Liberty scored 13 unanswered runs, earning a spot in the NISC Championship Round final with a 13-5, six-inning victory over Kennesaw State, Wednesday at Liberty Softball Stadium.
The Lady Flames (44-24) advance to the final against Lamar (34-29), while Kennesaw State sees its season end at 40-20. Liberty tied a season high with 15 hits on the day.
For Liberty, Tori Zavodny went 3-for-4 with a double and four RBI, while Amber Bishop batted 3-for-3 with three runs scored and two RBI. Alexia Taylor homered and drove in three runs. Sarah Robertson, Taylor Hoffman and Jasmmeen Click recorded two hits apiece, with Robertson and Hoffman doubling.
Courtney Sutter and Chandler Griffin both went 2-for-3 with a home run, two RBI and one run scored.
Kenzie Friesen (15-3) earned the win, allowing two runs on three hits while walking one in 4 2/3 innings of relief. Julia DiMartino gave up three runs on three hits, with four walks and two strikeouts in 1 1/3 innings of work.
Logan Viers (14-7) drew the loss, allowing 10 runs (six earned) on 12 hits, with three strikeouts and one walk in 4 1/3 innings. Abigail Green and Jenna Kniss both saw relief pitching action.
Olivia Tamewitz bunted for a base hit with one out in the top of the first. After a strikeout, Sutter launched a two-run homer to left, giving the Owls a 2-0 lead. DiMartino walked the next two batters. Griffin lined a single to right, and Noelle Winkles, trying to score from second, was erased on a throw by right fielder Zavodny.
Jessie Mullen drew a leadoff walk in the second before a sacrifice bunt sent her to second. After a walk to Thomason, Friesen came on in relief of DiMartino. A passed ball moved runners to second and third before Tamewitz plated Mullen with a sacrifice fly, making it 3-0.
Deidra See led off the bottom of the second with a sharp single to left. Robertson then drew a four-pitch walk. Hoffman moved the runners with a sacrifice bunt. Viers then got out of the jam, striking out Kaitlin McFarland and getting Click on a close play at first.
The Owls tacked two run onto their lead in the third, as Griffin hit a two-out, two-run homer to left to boost KSU's advantage to 5-0.
Liberty turned three straight one-out hits into three runs. Amber Bishop and Zavodny both singled, before Taylor blasted one over the wall in left to trim the deficit to 5-3.
The Lady Flames went ahead in the fourth inning, scoring three runs with two outs. Hoffman and Click both hit infield singles early in the frame. Amber Bishop made it 5-4 with an RBI single up the middle. With runners on the corners, Zavodny lined a single to left that got away from the left fielder, allowing the go-ahead run to score in the person of Amber Bishop.
Sutter singled to right to open the fifth stanza. Winkles then flied out to a diving Hoffman in short left field, before Katey Lynch lined into an inning-ending double play.
The hosts broke the game wide open in the fifth. Robertson and Hoffman hit back-to-back doubles, putting runners on second and third with one out. McFarland then dropped a single into left, boosting the lead to 7-5. After an error loaded the bases, Green entered the circle for Viers. She walked Bishop before a three-run double by Zavodny made it 11-5, Liberty.
Kniss came on in relief of Green to start the sixth. The Lady Flames loaded the bases with one out before Click ended the game with a two-run single to left. Liberty celebrated a 13-5, six-inning victory.