FORT COLLINS, Colo. – Trailing 6-0 after four innings, UT Arlington stitched together a remarkable comeback, scoring nine runs in the final three innings to conclude its rally against Liberty and advance in the winner's side of the NISC Championship Round.
The Mavericks (34-17) will take on Loyola Marymount on Saturday, with the winner getting a chance to play for the 2019 title. Liberty (40-21) faces Iowa State on Saturday in an elimination game.
UT Arlington took advantage of four Liberty errors to stay in range. In the seventh inning, trailing 8-6, Avery Grimes lashed a single to shortstop that brought in the Mavs' seventh run, and with two outs, Whitney Walton hit a single to put UT Arlington up, 9-8.
In the bottom of the frame, Liberty's Madison Via reached on a walk, but she was doubled up on a popout on a bunt attempt. Mavericks freshman Allie Gardiner got three outs in the seventh for the save.
After entering the day with no home runs at all for the season, Autumn Bishop launched two bombs for Liberty in Friday's game and drove in five runs. Twin sister Amber Bishop hit a two-run homer in the first inning.
Grimes scored an unearned run for the Mavericks in the top of the fifth inning to get UT Arlington on the scoreboard. Laura Curry's 88th hit of the season, tops in NCAA D-I softball, allowed UT Arlington to tie the game at 6-all, but Autumn Bishop's second home run pushed the Flames ahead, 8-6.