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LU Rallies to Sweep with Extra-Inning Win

April 29, 2008  Lynchburg, Va.  RSS
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Sarah Ellis went the distance, helping Liberty complete a doubleheader sweep of Gardner-Webb with a 5-4 nine-inning game-two victory.

Sarah Ellis went the distance, helping Liberty complete a doubleheader sweep of Gardner-Webb with a 5-4 nine-inning game-two victory.

J'nae Jefferson helped the Lady Flames complete a comeback victory, singling in the ninth to give Liberty a 5-4 victory over Gardner-Webb, Tuesday afternoon, at the Liberty Softball Field.

Earlier in the day, Liberty won by the same score, helping the Lady Flames sweep their home finale and up their record to 15-37-1 on the season. The victory also keeps Liberty undefeated at home against their future Big South foe, as Gardner-Webb is slated to join the Big South in softball and 16 other sports next year.

The loss drops Gardner-Webb's record to 21-33 on the year, ending the Bulldogs' regular season, as the visitors will not return to the softball diamond until upcoming Atlantic Sun Championship.

The Bulldogs jumped out to an early three-run lead in the top of the third inning, thanks to back-to-back extra base hits. Leadoff hitter Kelly Linsley drew a one-out walk, followed by taking second on her eighth stolen base of the year.

Following a ground out to first, Jessi Williams dropped a lined shot down the right-field line, which tipped off a diving Jenna Eatmon's glove. Williams reached third on Gardner-Webb's 10th triple of the year, while Linsley scored the game's first run.

Three pitches later, Christa Fullwood connected on her fourth home run of the season, hitting a two-run homer off the scoreboard in center field to push the Bulldogs lead to three runs, 3-0.

Ashley Williams got the Lady Flames on the scoreboard with her second hit of the game and 42nd homer of her career, clocking a solo round tripper into the batting cages in center field in the bottom of the fourth to cut the visitor's lead to two runs, 3-1.

The long ball continued to play a factor in the contest, when Liberty trimmed Gardner-Webb's lead to one run. No. 9 batter Jenna Eatmon took a 0-1 offering from starting pitcher Taryn Beck and sent it out of the park in left for her first collegiate home run, cutting the Bulldog's lead to 3-2 in the bottom of the fifth.

And for the third-straight inning, the Lady Flames hit a solo home run, as Beth Bennett led off the sixth with her sixth home run of the year. The rounder tripper caromed off the top of the fence in left center on relief pitcher Christine Murray's second pitch of the game, knotting the game at 3-3 with one left to play in regulation.

Neither team could squeeze a run across in the seventh, sending the contest into extra innings, where both teams plated their international tiebreaker rule runners in the eighth.

Harrell scored for Gardner-Webb on Mandy Ward's liner into left field, while Leah Cossentino lofted a fly ball to left to allow Cassie Hendrix to tag and score from third to send the game into the ninth inning.

Solid fielding on Liberty's part in the top of the ninth inning kept the Bulldogs off the scoreboard, as Sarah Ellis got two pop outs, including a lined bunt to Jefferson, and a ground ball to keep the score the same.

In the bottom of the ninth, Keely McMillon sacrificed Cossentino over to third, where Jefferson's long single to left plated the shortstop to give Liberty its second extra inning victory of the year.

Ellis was able to overcome the three-run third to keep the Bulldogs offense in check, upping her record to 6-19 with her 17th complete game of the year. The junior allowed four runs on six hits, walking four and fanning five batters.

Murray suffered the loss for Gardner-Webb, falling to 8-7, as she allowed three runs on three hits over 3 1/3 innings of work. Taryn Beck started the game, allowing two runs on three hits over five innings of work, walking two and striking out eight batters.

Both teams finished the game with six hits. For the second-straight game, Williams and Jefferson finished the contest with multiple hits by going 2-for-4. Three of Liberty's six hits during game were home runs, giving the Lady Flames 17 out of their 27 home runs on the year at the on-campus facility.

Gardner-Webb also had two hitters finish the game 2-for-4, as Ward and Kelsey Witter did so in the losing effort.

The Lady Flames will conclude their regular-season schedule this weekend, when they travel to Charleston, S.C., to face Charleston Southern in a key Big South Conference series.

Liberty and Charleston Southern will square off for two games on Friday, starting at 3 p.m., while concluding the three-game set on Saturday with a 2:30 p.m., contest.