LYNCHBURG, Va. - Charleston Southern was unable to overcome a quick start by the Flames in the series finale as the Buccaneers fell at Kamphuis Field, 3-2.
Natalie Yonan went 2-for-3 at the plate to lead the Bucs (21-29, 9-11) offense on the afternoon with the senior third baseman connecting on her eighth double of the season in the loss. Amanda Matsumoto added two hits for the CSU offense.
Hayley Elkins (10-21) went the distance in suffering the loss for the Bucs. Elkins allowed five hits and three runs, striking out four over six innings' work.
Liberty's Julia DiMartino (14-10) picked up her second win of the weekend with the complete game victory in the circle. The freshman right-hander allowed eight hits and two runs (one earned), while striking out nine in the win.
Liberty struck in the bottom of the first as the Flames plated two runs to take the early lead off of Elkins. Rylee Reynolds provided the big hit in the frame with a two-run, two-out double to centerfield scoring Tori Zavodny and Deidra See giving the Flames the 2-0 lead.
The Bucs threatened in the top of the third inning as CSU loaded the bases with one out in the frame. Stephanie Bergmann and Caitlyn Emberson sandwiched singles around a full-count walk issued to Stevi Johnson. However, DiMartino shut down the Bucs' rally , getting the final two outs to hold the Bucs scoreless.
Kassidy McCoy added to the Flames' lead in the bottom of the fourth with an RBI double to right centerfield. The shot short-hopped the wall, scoring Blair Lawrence in giving Liberty the 3-0 lead.
The Bucs broke the seal on the scoreboard in the top of the fifth inning on Jade Gandara's two-out RBI single to shallow centerfield. The base hit brought in Stephanie Bergmann and snapped DiMartino's scoreless streak at 19.2 innings to cut the Flames' lead down to 3-1.
CSU narrowed the lead down to one in the top of the sixth as the Bucs cut the margin down to 3-2. Natalie Yonan continued to swing the hot bat on the weekend with a one-out double off the warning track in centerfield. After an Amanda Matsumoto single advanced Yonan to third, the CSU senior scored on an errant throw on Bergmann's grounder to short.
Liberty nearly tacked onto their lead in the bottom of the sixth as the Flames put a pair of runners in scoring position with one out. The Bucs defense snuffed out the rally though as Elkins set down Jaclyn Amader on strikes and Georgi DeLio threw out Reynolds at the plate to end the inning.
The Bucs were unable to mount a final rally in the seventh though as DiMartino retired the side in order to close out the contest.
Charleston Southern is back in action on Tuesday afternoon in Big South Conference play as the Buccaneers travel back to Conway, S.C. to complete the series against Coastal Carolina. First pitch at the CCU Softball Field is set for 4 p.m.