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Sixth-Inning Rally Allows Eagles Series Sweep

April 26, 2008  Lynchburg, Va.  RSS
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Ashley Williams hit her 41st career home run on Senior Day against Winthrop.

Ashley Williams hit her 41st career home run on Senior Day against Winthrop.

Liberty broke a scoreless tie with a solo home run in the fourth, but Winthrop rallied with three runs in the sixth to complete a Big South series sweep over the Lady Flames, taking the finale, 4-1, Saturday afternoon, at the Liberty Softball Field.

Prior to the conference-series finale, Liberty honored Shannon McKain and Ashley Williams, as the contest served as the Lady Flames' Senior Day. The duo has helped Liberty to 112 wins over their four-year careers and rank among the program's best in several career listings.

With the afternoon victory, the Eagles wrap up their regular season with a 33-17 overall record and a 14-1 mark in Big South action. Winthrop has now won three-straight league series and nine-consecutive Big South games.

The 14-1 record secures the top seed in the upcoming Big South Softball Championship and Winthrop's second-straight Big South regular-season title. Liberty and Winthrop shared the regular-season crown last year with matching 11-4 marks.

The loss drops Liberty's record to 13-37-1 overall and 3-9 in Big South play, following seven-straight league setbacks.

The game remained quiet until the bottom of the fourth inning, as both starting pitchers held their opposition's bats in check with a combined four hits.

However, the scoreless tie was broken in the home half of the frame, when Williams hit her team-leading eighth home run of the year. The senior lined the 1-0 offering from Megan Evans over the fence in left center, giving Liberty a 1-0 lead on her 41st career round tripper.

The score remained the same until the top of the sixth inning, when Winthrop took the lead with a three-run frame. A double by Stephanie Reid, followed by a pair of walks, chased starting pitcher Tiffani Smith from the contest.

Pinch hitter Veronica Berrie lined the first pitch she saw from reliever Sarah Ellis into center field, allowing pinch runners Erica Spradley and Brittany Stoudemire to cross the plate.

Following a fielder's choice play which placed runners at the corners, Sarah Magee swiped second base. But Williams' throw to the bag went unfielded by both middle infielders, allowing Berrie to scurry home from third and stake Winthrop to a 3-1 advantage.

Winthrop tacked on an insurance run the top of the seventh, as Tessa Thomas led off the inning with an infield single and later scored on Mallory Hogan's RBI groundout to second.

Megan Evans picked up her second victory in as many days, upping her record to 17-6 on the season. The lefty allowed one run on four hits, during 5 1/3 innings of work, while striking out five batters.

For the third-straight game, Izzy Trottier came in to the close out the game, picking up her second save of the year by finishing out the final 1 2/3 innings of the game with a walk and two strikeouts.

Smith suffered the setback for Liberty, falling to 4-12 on the year. The rookie allowed three runs, two of which were earned, on four hits, walking four and striking out five. Ellis finished off the final 1 2/3 innings of the game, allowing a run on three hits.

Kingsmore and Reid led the Eagles from the plate with a pair of multi-hit games. Kingsmore was 2-for-4, while Reid was 2-for-3.

DePasquale recorded two of Liberty's four hits during the game, going 2-for-4 from the plate, while Williams was 1-for-2 with the solo home run.

The Lady Flames will return to the softball diamond on Tuesday when they host their home finale against future Big South foe Gardner-Webb. The afternoon doubleheader is slated to begin at 2 p.m., at the Liberty Softball Field.