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Eagles Outslug Lady Flames to Complete Sweep

March 29, 2009  Rock Hill, S.C.  RSS
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Danielle Howard had her best performance of the season at the plate, batting 3-for-4 in the second game of Liberty's doubleheader against Winthrop.

Danielle Howard had her best performance of the season at the plate, batting 3-for-4 in the second game of Liberty's doubleheader against Winthrop.

Despite outhitting the homestanding Eagles and tying a season high in hits, Liberty's 10-hit effort came up short, as Winthrop picked up a 7-5 second-game victory, sweeping a Big South doubleheader from the Lady Flames, Sunday afternoon, at Terry Field.

The victory ups the Big South's preseason favorite team to 13-14 on the season and 2-0 in league action. Following their second loss of the afternoon, Liberty drops to 11-18 on the season and 0-2 in Big South action, as the twinbill was the conference opener for both teams.

Looking to overcome some offensive struggles from the opening game, Liberty opened up strong in the first, jumping out to a 2-0 lead in the top of the first.

Danielle Howard opened the game for the second-straight time with a base hit, singling down the left-field line. After moving to second on a sacrifice bunt by Jenny Law, Liberty had runners at the corners after a single to centerfield by J'nae Jefferson.

Ashley Bensinger kept things rolling for the Lady Flames, driving in Howard with a base knock through the left side for the game's first run. Kaylee West followed by lofting a ball to left field, allowing Jefferson to score from third on a sacrifice fly, giving Liberty a 2-0 edge.

The Lady Flames continued to add to their advantage in the top of the second, beginning the frame with an infield single off the bat of Amber DePasquale. After Cassie Hendrix singled through the left side of the infield, DePasquale was able to score on a misplayed ball off the bat of Howard, pushing the Lady Flames' lead to three runs, 3-0.

The homestanding Eagles came storming back, taking the lead by a run, 4-3, thanks to a four-hit, four-run second inning.

Taylor Wright back the frame by helping out her own cause, the pitcher tagged a solo home run over the fence down the left field line.

Following consecutive infield singles by Veronica Berrie and Sarah Magee, Tessa Thomas singled to right field, driving in Berrie. On the same play, West, who laid out to try to get the ball in right, tried to get Magee at third, but her throw sailed into the third base dugout, allowing Magee and Thomas to score and give the Eagles the lead.

The score remained the same until the top of the fourth inning, when DePasquale struck her first home run of the season, knotting the contest at 4-4 with the solo shot to left field.

However, the tie was short lived, as Winthrop recaptured the lead with two swings of the bat. Wright opened the frame with a single through the left side of the infield, followed by Berrie's first home run of the season, with a two-run blast down the left field line.

The ball continued to sail quickly out of Terry Field, as Howard led off the top of the fifth inning with the freshman's first collegiate home run, tagging a shot over the fence in left to pull Liberty back within one, 6-5.

But that was as close, as Liberty would get, as Megan Evans, who came in to relieve Wright in the third inning, was able to limit the Lady Flames to a pair of singles over the final two innings.

Wright, Berrie and Magee, Winthrop's No. 6, 7 and 8 batters, each finished the contest 2-for-3 from the plate, with each member of the trio crossing the plate twice to account for six of the team's seven runs.

Howard had a breakout day for the Lady Flames, leading Liberty's 10 hits by going 3-for-4 from the dish with two runs scored and another driven in. Bensinger and DePasquale were both 2-for-3 during the game, helping the Lady Flames tie Liberty's season high for hits, as the team also notched 10 hits in a 12-inning thriller at Florida Atlantic on March 12.

Evans picked up her second victory of the day in relief of Wright, allowing two runs on five hits over five innings of work to move to 10-6 on the season. Wright allowed three runs, two of which were earned, on five hits over two innings of work.

Sarah Ellis went the distance and suffered the loss, despite fanning seven batters for the third-straight game and the seventh time this year. The senior fell to 5-11 on the season, as she allowed seven runs, five of which were earned, on eight hits during six innings of work.

The two squads will return to Terry Field, tomorrow afternoon to conclude the weekend Big South series. First pitch in the series finale is slated for 1 p.m.