Flames Advance to Regional Final, Knock Off No. 9 Seed Tennessee 6-4
Liberty freshman Savannah Channell hit a go-ahead grand slam off of Tennessee's Ashley Rogers, sparking a 6-4 come-from-behind win as the Lady Flames eliminated No. 9 national seed Tennessee, Saturday at Sherri Parker Lee Stadium.
The Lady Flames (44-14) advance to its second Regional final in program history and first since 2018. Liberty staved off elimination twice today, downing Eastern Kentucky 5-1 this afternoon before knocking off the Lady Vols tonight.
Tennessee sees its season end at 42-15 after falling to James Madison and Liberty today. The Lady Flames downed the Lady Vols for the first time in program history after Tennessee had won each of the first 20 meetings. That included a 6-0 Lady Vols win over Liberty on March 30 this season.
On order to advance to its first-ever Super Regional appearance, Liberty will have to beat JMU twice tomorrow to win the Regional.
Tennessee – 1st INNING – Morgan singles, Ayala scores, 1-0
Tennessee – 3rd INNING – Bishop doubles, Howard, Via and Hudson score, 2-0
Liberty – 4th INNING – Channell homers, Hodum, Howard and Via score, 4-2
Liberty – 5th INNING – Wilson scores from third, obstruction by catcher, 5-2
Tennessee – 6th INNING – Shipman triples, Willingham scores, 5-3
Tennessee – 6th INNING – Seggern flies out to center field, sacrifice fly, Shipman scores, 5-4
Liberty – 7th INNING – Bishop-Riley homers to left, 6-4
– Tennessee outhit the Lady Flames 7-5 in the game. The Lady Vols committed the game's lone error. UT left four runners on base, compared to three stranded runners for Liberty.
– Karlie Keeney (17-5) earned the win for the second game in a row, allowing four runs on six hits, walking three and striking out one in five innings. Megan Johnson earned her first career save with two innings of one-hit relief.
– Ashley Rogers (26-10) drew the loss, allowing five runs (four earned) on four hits, walking four and striking out five in four innings. Callie Turner yielded one run on one hit in the final three innings.
– Channell went 1-for-4 with a homer, one run scored and four RBI. Amber Bishop-Riley batted 2-for-3 with her ASUN-leading 18th homer of the season.
– Tennessee's Ashley Rogers batted 2-for-2 with two RBI. Morgan and Chelsea Seggern had one sacrifice fly each.
– Tennessee took a 2-0 lead into the top of the fourth. Denay Griffin drew a leadoff walk and Devyn Howard followed with a single. Rogers retired the next two batters before walking Madison Via to load the bases. Channell then blasted a 2-2 pitch over the left field fence for a 4-2 lead.
– With Liberty leading 5-2 in the bottom of the sixth, Morgan hit a leadoff single and Aly Shipman followed with an RBI triple. Johnson then entered the circle for Keeney. Seggern then hit a sacrifice fly to narrow the deficit to 5-4. The Liberty reliever got out of the inning maintaining a one-run lead.
– Liberty tacked on an insurance run on a solo shot from Bishop-Riley in the top of the seventh. A 1-2-3 Tennessee seventh inning sent Liberty to its second Regional final appearance.
Beyond the Box Score
– The Lady Flames have picked up their fourth-ever NCAA Regional game victory, and improved to 2-3 all-time when facing elimination in NCAA postseason play. Liberty is 3-0 this season when facing elimination, beginning with an 8-0 win in game three of the ASUN quarterfinal series against Lipscomb on May 8.
– Tennessee was the first team to score in the first inning against Liberty since No. 1 Oklahoma on March 14.
– Today marked Liberty's third win over a Top 25 team this season and 14th nationally-ranked win in program history. The Lady Flames' three Top 25 wins this year are tied for the most in a single season in program history (2007).
– Channell hit the first postseason grand slam in program history and first grand slam against a Top 25 team. Channell's four RBI are the most by a Lady Flame in an NCAA Regional game all-time.
– Three of Channell's four home runs this season have come against SEC pitchers, hitting one each against Alabama, LSU and Tennessee.
– Mary Claire Wilson has scored a run in each of her last seven pinch running appearances.
– Liberty's six runs scored in tonight's game were the most runs that the Lady Flames have scored in an NCAA Regional game, breaking their previous record of five set this afternoon against EKU.
– Liberty is 8-10 this season when its opponent scores first.
– Johnson was making her first pitching appearance since April 26 against Bellarmine. She has only allowed two out of 13 inherited runners to score this season.