, with Huwe hitting an eighth-inning grand slam. Hampton's Jailynn Jackson (4-3) went the distance, giving up six earned runs on 10 hits, while striking out eight Lady Flames. Annah Jo Brittingham pitched the first five innings, allowing six runs (five earned) on eight hits. Alyssa DiMartino (0-3) drew the loss after allowing four runs on three hits in three innings pitched. Wilkins gave Hampton a quick 1-0 lead with a leadoff home run in the top of the first inning, going deep to left for her first homer of the season. After Amber Donovan made a tremendous catch in right field to end Hampton's second time at bat, the Lady Flames rallied for a pair of runs in the bottom of the second. Nordan hit a single to open the frame, and walks to Nichols and Stephens loaded the bases. Zavodny then hit a double, plating a pair for a 2-1 Lady Flames lead. Hampton tied the score at 2-2 in the third inning, as Wilkins doubled and then scored on a one-out single to left by Ferguson. The Lady Pirates broke through with four runs in the top of the fifth inning. A single and two walks loaded the bases with one out. After a fielder's choice, Adrianna Scott singled in two runs, and then two runs scored when Kerissa Burruel sent a single to right, making it 6-2. Liberty trimmed the deficit to one, scoring three times during the bottom of the fifth. After a leadoff single by Zavodny, Holly Seiz walked. Sammi Shivock then drove in Zavodny with a single. Seiz scored on a double-steal play to make it 6-4. Nordan doubled to left, plating Blair Lawrence for Liberty's fifth run. Jackson then retired the next two batters to get out of the inning Down to its last chance, Liberty benefitted from a pair of Hampton errors in the bottom of the seventh frame. Shivock reached on an error by the center fielder, and advanced to third on a wild pitch. Lawrence then reached on an error by the shortstop, scoring Shivock. Three consecutive outs sent the game to extra innings. With the International tie-breaker in effect, Hampton scored four eighth-inning runs to take a 10-6 lead. A hit batsman, followed by a walk, loaded the bases with one out. Huwe then slugged a grand slam, making it 10-6. Liberty sliced the deficit in half when Stephens hit a two-run homer with one out in the bottom of the eighth. Zavodny singled, but was stranded following a groundout and game-ending flyout.