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Late Rally Lifts Bears over Liberty

February 21, 2015  Gainesville, Fla.  RSS
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Freshman Alexia Taylor hit a double on Saturday against Mercer.

Freshman Alexia Taylor hit a double on Saturday against Mercer.

Liberty and Mercer battled through a low-scoring game, with the Bears staging a late rally to win, 3-0, Saturday at the Aquafina Invitational in Gainesville, Fla.

Mercer's record advances to 7-6 with its first win on the weekend. The Bears close out the week with a doubleheader against No. 1/1 Florida, tomorrow. The Lady Flames fall to 4-9, including 0-4 at this weekend's invitational in Gainesville.

The game featured many scoring chances, as Liberty left nine on base and Mercer stranded seven runners.

Bears sophomore Anna O'Neill (3-1) earned a complete-game four-hit shutout, striking out nine and walking three.

Liberty freshman Abby Tincher (1-2) drew the loss, yielding three runs, two earned on six hits while fanning three and walking three in 5 1/3 innings of work. Redshirt sophomore Kenzie Friesen pitched 2/3 of an inning, striking out one.

Six different Bears recorded one base hit apiece, while freshman Quirisa Mauga hit a double and sophomore Taylor Miller had a triple.

Freshman Alexia Taylor went 1-for-3 with a double, while senior Kelby Allen and juniors Mickey Loveridge and Katie Han all singled. Junior Blair Lawrence stole her team-leading ninth base of the season.

Miller hit a one-out triple in the bottom of the first, but Tincher retired the next two batters to keep the game scoreless.

Liberty loaded the bases with two outs in the second, on a Taylor double, a walk to Han and a dropped third strike. Freshman Tori Zavodny flew out, leaving three on base.

Mercer was unable to take advantage of a Liberty error with two outs during their second at bat, as freshman Emma Andrew grounded out with two on to end the threat.

O'Neill hit Robinson to lead off the third, and the Liberty senior went to second on a wild pitch. Loveridge singled with one out, but O'Neill quelled the rally with a pair of groundouts.

Freshman Meghan Rud walked to start Mercer's third inning, and advanced to third with two outs before Tincher got senior Riley Carter to pop out.

Liberty put a runner in scoring position with two outs in the fourth, as Lawrence stole second. O'Neill then fanned Zavodny to hold the Lady Flames off the scoreboard.

The Bears scored twice in the fifth to break open a scoreless tie. Andrew and Rud hit back-to-back singles. Rud's single produced two runs, via a pair of errors on the play. Mercer took a 2-0 lead into the sixth stanza.

O'Neill pitched a 1-2-3 sixth, before Mercer added an insurance run with a one-out rally in the bottom of the inning. Mauga had a pinch-hit double that put runners on second and third, before Friesen replaced Tincher in the circle. Senior Molly Garmany scored on a wild pitch before Friesen struck out Rud to bring the inning to a close.

Robinson walked with two outs in the top of the seventh, before O'Neill got Allen to pop out, closing out the 3-0, four-hit shutout victory for the Bears.

Liberty has concluded its nine-game trip to Florida. Following a week off from competition, the Lady Flames will next play at South Carolina on March 5 at 6 p.m.