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Lowe's Near Perfect Game Helps Lady Flames To Doubleheader Split With Spartans

April 18, 2006  Lynchburg, Va.  RSS
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Terra Lowe came within a pitch of tossing the first-ever seven inning perfect game in school history in a 4-0 opening win over UNC Greensboro, while six-straight runs helped the Spartans to a 6-4 victory in the second game, Tuesday afternoon, at the Liberty Softball Field.

With the doubleheader split, the Lady Flames raise their record to 29-16 on the season and stand just one win shy of recording their first 30-win season since 2000 when Liberty completed a five-year stretch where the team won 30 or more games in a year.

In the first game, the game remained scoreless until the bottom of the third inning as Jessica Leary led off the frame by drawing a walk. After advancing to second and third on a pair of wild pitches, Leary was able to score on a RBI base hit to left field by Dawn Jeffs to give Liberty a 1-0 lead.

The Lady Flames added to their lead in the fifth when Jeffs led off the inning with a single to center field, while two batters later, the second baseman was able to cross the plate on a RBI single up the middle by Ashley Williams to push Liberty's advantage to 2-0.

Liberty put the game out of reach in the sixth inning when Shannon McKain led off the frame with a double to the gap in left center field, while two batters later, Jessica Moore connected on her team-leading 15th home run of the year over the fence in right center field to give the Lady Flames their final 4-0 edge.

Terra Lowe nearly joined an elite group of Liberty pitchers as the junior was perfect through 20 batters; however, Jennifer Bonilla broke up the perfect game bid with a two-out single in the seventh through the left side of the infield.

Lowe walked the next batter, but got an infield pop-up to end the game, allowing the junior to pick up her team-leading 11th victory of the season as she allowed just the single hit and struck out 11 batters in the complete-game effort. Hannah Angel suffered the loss as she allowed all four runs on seven hits, while walking four batters and strikeout seven.

Jeffs led the Lady Flames from the plate as she finished the game 2-for-4 with a RBI and a run scored, while Williams was 2-for-3 with a RBI single.

In the second contest, the Lady Flames kept the momentum from the first game as Beth Bennett was issued a two-out walk in the first inning followed by Ashley Williams ninth home run of the year as the two-run blast to left field game Liberty a 2-0 lead.

However, the Spartans finally got their offense going to score six-straight runs and take a lead their would never relinquish. UNC Greensboro started in the second inning as Lyndsay Mouse dropped a bunt base hit down the first base line, while two batters later, Kara Clouser knocked her in with a base hit through the left side of the infield.

In the third, the Spartans pulled even with Liberty as Krista Judge led off the frame with an infield single back up the middle, while the leadoff hitter tied the game as she scored on a RBI base hit to center field off the bat of Jennifer Bonilla.

The score remained the same until the fifth inning when the Spartans plated three runs on three hits to take the lead for good. Judge led off the frame with a bunt single just in front of the circle, while Adriane Audley was struck by a pitch to follow.

Starting pitcher Sarah Swor was lifted and relived by Sarah Ellis; however, Ellis struggled as she allowed a single to right field by Bonilla to start her relief appearance, while she issued a bases loaded walk to Kelly Allen to force in the first run of the inning.

Two batters later, Audley scored on a fielder's choice play off the bat of Stephanie Talarek, while a RBI base hit back up the middle by Clouser drove in Bonilla to cap off the decisive inning.

UNC Greensboro plated an insurance run in the sixth inning as Koury Duncan was struck by a pitch to start off the inning, while three batters later, Bonilla lofted a ball deep to left field to allow Duncan to score on the sacrifice fly.

Williams' two-run homer in the first inning was Liberty's only hit of the game until the sixth inning when Bennett led off the frame with a single to center field, while three batters later, Shannon McKain followed with a base hit to the fence in straightaway center to score pinch runner Rachel Love and pull Liberty within three, 6-3.

The Lady Flames attempted to mount one last rally in the seventh inning as pinch hitter Whitney Nixon led off the frame with a five-pitch walk. Later in the frame, back-to-back singles through the left side of the infield gave Liberty hope, including a RBI base hit by Williams, but Danielle Byrne was able to halt the late rally to secure the victory.

Byrne tossed her first complete game of the season as the senior allowed four runs on five hits, while walking five and striking out four batters in seven innings of work.

Swor suffered the loss and drops to 10-8 on the year as she allowed four runs on six hits in four innings of work, before Ellis (1.0 IP, 2 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 1 BB) and Lowe (2.0 IP, 1 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 1 BB, 1 SO) finished off the final three innings.

Bennett and Williams led the Lady Flames from the plate as Bennett finished the game 2-for-3 with a run scored, while Williams was 2-for-4 with a run scored and three RBI to increase her team-leading total to 48 on the year.

The Lady Flames will conclude a brief two-game homestand tomorrow afternoon when they host cross town opponent Lynchburg College for a non-conference doubleheader, started to start at 3 p.m.