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LU Drops Second at Clash, Falling to Host

February 29, 2008  Greenville, N.C.  RSS
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Shannon McKain hit her 20th career home run, connecting on a two-run shot against East Carolina on Friday.

Shannon McKain hit her 20th career home run, connecting on a two-run shot against East Carolina on Friday.

Liberty tied the game in the top of the third inning thanks to two extra base hits, including a two-run homer. However, East Carolina manufactured a run with a sacrifice fly in the bottom half of the frame and three more in the sixth to secure a 7-3 victory over the Lady Flames, Friday evening, closing out the first day's action at the Pirate Clash.

With the victory, East Carolina moves to 2-0 in the three-day tournament and 13-4 overall this year. The loss was the second for Liberty during the event and drops the Lady Flames' mark on the season to 1-4-1.

East Carolina took an early in the contest, taking advantage of a pair first inning walks. Charina Summers led off the game with a single through the left side of the infield, followed by free passes issued to Christina Merrida and Erin St. Ledger to load the bases.

Liberty got its second out of the inning when Vanessa Moreno grounded out to shortstop, but the ball was hit deep enough that Amber DePasquale's only play was to first, which plated Summer for the game's first run.

Walks continued to plague Liberty in the second, leading to two additional runs for the homestanding Pirates. Stacey Andrews led off the frame with a double off the base of the fence in right, followed by a walk to Angel Barrella and an infield single by Kaui Tom.

Summer was issued the second walk of the inning and fourth of the game, forcing in Andrews from third. Following a fielder's choice play which led to an out at the plate, Jessica Johnson grounded to second, allowing Toms to give East Carolina a 3-0 lead.

The Lady Flames evened the score at 3-3 in the top of the third, thanks to a pair of extra base hits to right center. Leah Cossentino started the three-run burst by drawing a walk.

Cossentino advanced to second on a groundout by leadoff hitter Cassie Hendrix, placing Cossentino in scoring position. DePasquale traded places with the center fielder, lacing a double to gap in right center.

Shannon McKain followed clocking a two-run home run just to the right of the scoreboard in right center, knotting the contest at 3-3 with the senior's 20th career home run.

But the score didn't remain tied for long, as Moreno led off the bottom half of the inning with a double to straightaway center. After advancing to second on a wild pitch, the catcher was able to score on a sacrifice fly off the bat of Andrews, giving the Pirates a 4-3 lead.

East Carolina put the game out of reach in the bottom of the sixth inning, scoring three more runs on four hits. Andrews started the frame with a single to center field and later scored on a wild pitch.

Barrella and Tom followed by getting on base with a walk and a bunt single down the first base line, while the pair of Pirates scored on a two-run single up the middle by Jessica Johnston to secure the victory for East Carolina.

Liberty threatened with a pair of runners in both the sixth and the seventh innings, but Brooke Swann came in to get her first save of the year by finishing off the last 1 2/3 inning, surrendering a single hit, while striking out two.

Britt Howell moved to 4-1 on the year by allowing three runs on seven hits during the first 5 1/3 innings of the game, while walking one and fanning three.

Sarah Ellis suffered the loss, dropping her to 0-2 on the year. The junior surrendered seven runs, six of which were earned, on nine hits, while walking six during six innings of work.

Tom and Andrews led the way for the Pirates from the plate. Tom was a perfect 3-for-3 with two runs scored, while Andrews also scored twice and was 2-for-2 with a RBI.

Liberty's eight hits were scattered among eight different batters, including the first five hitters in the Lady Flames' line-up. McKain highlighted the eight with the two-run blast, pushing the senior's hitting streak to four-straight games.

The Lady Flames will conclude pool play at the Pirate Clash tomorrow with a pair of contests. Liberty will return to ECU Softball Field to open the day against Fordham at 10 a.m., before traveling back to North Pitt Softball Field to face Towson at 2 p.m.