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Liberty Overtakes Gardner-Webb in Series Opener, 6-3

March 30, 2018  Lynchburg, Va.  RSS
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Jaclyn Amader went 2-for-4 with a triple, two RBI and one run scored on Friday against Gardner-Webb.

Jaclyn Amader went 2-for-4 with a triple, two RBI and one run scored on Friday against Gardner-Webb.

Liberty won a back-and-forth game, scoring four runs in the bottom of the sixth to down the visiting Gardner-Webb Runnin' Bulldogs, Friday at Kamphuis Field at Liberty Softball Stadium

With the win, Liberty's fifth in a row, the Flames improve to 26-8 while remaining unbeaten in conference play at 7-0. Gardner-Webb falls to 25-10, including a 4-3 record in Big South games.

Gardner-Webb and Liberty came into the game with the top two batting averages in the conference, in that order. Tonight, the Lady Flames outhit their guests, 14-7. Liberty left nine runners on base while Gardner-Webb stranded eight. The lead changed hands three times.

Six different Lady Flames had two hits each. Autumn Bishop went 2-for-3 with a double, two RBI, one run scored and tied the program single-season record with her fourth sacrifice fly. She also extended her hitting streak to 15 games. Jaclyn Amader batted 2-for-4 with a triple, two RBI and one run scored. Amber Bishop, Kaitlin McFarland, Taylor Hoffman and Jasmeen Click also registered two hits.

Andria Booth batted 3-for-4 with one run scored for Gardner-Webb. The Big South's top home run hitter, Katie Prebble, hit her 17th homer of the season while driving in two. Kaylee Wacaster went 2-for-4 with a double and one RBI.

Julia DiMartino (16-5) earned the win, allowing three runs on seven hits, walking two and striking out eight.

Gardner-Webb's Ashley Wark fell to 12-9 on the season with the loss. She gave up six runs on 14 hits, striking out three and walking one.

Liberty entered the bottom of the sixth inning trailing, 3-2. Hoffman and Click opened the inning with infield singles. Autumn Bishop then hit a game-tying single to right. Amber Bishop followed with an RBI single on the infield. After a groundout and a lineout, Amader extended Liberty's lead to 6-3 with an opposite-field, two-run double.

The Runnin' Bulldogs attempted a comeback in the top of the seventh, as the first two batters singled, bringing up Prebble. The reigning Big South Freshman of the Week skied a popup foul, which Liberty third baseman Amader snared for the first out. DiMartino got the final two batters to fly out, sealing the win.

Gardner-Webb started the game strongly, as Booth hit a leadoff single and Prebble walked with two outs. Wacaster then hit an RBI double, making it 1-0. DiMartino limited the damage, with a groundout and strikeout.

Liberty got on the board in the bottom of the second. Amader and McFarland hit back-to-back singles to start the rally. Madison Via walked, loading the bases, and Hoffman's RBI single to left tied the game at 1-1. With one out, Autumn Bishop lifted a sacrifice fly to left, pushing across the go-ahead run. Amber Bishop grounded to second for the third out.

The visitors quickly responded in the third. Booth hit a leadoff single, and appeared to score from first on an error when Amader's errant throw to second went all the way to the wall on a fielder's choice. However, Booth missed third base and was called out on appeal. The next batter, Prebble, pounded a two-run homer to right center, giving Gardner-Webb the lead, 3-2.

With one out and runners on second and third in the third inning, Liberty was unable to cash in, as McFarland and Via both grounded out.

After a 1-2-3 Runnin' Bulldog fourth, the Flames got something going in the bottom half of the frame. Click bunted for a base hit with one out and Autumn Bishop followed with a double. After a popout by Amber Bishop, Alexia Taylor crushed a liner to center that Weslyn Almond snagged for an inning-ending leaping catch.

DiMartino got out of trouble in the fifth, striking out Maddi Johnson to end the inning, with two runners on base.

The Lady Flames and Runnin' Bulldogs will play in a doubleheader tomorrow to close out this weekend's series, with the first game set to begin at 1 p.m. at Liberty Softball Stadium.