Top-seeded Liberty responded in a big way after trailing 3-0, scoring 11 unanswered runs on the way to an 11-3, five-inning victory over No. 4 seed Charleston Southern, in game four at the 2017 Big South Softball Championship, Thursday at Longwood's Lancer Field.
With the win, Liberty (36-20) advances to tomorrow's winner's bracket game against the winner of today's matchup between No. 2 seed Campbell and third-seeded Longwood. CSU (26-35) saw its four-game winning streak come to an end. The Buccaneers will face No. 5 seed Winthrop in an elimination game at 5 p.m. Liberty has won all four meetings with CSU this season, and is 7-3 all-time against the Buccaneers in conference tournament play.
Liberty's 11 runs scored were the most by the team in a Big South tournament contest in program history, while it was the team's second conference-tournament run-rule victory ever.
Jaclyn Amader went 1-for-3 with a homer, two runs scored and four RBI. Her four RBI are tied for a career high, and the most by a Lady Flame in a Big South tournament game. Alexia Taylor went 3-for-3 with a double, two runs scored and two RBI. Tori Zavodny batted 2-for-2 with three runs scored. Autumn Bishop batted 2-for-4.
Five Buccaneers managed one hit each, with Mallory Kasinger hitting a homer and driving in two runs. Jade Gandara doubled with one RBI and one run scored.
Julia DiMartino (18-9) earned the win, allowing three runs on five hits, with five strikeouts and one walk in five innings of work. With a career-high 18 wins this season, she sits fifth in program history for single-season victories.
Holly Clark (8-11) drew the loss, allowing 10 runs (seven earned) on eight hits, with three walks and four strikeouts in three innings pitched. Arizona Pilgrim allowed one run on two hits, striking out one and walking one in an inning of work.
CSU jumped out to a 3-0 lead in the top of the first. Stevi Johnson drew a one-out walk, before Gandara lined an RBI double to left center. Kasinger made it 3-0 by blasting a two-run homer to left with two outs. DiMartino got out of the inning with a strikeout.
Liberty quickly responded in the bottom of the inning, staging a two-out rally. Zavodny singled, and Taylor plated her with a double to right-center field. Robertson then reached on an error, scoring Taylor from second to trim the deficit to 3-2. Amader grounded to third, ending the inning.
The Lady Flames tied things at 3-3 by scoring once in in the second, rallying with two outs. Jasmeen Click walked, and Autumn Bishop lined an RBI single to center, with Click racing all the way around the bases from first.
With the Liberty defense keeping the Buccaneers at bay, the Lady Flames went back to work in the third frame. Zavodny and Taylor hit back-to-back singles to lead off. Pilgrim then entered the circle. After two outs, Amader hit a towering three-run homer to left for a 6-3 advantage.
Clark came back into the circle to start the bottom of the fourth. She walked the first two batters. Taylor then plated Amber Bishop with a sharp single to center. Amader lined one to right field which was dropped, allowing two runs to score. Kaitlin McFarland then singled to make it 10-3, going to third on an error. Clark fanned Click for the third out.
Amanda Matsumoto singled to start the fifth, but was left on base as DiMartino retired the next three batters.
The Bishop twins combined for a run in the bottom of the fifth, ending the game. Autumn Bishop hit a single up the middle. Amber Bishop followed with a grounder to shortstop Stephanie Bergmann, whose wild throw to second allowed Autumn Bishop to score Liberty's 11th run and bring the game to an end.