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LU Suffers Third-Straight Setback in Extras

March 16, 2008  Clearwater, Fla.  RSS
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Shannon McKain finished the game against Darthmouth a perfect 3-for-3 from the plate.

Shannon McKain finished the game against Darthmouth a perfect 3-for-3 from the plate.

Both squads had multiple opportunities to score, leaving a combined 17 runners on base, until a spinning infield single in the bottom of the eighth gave Dartmouth a 1-0 victory over Liberty, Sunday afternoon, on Field 3 at the Eddie C. Moore Softball Complex.

With the victory, Dartmouth moves to 2-7 on the year and 1-3 to finish out competition at the USF Under Armour Showcase. The loss, Liberty's third consecutive in extra innings, drops the Lady Flames record to 2-18-1.

The Lady Flames have now dropped 12-consecutive games, tying a school record for most consecutive games lost. The 1994 squad also dropped 12-straight during its 8-33 season.

Liberty looked like it might get on the scoreboard and break the 0-0 tie in the third inning, when the Lady Flames strung together a trio of consecutive singles off the bats of Cassie Hendrix, J'nae Jefferson and Shannon McKain.

However, starting pitcher Angela Megaw got Beth Bennett to ground into a fielder's choice play at the plate, followed by Keely McMillon flying to left to end the potential threat.

The Big Green tried to answer back in the bottom of the fourth with its first scoring chance of the contest.

Ashley Gleason started the frame with a sharply hit double to the gap in left center. The third baseman stood 60 feet from home following a ground out back to starting pitcher Dana Wheeler by Leigha Clarkson.

However, the lefty was able to answer her counterpart by getting Alyssa Parker to ground out to short and Kelly Mallery looking on an outside pitch to keep all zeros on the scoreboard.

Liberty's second chance to put a dent in the scoreboard came in the top of the fifth, getting runners at the corners, following Hendrix's walk and McKain shot to the gap in right center.

The two base runners chased Megaw from the game, but Stephanie Trudeau came in to thwart the rally, getting Bennett to pop out to first following a lengthy at bat and McMillon to ground out to third.

Dartmouth also had a chance to score in the bottom half of the frame, as Katie Chifcian led off the inning by dropping a single just in front of McKain into left field. Following a pair of infield ground outs, which pushed Chifcian to third, Wheeler got Christy Austin to fly out to left to keep the game tied at 0-0.

Liberty mounted one more charge to plate a run in regulation with a two-out rally in the top of the seventh. Jefferson doubled down the left-field line, following by an intentional walk issued to McKain, who had three-straight hits during her first three trips to the plate.

One of Trudeau's offerings skipped in the dirt, allowing both base runners to advance a base on the wild pitch, but the righty got Bennett to pop up to second to end the scoring chance.

And for the third-straight contest, the outcome of Liberty's game would be decided in extra innings, this time coming in the eight, following nine and 10-inning affairs yesterday.

Liberty left its 11th base runner stranded in the top of the eighth inning, as pinch runner Elena Lampman was left standing on third. McMillon attempted to bunt her over to third, but the catcher popped up to first on the sacrifice try.

Lampman moved to third on Williams' ground out to third, but Jessica Leary was unable to catch up to an outside rise ball from Trudeau, giving the hurler her second strike out of the game.

Kirsten Costello, who was placed at second as part of the international tiebreaker rule, moved to third on Nikki Yee's ground out to second.

Liberty looked like it might be able to force a ninth inning, as Ellis got Austin swing following an 11-pitch at bat for the second out. But Audrey Kolodziej connected on a ball that spun in front of Hendrix at second long enough to allow Costello to score and end the game.

Trudeau picked up her first victory of the year, moving to 1-2, as she finished off the final 3 2/3 innings by allowing a hit, a walk and two strikeouts. Megaw pitched the first 4 1/3 innings, allowing six hits, a walk and four strikeouts.

Ellis allowed the game's only run, a team unearned run in the eighth, to fall to 1-9 on the year. The junior finished off the final 2 2/3 innings, surrendering one hit, while walking and striking out one batter each.

Wheeler opened the game, by allowing three hits during the first five innings of the game. The sophomore also struck out seven and allowed a first-inning walk, ending a 35-inning streak in which the hurler had not walked a batter.

The Big Green could only muster four hits during the game. Gleason was 1-for-2, both Chifcian and Costello were 1-for-3 and Kolodziej was 1-for-4 with the game's lone RBI.

Liberty had its highest hit total in 15 games, pounding out seven base hits over eight innings. McKain led the squad, going 3-for-3 to tally a season high in hits, while Jefferson was 2-for-4 in the extra-inning affair.

Today's game brings to a conclusion Liberty's competition at the USF Under Armour Showcase. Tomorrow, Liberty travels back to the greater Orlando area to face St. Louis for a non-conference doubleheader in Clermont, Fla.

Opening pitch for the first game of the morning special is set for 9:30 a.m., with the twinbill marking the end of Liberty's annual Spring Break swing in the Sunshine State.