LYNCHBURG, Va. - Liberty took both ends of the doubleheader on Saturday afternoon as Charleston Southern was unable to come away with a key victory in the next-to-last conference series of the 2018 season.
The Bucs (25-27, 6-12) fell in the first contest, 5-2, and then were unable to build off the momentum in the final game in falling, 8-2. Sarah Brown (4-for-6, three doubles) and Meghan Gagliano (3-for-5, triple, two RBI) paced the Bucs' offense on the day in the pair of losses.
The Flames (36-12, 15-3) utilized Julia DiMartino's strong relief outings in the circle as she combined to go 5.2 innings allowing two hits while striking out six in earning a win and a save on Saturday afternoon.
Game One: Liberty 5, Charleston Southern 2
Liberty took advantage of a trio of Charleston Southern errors to hold off the Buccaneers in the first game of the doubleheader on Saturday afternoon at the LU Softball Stadium.
Nicole Ayala (1-4) suffered the loss in the contest going the first 3.2 innings and allowing four hits and five runs while striking out one. Arizona Pilgrim allowed three hits over a scoreless 2.1 innings to close out the contest.
Elizabeth Engler (7-2) picked up the win in the circle for the Flames after going the first five innings. Julia DiMartino went the final two innings in relief in picking up her sixth save of the year.
Amber Bishop put the Flames ahead early with a one-out solo home run in the bottom of the first inning.
The pitchers traded zeroes over the next three frames before Liberty broke the contest open with four runs in the bottom of the fourth. Deidra See put the first run of the frame across with a run-scoring double bringing home Madison Via. The Flames added another run as See scored on an errant throw on a stolen base attempt. Sarah Robertson brought home the final two runs with a single to left center plating Jaclyn Amador and Amber Bishop.
The Bucs battled back in the top of the fifth. Sarah Brown's popup was lost in the sun in shallow centerfield and the third baseman alertly took second on the plate for the leadoff double. She scored two batters later on Koger's sacrifice fly. Destini Ewing kept the rally alive with a walk before Gagliano laced a line drive through the outfielders to the left field wall for the RBI triple.
Gandara drilled a leadoff single in the top of the sixth for CSU's final hit of the contest before DiMartino entered the game and retired all six batters she faced to secure the series win.
Game Two: Liberty 8, CSU 2
Liberty responded to a CSU rally with six unanswered runs as the Buccaneers fell in the series finale to the host Flames, 8-2.
CSU rallied back with two runs in the top of the fourth inning to even the score at 2-2 behind Summer Moore's sacrifice fly and Meghan Gagliano's RBI single. Alexia Taylor swung the advantage back to the Flames with an RBI double in the bottom half of the inning to spark a six-run stretch that led to the eventual winning margin.
Alyssa Heinrich (7-4) suffered the loss in the circle after allowing eight hits and five runs over 3.2 innings. Arizona Pilgrim and Emily Visnic combined to allow three hits and three runs over the final 2.1 innings in relief.
Julia DiMartino (21-7) recorded her second win of the weekend with 3.2 innings of two-hit relief. Chase Cassidy went the first 3.1 innings in the start allowing four hits and both CSU runs while striking out six.
The Flames struck for two runs in bottom of the second inning as Jasmeen Click brought home Madison Via on a bunt single. Amber Bishop added a sharp single through the left side scoring Click to stake Liberty to the early 2-0 lead.
CSU rallied back to tie the game up in the top of the fourth. Caitlyn Emberson drew a leadoff walk to spark the rally. With Kendall Anderson on base to run, Sarah Brown connected on a line drive down the third base line for a standup double to put two on with none out. Gleason dropped a bunt single down the third base line to load the bases and Moore cashed it in with a sacrifice fly down the left field line scoring Anderson. Two batters later, Gagliano slapped a single through the right side of the infield to score Brown and knot the game up at 2-2.
Taylor Hoffman and Alexia Taylor connected on back-to-back doubles to lead off the bottom half of the inning and put the Flames back in the lead. Autumn Bishop added a sacrifice fly to center and Jaclyn Amader connected on an RBI triple to put the Flames ahead 5-2 after four innings.
Liberty added runs in both the fifth and sixth innings to seal the win as Autumn Bishop connected on another sacrifice fly, while Via's RBI triple and then run scored on Hoffman's error provided the final margin.
Brown's double down the left field line with two outs in the top of the fifth was CSU's final runner in the contest as the Bucs fell in the Big South series finale.
News & Notes
- Sarah Brown's trio of doubles on the afternoon nearly doubled her 2018 total on the year. Brown entered Saturday with four doubles on the season and left the contest with seven on the year to move into a tie for the fourth-most two-baggers on the team this season with Nina Del Rio.
- The weekend series against the Flames was the first time in 2018 CSU went an entire weekend without a home run or a stolen base. The Bucs (53 HR, 95 SB) led the Big South in both categories entering the weekend.
Charleston Southern takes a week off for exams before making the trek to Columbia, S.C. on Wednesday, May 2, for a non-conference matchup against South Carolina. First pitch against the Gamecocks is set for 6 p.m.