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Boiling Springs, N.C. - The Gardner-Webb softball team knocked 15 hits over the two games on Saturday afternoon, yet scored only three runs in the two losses in their conference opening series to the Liberty Lady Flames at Varsity Field in Boiling Springs, N.C.

GWU suffered a 4-0 loss in game one and an 8-3 loss in game two to fall to 13-17 overall and 0-2 in the Big South Conference.  With the two wins, Liberty improves to 8-15 overall and 2-1 in Big South Conference play.

Game 1: Liberty 4, GWU 0

Gardner-Webb stranded seven runners on base in game one, as the Lady Flames held on for a 4-0 win over the Runnin' Bulldogs in GWU's Big South opener.

Liberty took a 1-0 lead in the top of the first, as first-baseman Kaylee West hit a two-out bases loaded single to second to drive in shortstop Sammi Shivock and put the visitors on top early.

After GWU went down in order in the bottom half of the first, an RBI single by Shivock in the second put the Lady Flames on top by two at 2-0.

Gardner-Webb looked to get a run back in the bottom half of the second, as senior catcher McKenzie Morenus led off the inning with a line drive single down the left field line.  After the next two GWU hitters popped out in the infield, redshirt-junior outfielder Melinda Dulkowski laid down a bunt single to third to put runners on first and second with two outs.  The next Gardner-Webb batter would foul out to third-base to leave the Runnin' Bulldogs scoreless after two innings of play.

The Runnin' Bulldogs' Morenus added another single in the fourth, as did fellow senior Jane Savage, only to have both runners stranded once more to keep the score at 2-0 in favor of the Liberty Lady Flames.

Liberty added an insurance run by way of a RBI single by Jenny Law in the top of the fifth and another one in the top of the seventh on an RBI single up the middle by Kelly Strickland in the 4-0 win.

GWU had a single in the sixth, the third hit of the day for Morenus, and another single by Dulkowski in the seventh, yet failed to score in the shutout loss.

Jessica Childers (2-5) was handed the loss, as she gave up four runs on 11 hits and four walks, while striking out six over the seven inning affair.

Liberty's Alyssa DiMartino (4-10) earned the win in relief work, as she held GWU to only two four  hits and one walk, while striking out five in the final four innings of play.

Offensively for the Runnin' Bulldogs, Morenus was 3-3 with three singles, while Dulkowski was 2-3 and Savage was 1-3 for the game.

For Liberty, Shivock was 3-4 with an RBI and a run scored, while Meredith Crisante was 2-4 with a double and a stolen base.  Four different Liberty players recorded an RBI in the win.


Game 2: Liberty 8, GWU 3

GWU's offense continued to struggle to score runs in game two, as the Lady Flames defeated the home team 8-3 in the second game of the day.

After both teams failed to push across a run in the first, Liberty blew the game open in the top of the second with the help of a two-out error by the Gardner-Webb defense.  With the first two batters making outs, West doubled to left center field for the Lady Flames. Law then hit a ground ball off the end of the bat between first and second where an errant throw to first on the play allowed West to score all the way from second and put the visitors up 1-0.

The error kept the inning alive, as the next Liberty batter drew a base-on-balls.  With two runners on and two outs, Bridgett Woods hit a towering fly ball that sailed over the fence in right field to put Liberty up 4-0 in the second.

Gardner-Webb got one run back in the bottom half of the second, as senior outfielder Lindsea Hutchinson led off the inning with a solo home run to left field, her third home run of the season.

After Liberty added a run in the top half of the third on an Amber Donovan RBI double, Gardner-Webb pushed across another run in the bottom of the inning on an RBI single by freshman catcher Amanda Gomes, putting the score at 5-2 in favor of the Lady Flames.

In the fourth, sophomore Elizabeth Williams led off the inning with a pinch hit line drive single to left field and was pulled for pinch runner freshman Kellie Beres.  A Jordyn Arrowood infield single put runners on first and second, as both would then advance up on a wild pitch two batters later.  Dulkowski then hit a one-out ground ball to second to score Beres from third and put GWU in striking distance at 5-3.

However, the Runnin' Bulldogs would get only one hit over the final three innings of play, while the Lady Flames added three runs in their final two at bats to take the 8-3 win.

GWU's Cindy Boomhower (5-4) suffered the loss, giving up four runs, all unearned, on two hits and two strikeouts over the first two innings of play.

DiMartino (5-10) earned her second win of the day, again in a relief effort, as she allowed one run on four hits, while striking out two over the final 4.1 innings of the contest.

For GWU at the plate, Gomes was 2-3 with an RBI, while Hutchinson was 1-2 with a home run and an RBI.

Liberty's Woods was 2-3 with a home run and three RBI, while Crisante was 2-4 with two doubles, two RBI and a run scored.

Gardner-Webb has lost 10 straight to the Lady Flames, dating back to the 2010 season.

The third and final game of the three-game conference series is slated for a 2 p.m. start time tomorrow afternoon, Sunday, March 25th, at Varsity Field in Boiling Springs, N.C.


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