Liberty Sweeps Gardner-Webb In Saturday Softball Twinbill, 5-2, 2-0

Tim Cowie Photo  |
Tim Cowie Photo |

BOILING SPRINGS – Gardner-Webb got three combined hits, including a solo home run, from senior Megan Champion Saturday afternoon, but Liberty came away with a pair of wins – 5-1 and 2-0 – to sweep the Big South softball series.

GAME ONE – Liberty 5, Gardner-Webb 1
Liberty scored three unanswered runs in Saturday's opener and took a 5-1 win over Gardner-Webb at Brinkley Softball Stadium.

Gardner-Webb (12-27, 5-9 Big South) fell behind 2-0 after the top of the second inning, but pulled within a run when Megan Champion went to the opposite field for a solo home run to right.

That round tripper swung momentum, ending a stretch of 44.0 consecutive scoreless innings by Liberty pitchers. The Flames answered back with a run in the top of the third – getting a long foul ball to left from Deidra See to drive home Alexia Taylor on a sacrifice fly for a 3-1 lead.

Neither team scratched again until the sixth, when Liberty scored two more to put the game out of reach. Taylor Hoffman singled to lead off the frame, then Kaitlin McFarland singled into right field to put runners on the corners.

Pinch runner Cassie Gingerich stole second, then Kayla Harris drove a ball deep enough to centerfield to allow Hoffman to slide in safely on a sacrifice fly. Gingerich moved up a base on the play and scored on a wild pitch soon after for the final margin.

Alia Booth led off the sixth with a single into left, but two strikeouts and a ground ball negated the threat.

The Runnin' Bulldogs gathered back-to-back singles with one away in the seventh, but another strikeout and a ground ball ended the game.

Julia DiMartino (12-6) came out of the pen to secure a relief win in the circle for Liberty, hurling 4.0 scoreless innings. She allowed three hits and fanned five with no walks.

Taylor (2-for-4) led the Flames offensively, collecting one quarter of the team's eight hits. Six other batters had one hit each.

Summer Darnell (2-9) took the loss, allowing two earned runs on five hits in 3.0 innings of work. Olivia Henson came on to pitch the final 4.0 innings, allowing two runs on three hits with a strikeout.

Champion (2-for-3) had a multi-hit game, collecting a pair of Gardner-Webb's eight hits. GWU also had hits from Kaylee Wacaster (1-for-4), Rachel Cumiskey (1-for-4), Megan Gibbons (1-for-4), Booth 91-for-3), Annamarie Warley (1-for-3) and Allie Barrick (1-for-3).

GAME TWO – Liberty 2, Gardner-Webb 0
Liberty's Julia DiMartino came out of the bullpen for her third win of the series and the Flames held on for a 2-0 win over Gardner-Webb in the series finale at Brinkley Softball Stadium.

The Runnin' Bulldogs (12-28, 5-10 Big South) had a chance in the first inning after a leadoff walk to Kaylee Wacaster and a two-out error that allowed Alia Booth to reach. Flames' starter Chase Cassady recovered, however, getting an infield pop up to keep the 'Dogs off the board.

Liberty took the lead for good in the top of the fourth, getting a leadoff double from Tori Zavodny and an RBI single from Alexia Taylor to take a 1-0 lead.

Gardner-Webb again had a chance to answer, getting a one-out walk from Booth to get the tying run on board. Callie Thornton was hit by a pitch to put two on board and Liberty went to its bullpen.

Megan Champion greeted DiMartino with a single into left to load the bases, but a 5-3 double play ended the potential rally.

Liberty plated an insurance run in the sixth, as Deidre See drove home Taylor with a single.

Madi Lewis singled with two outs in the bottom of the seventh to keep hope alive for GWU, but a ground ball ended the game.

Liberty finished with seven hits in the game, with Taylor (2-for-3) and Jasmeen Click (2-for-3) leading the way.

DiMartino (13-6) worked 3.2 innings, allowed two hits and walked one to pick up the win.

Ashley Wark (5-5) took the hard-luck loss for Gardner-Webb, going the full 7.0 innings and allowing just two runs on seven hits. She struck out one and walked a pair.

Champion (1-for-3) and Lewis (1-for-3) had Gardner-Webb's hits in the game.

The Runnin' Bulldogs will be back in action on Wednesday afternoon, hosting College of Charleston at 2:00 and 4:00 pm in a non-conference double dip added to the schedule late this past week.