Senior Grace Nordan picked up her second career pitching victory, tossing six innings of two-hit relief and striking out five on Saturday.
Liberty built a four-run lead after three innings, and held off a late rally by the N.C. Central Lady Eagles to win, 7-5, during Saturday's second game. The Lady Flames (4-24) went 2-1 on the weekend against NCCU (4-19), while the two teams split today's doubleheader. Grace Nordan (1-0), pitching for the second time this season, pitched six innings of two-hit relief, allowing two unearned runs, striking out a career-high five batters and walking five. Starter Alyssa DiMartino yielded three runs on two hits in the first inning. London Booker (2-10) drew the loss, allowing five runs, four earned, on four hits in one inning pitched. Dominque Wilson pitched the final five innings, yielding two runs (one earned) on five hits. Marybeth Sciolino and Jamie Crisp both went 2-for-3 with one RBI, as both players recorded their first career multiple-hit contest. Hanna Nichols batted 2-for-3 with a stolen base, while Katie Han hit her first career homer and Annah Jo Brittingham scored two runs. De'Onna Smith batted 2-for-3 with a home run and five RBIs for the Eagles, while Emerie Germ batted 1-for-3 and doubled. The Eagles rallied with two outs in the top of the first, as Germ doubled and the inning was extended by an error. Smith then hit a three-run blast, giving NCCU a quick, 3-0 advantage. The visitors' lead was short-lived, as Liberty answered with five tallies in the bottom of the first. Zavodny and Sciolino both singled, and Allen hit a sacrifice fly. Following a bunt single by Nichols, Sciolino scored on a double-steal play. Brittingham reached on a fielding error, plating Nichols to tie the score at 3-3. Han followed with her first career homer, making it 5-3, Lady Flames. Booker got out of the inning on a strikeout, pickoff double play. Nordan then came on in relief of DiMartino. She walked two in the second, but both were thrown out attempting to steal second. Liberty manufactured their sixth run, as Lawrence reached on an error to begin the Lady Flames' second at bat. She then stole second and third, and scored on a squeeze bunt by Sciolino. After Nordan pitched a 1-2-3 third, Liberty boosted its lead to 7-3 when Crisp hit a two-out RBI single to score Brittingham from third. A walk and a hit batter gave NCCU two fourth-inning runners, but Nordan sturck out Tiphani Jakson to keep the score at 7-3. The Eagles threatened to score during the sixth, as Nordan issued a walk and hit a batter, and Jenny Tracy reached on an error. With the bases loaded and two outs, Nordan fanned Jackson to escape the inning. The Lady Flames attempted to add an insurance run in the bottom of the sixth, as Crisp led off with a single and Lawrence singled with one out. Zavodny sent each runner ahead one base with a sacrifice bunt, but a Sciolino popout quelled the rally. NCCU's Camille Hampton began the seventh with a single, the visitors' first hit off of Nordan. A flyout and an error ensued, and a walk loaded the bases with one out. Wilson fouled out, and then Smith hit a two-run single to center, trimming the deficit to 7-5. Tracy popped to short, and the Lady Flames completed the 7-5 victory. The Lady Flames remain at home, where they will host ETSU in a doubleheader on Wednesday. First pitch for the opening game on Wednesday is slated for 2 p.m.