Trailing 2-0 entering the top of the fourth, No. 5 seed Charleston Southern rallied to topple fourth-seeded Liberty, 4-3 during the second game at the 2015 Big South Softball Championship at Amanda Littlejohn Stadium, Friday afternoon.
With the win, Charleston Southern (30-26) advances to face the winner of No. 1 seed Longwood and No. 9 seed Gardner-Webb, tomorrow at 2 p.m. Liberty (28-29) will meet the loser of the Longwood-Gardner-Webb game in an elimination contest, tomorrow at 9 a.m.
For the game, Liberty outhit CSU, 8-4, but the Lady Flames left 12 runners on base, compared to seven for the Buccaneers.
CSU's Jennifer Giles (14-15) earned the victory, allowing three runs on eight hits while walking eight and striking out four.
Chandler Ball (19-11) drew the loss, giving up four runs on four hits with six walks and six strikeouts.
Four different Buccaneers had one hit apiece, highlighted by Stevi Johnson, who hit a two-run homer. Brittany McPherson and Stephanie Bergmann both had an RBI base hit.
For Liberty, Tori Zavodny went 2-for-4 with a double and two runs scored. Madison Kotchey batted 2-for-3 with two RBI, while Kassidy McCoy also had a 2-for-3 showing at the plate.
The Lady Flames rallied for a pair of runs during the bottom of the first inning. Megan Robinson drew a walk, and Zavodny later hit a two-out double. Kotchey lined a single to right, plating both Robinson and Zavodny for a 2-0 Lady Flames lead.
Liberty loaded the bases with two outs in the second, on two walks and a single by Robinson. Giles got out of the jam, as Kelby Allen flied to right for the third out.
Ball retired the Buccaneers in order during each of the first two innings. After allowing a third-inning walk, the next two CSU batters went down, ending the top of the third.
For the second inning in a row, Liberty filled the bases, as Kotchey walked, McCoy singled and Jamie Crisp reached on an error. Kotchey was erased on a close play at the plate via fielder's choice, before Giles struck out Blair Lawrence to escape the threat.
Charleston Southern went ahead with a three-run fourth. After a walk to Marci Christian, Johnson lifted a homer to center. Georgi DeLio drew a one-out walk before pinch runner Cierra Robinson stole second. McPherson came through with an RBI single. Brook Richardson walked, and Ball struck out Natalie Yonan for the final out.
The Buccaneers used strong defense to keep Liberty off the board in the bottom of the fourth, getting a diving catch from Richardson while also throwing out two runners at third.
CSU doubled its lead, to 4-2, with an RBI single from Bergmann in the fifth stanza. A walk to DeLio loaded the bases with one out, but a popout and groundout prevented any further damage.
Ball pitched a 1-2-3 sixth inning, as all three Buccaneers flied out to center.
The first two Lady Flames drew walks in the bottom of the sixth. With one out, Giles walked Robinson to fill the bases. Allen then grounded into an inning-ending, 5-3 double play.
Liberty nearly completed the comeback in the seventh. Zavodny and Kotchey hit back-to-back singles to lead off. McCoy sacrificed both runners ahead. Crisp hit an RBI groundout, drawing to within one, 4-3. Giles walked Mickey Loveridge, before Lawrence grounded out, ending the game.