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Liberty Falls to Elon, 4-1, in Season Opener

February 10, 2012  Elon, N.C.  RSS
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Jenny Law singled and scored a run during Liberty's season opener at Elon.

Jenny Law singled and scored a run during Liberty's season opener at Elon.

The Liberty softball team opened the 2012 season on Friday at the Elon Invitational. The host Elon Phoenix used a four-run fifth inning to claim a 4-1 victory over the visiting Lady Flames.

Liberty (0-1) took the lead in the fourth inning, as Amber Donovan registered her first career RBI with a sacrifice fly. Elon (1-0) recorded a pair of two-out, two-run base hits in the fifth inning to gain the advantage. Additionally, the Phoenix outfielders made three catches on deep fly balls by the Lady Flames to save extra bases.

The Lady Flames are now 10-8-1 in season openers during the program's NCAA Division I era.

Four Lady Flames recorded hits on the afternoon, with Jenny Law scoring the team's lone run. Elon scored four unearned runs on five hits off of Liberty starter Alyssa DiMartino (0-1).

For Elon, Tomeka Watson doubled and drove in a pair, while Carleigh Nester drove in two runs with a single. Erin O'Shea (1-0) allowed one run on four hits, with six strikeouts.

Grace Nordan led off the first inning with a base hit down the left field line. A pair of one-out walks, to Katie Zavodny and Kelly Strickland, loaded the bases for Law. Law struck out swinging, and then West lined out to third base to end the threat. DiMartino retired the Elon batters in order on three groundouts in the bottom of the frame.

After a scoreless Liberty half of the second inning, Elon threatened in the bottom half. Cyra Cottrell singled to left with two outs and nobody on. Then, Johanna Spencer sent a single to right field that landed just inside the foul line. Liberty right fielder Law retrieved the ball, and threw out Spencer at second for the third out of the inning.

The Lady Flames got on the scoreboard in the top of the fourth inning. Law and West recorded back-to-back singles to lead off the stanza. After a sacrifice bunt by Bridgett Woods moved the runners ahead, Donovan sent a drive to deep center that Nester tracked down. Law scored on the sacrifice fly, good for a 1-0 Liberty lead.

Elon went in order during its fourth time at bat, with Sammi Shivock recording the third out with a fine defensive play.

With two outs in the fifth inning, Nordan flew out to deep center, as Nester made another standout catch. The Phoenix then rallied for four runs during the bottom of the fifth to take a 4-1 lead.

The Elon fifth inning started with consecutive walks, to Cottrell and Spencer. An error on a sacrifice attempt loaded the bases with nobody out. Watson drove in a pair with a two-out ground-rule double. Nester then singled in two runs, before a groundout closed out the inning.

Liberty received two sixth-inning baserunners, via walks to Strickland and Woods. A strikeout ended the top half of the inning with Elon ahead, 4-1.

Following a scoreless Elon half of the sixth, Liberty managed one hit in a scoreless seventh inning to close out the ballgame.

The Lady Flames will continue their participation at the Elon Invitational on Saturday, beginning with a 9:30 a.m. matchup against Georgetown. Liberty will then meet North Carolina Central at 4:15 on Saturday.