2004 Big South Softball Tournament, presented by Aeropostale Game #3
BIRMINGHAM, AL - Third-seeded Coastal Carolina scored five runs in the bottom of the sixth to overcome a 4-0 deficit and beat sixth-seeded Liberty, 5-4, in Game 3 of the 2004 Big South Softball Championship presented by Aeropostale, Thursday evening, at the BSC Softball Park. The win pits Coastal Carolina against Winthrop in the rain-delayed nightcap in one semifinal of the winners bracket in the double-elimination field. Liberty will face Charleston Southern at 11 a.m. Friday in the Tournaments losers bracket.
Liberty (19-43) broke through first in the top of the third inning with two runs as Gertie Jeffries RBI base hit up the middle drove in Beth Hensley, while 2004 Big South Player of the Year Amanda Maska added to the lead with an RBI base hit to center field, scoring Jeffries and extending Libertys advance to 2-0. A costly error padded Libertys lead in the fifth inning as Lindsay Schwind looked to groundout to shortstop to end the inning; however, Kristina Sheppards throw to first base was wide, allowing Rasmussen, who reached with a lead-off single to left field, to cross the plate. On the following at bat, Maska lined the first pitch down the left field line, plating pinch-runner Leanne Long and give the Lady Flames a 4-0 lead.
However, Coastal Carolina (26-27) exploded for five runs on four hits and one Lady Flames error in the bottom of the sixth inning as Kelly Feely drove in Sara Hostetler and Kristina Sheppard with her team-leading 10th double of the season with a shot to the wall in straightaway centerfield, cutting Libertys lead in half. After a single to right field off the bat of Diana Mendez, Lynee Hastings connected on a double to the gap in right centerfield, driving in pinch runners Alexandra Prattes and Carla Hood, knotting the game at 4-4. Two batters later, the Lady Flames looked like they were out of the inning as Delane Oscarson grounded out to shortstop. Rasmussens throw to first, however, drew Lindsay Schwind off the bag, leading to the game-winning, but unearned, run.
On our outer-half pitches, we were not finishing with our top hand, Coastal Carolina head coach Jess Dannelly said. Ive told our team all year, if they just make the little adjustments, well be alright. Youve got to finish with your top hand. We did that late and I made them take a strike so they wouldnt get anxious on us. It paid off.
It was a great game, said Liberty head coach Paul Wetmore. It was very intense all the way. Coastal did a great job, never gave up and came back. We had a four-run lead, made a couple of mistakes and they started hitting our pitcher late. Somebodys going to come out of the losers bracket, so weve got to come out tomorrow and play with that intensity.
Brittany Nelson (12-13) picked up the victory in relief of starting pitcher Danyelle Gerdts, tossing two scoreless innings of relief while surrendering just one hit. Gerdts allowed four earned runs on six hits in the first five innings of the game, while striking out two batters. Second-team All-Conference selection Sarah Swor (13-14) suffered the tough luck loss as she allowed four earned runs on eight hits in her 20th complete game of the season. Feely and Hastings drove in two each for CCU. Maska was 2-for-3 with two RBI for Liberty.