After Charleston Southern tied the game at 2-2 in the fourth inning, Liberty scored six unanswered runs, earning a series sweep by winning the series finale, 8-2, on Saturday at Kamphuis Field at Liberty Softball Stadium.
Liberty's (36-12, 15-3 Big South) sixth straight win puts the Lady Flames in sole possession of first place in the Big South standings, by one game over Longwood. The Lady Flames are one home win shy of a program record, having won 12 consecutive home games. Charleston Southern (25-27, 6-12) has dropped nine games in a row.
Julia DiMartino (21-7) kept her dominant pitching going in the circle, adding 3 2/3 innings to her shutout streak, which has now reached 28 2/3 innings. She struck out five and gave up just two hits in the win. Starter Chase Cassady yielded two runs on four hits, fanning six and walking one in 3 1/3 innings pitched.
Alyssa Heinrich (7-4) drew the loss, giving up five runs on eight hits, walking three in 3 2/3 innings. Arizona Pilgrim and Emily Visnic combined to pitch the remaining 2 1/3 innings.
Liberty's sixth through ninth batters in the order recorded two hits each and scored seven out of the team's eight runs. Jasmeen Click and Madison Via both went 2-for-3 with one RBI and two runs scored, while Taylor Hoffman and Alexia Taylor both doubled (Taylor twice) during 2-for-4 games. Autumn Bishop went 1-for-1 with two sacrifice flies, tying the program single-game record for sacrifice flies (Stephanie Happel vs. NC A&T, March 23, 1999). Via and Jaclyn Amader both tripled.
CSU got two hits each from Meghan Gagliano and Sarah Brown, and a sacrifice fly from Summer Moore.
Cassady struck out five out of the first seven batters she faced through two hitless innings to start.
Liberty went ahead in the bottom of the second. Via drew a leadoff walk, and stole second with one out, going to third on a throwing error. After two outs, Click's bunt found empty space in the infield, scoring Via from third. Heinrich then hit Autumn Bishop, and Amber Bishop ripped an RBI single through the left side. Amader grounded out for the third out, with runners on second and third.
Gagliano led off the third by singling before going to second on a groundout and to third on a wild pitch. Mallory Kasinger's groundout kept the game 2-0, Liberty.
The Buccaneers tied things up in the fourth. A walk, followed by a double and a bunt single, loaded the bases with nobody out. Moore fouled out to left field, scoring pinch runner Kendall Anderson. Pinch hitter Nina Del Rio's single loaded the bases, and DiMartino came on in relief of Cassady. Gagliano then sent a game-tying single to right. However, DiMartino fanned the next two batters, maintaining the tie score.
Liberty quickly responded in the bottom of the fourth. Hoffman and Taylor hit back-to-back doubles to start the rally. Click's bunt single gave Liberty runners on the corners before Autumn Bishop drove in Taylor with a sacrifice fly for a 4-2 advantage. Amader lifted an RBI triple off the fence in center, pushing Click across the plate. Heinrich walked Robertson, and reliever Pilgrim hit Kaitlin McFarland. Via sent a grounder to first that Emberson snared for the third out.
Brown's two-out double in the fifth proved to be the last hit off of DiMartino in the game.
Hoffman led off the home half of the fifth with a single before Taylor doubled down the left-field line. After a strikeout, Autumn Bishop plated Hoffman with a sacrifice fly, pushing the lead to 6-2.
Liberty tacked on two more runs in the sixth, on an RBI triple by Via and an error on the Buccaneers.
DiMartino pitched a 1-2-3 seventh to cap off the series sweep.
The Lady Flames will play three games in a two-day span next week, beginning with a doubleheader at Hampton on Tuesday at 2 p.m. Liberty will then host North Carolina on Wednesday at 6 p.m. at Liberty Softball Stadium.