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Lady Flames Earn 5-3 Victory at NC State

March 29, 2017  Raleigh, N.C.  RSS
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Emily Sweat hit her first career homer on Wednesday at NC State.

Emily Sweat hit her first career homer on Wednesday at NC State.

Liberty raced out to a 4-0 lead with a four-run third inning, holding off a late rally to defeat NC State, 5-3, Wednesday at Dail Softball Stadium.

Playing in its third game in two days in two different states, Liberty (19-15) snaps a three-game winless streak overall. The Lady Flames are now 2-0 against ACC opponents, also downing Syracuse, 3-1, on Feb. 24. NC State falls to 12-21 on the season.

Sarah Robertson went 3-for-3 with one run scored and one RBI. Tori Zavodny and Alexia Taylor both went 2-for-4, while Zavodny doubled and scored one run. Amber Bishop hit her sixth homer of the season, while Emily Sweat recorded her first career home run, driving in three runs.

NC State's Molly Hutchison batted 2-for-3 with one home run, one run scored and one RBI. Cheyenne Balzer went 1-for-2, hitting a homer.

Julia DiMartino (7-5) earned the complete-game win, allowing three runs (two earned) on five hits while striking out six and walking two.

Peyton Silverman (8-11) drew the loss, giving up five runs on 11 hits, striking out four and walking one in the complete-game effort.

Liberty jumped ahead with a four-run third inning, stringing together five straight hits with two outs. Bishop blasted a solo shot to right to start the scoring. Robertson and Alexia Taylor lined back-to-back singles up the middle, before a three-run blast to right by Sweat gave the Lady Flames a 4-0 advantage. Jaclyn Amader followed with a single, before Deidra See struck out.

DiMartino set down nine straight batters before Hutchison lined a one-out single to left in the bottom of the fourth. Consecutive popouts then sent the game to the fifth inning.

The Lady Flames threatened to score with one out in the fifth stanza, as Robertson drew a walk and Taylor singled to center. Sweat then sent a sharp liner up the middle that shortstop Alyssa Compton grabbed before stepping on second for an inning-ending double play.

NC State entered the scoring column on a leadoff homer to right center by Balzer in the home half of the fifth. Brittany Nimmo then drew a walk, before a two-out double by Tyler Ross put runners on second and third. Nimmo scored from third on an errant pickoff attempt, trimming the deficit to 4-2.

Liberty had a scoring chance in the top of the sixth. Amader reached on an error to start the inning. With one out, Kaitlin McFarland bunted for a hit, giving the team runners on the corners. Jasmeen Click then popped out to the shortstop, who turned an unassisted double play.

During the bottom of the sixth, the Wolfpack hit a leadoff homer for the second inning in a row, as Hutchison's blast to left drew the home team to within one, 4-3.

Liberty scored a seventh-inning insurance run. Zavodny doubled to lead off before going to third on a flyout. Robertson then lined an RBI single to left, boosting the Lady Flames' edge to 5-3.

The hosts had three chances with the tying run at the plate in the seventh inning. Molly Martin reached first on a throwing error to start the NC State seventh. The next three batters flied out, and Liberty celebrated its 5-3 victory.

Liberty next heads to Buies Creek, N.C., for a three-game Big South series at Campbell, Saturday and Sunday. Saturday's doubleheader starts at 1 p.m.