Alexia Taylor went 2-for-4 on Saturday, extending her hitting streak to nine games.
Liberty took game one of a doubleheader from Gardner-Webb, defeating the Runnin' Bulldogs, 5-1, Saturday at Brinkley Softball Stadium.
With the win, the Big South-leading Lady Flames (30-16, 12-2) extend their winning streak to 11 games. During that time, Liberty has outscored opponents, 72-6. Liberty has also won seven straight Big South games. Gardner-Webb falls to 12-27, 5-9 in Big South play. Liberty will attempt to earn the series sweep in game two of today's twin bill.
Julia DiMartino (12-6) earned the win with four innings of three-hit, shutout relief during which she struck out five. Kenzie Friesen allowed one run on five hits, walking one and fanning one in three innings of work.
Summer Darnell (2-9) drew the loss, allowing three runs (two earned) on five hits, walking one and striking out one in three innings pitched. Olivia Henson gave up two runs on three hits, striking out one in four innings.
Alexia Taylor batted 2-for-4 with one run scored, while Tori Zavodny batted 1-for-4 with two RBI and Emily Sweat went 1-for-1, hitting a double. Deidra See and Kayla Harris both hit a sacrifice fly. See's fourth sac fly of the season tied Liberty's single-season program record.
Megan Champion went 2-for-3 with a homer, one run and one run scored. Six Runnin' Bulldogs recorded one hit apiece.
Hoffman reached on a two-base error to start the second before Darnell hit Kaitlin McFarland with a pitch. After a sac bunt by Jessica Cicerchia, Jasmeen Click singled on the infield to load the bases. Zavodny then roped a two-run single to left center before being thrown out at second.
The Runnin' Bulldogs sliced the deficit to 2-1 with a one-out, opposite-field solo home run by Champion in the second stanza. That homer ended a Liberty program-record 44-inning shutout streak. Annamarie Warley singled and Madi Lewis drew a walk. Friesen kept the one-run lead by getting the next two outs via groundouts.
Liberty added a third-inning run. Taylor led off with a single before Sweat ripped a double down the right-field line. See then drove a sacrifice fly to right, scoring Taylor for a 3-1 lead. However, Sweat was thrown out at third on the play.
Champion led off the home half of the fourth with a single to center. DiMartino then came on in relief of Friesen, retiring the side.
The Lady Flames tacked on two runs in the top of the sixth, rallying with one out. Taylor Hoffman and McFarland hit back-to-back singles, giving Liberty runners on the corners. Pinch runner Cassie Gingerich stole second. Pinch hitter Kayla Harris then hit a sacrifice fly, scoring Hoffman. Gingerich took home on a wild pitch, improving Liberty's advantage to 5-1.
Gardner-Webb began its comeback attempt with back-to-back one-out singles by Allie Barrick and Kaylee Wacaster during the seventh frame. However, DiMartino finished off the Liberty win, retiring the final two batters.