Lady Chants power past Liberty in opening round

ccusoft-20The top-seeded Coastal Carolina softball team got off to a successful start in the Big South Championship on Thursday afternoon, posting a 3-1 victory over No. 9 Liberty in a first round game.

The Chanticleers improved to 39-14 on the season and will next face No. 5 seed Winthrop on Friday at 2 p.m. Winthrop won its first game, 3-0, over Campbell.

Kiana Quolas scattered six hits – five of them infield hits – over seven innings for her 25th win of the season, setting a new career high. She allowed one run, struck out three and walked two.

Morgan Noad hit a two-run homer in the fifth inning and Quolas had an RBI single for the three Coastal runs against Liberty’s Annah Jo Brittingham.

Brittingham, who pitched a complete-game in Liberty’s 8-5 win over No. 8 Gardner-Webb earlier on Thursday, limited the Chants to four hits, struck out two and walked three.

Coastal threatened to score in the first, putting runners on first and second with one out, but Brittingham got a groundout and a strikeout to end the inning.

Liberty (11-45) managed single hits against Quolas in three of the first four innings, but Quolas still faced the minimum, thanks to a Chant defense that turned two double plays and catcher Amanda Daneker caught another runner stealing.

Quolas gave herself the lead with her run-scoring hit in the third inning. Maicie Hahn hit a leadoff double just off the glove of the leaping right-fielder and Quolas singled to center two batters later.

Noad’s 14th home run of the season made it a three-run advantage. After Hahn walked, Noad worked a 3-2 count against Brittingham before blasting a ball over centerfield fence.

The Flames tallied their only run in the top of the sixth as three infield singles loaded the bases with one out and an RBI groundout by Kelby Allen made it 3-1. Quolas came back to get an inning-ending groundout and then pitched around a two-out walk in the seventh, snagging a liner back at her for the final out.

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