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Lady Flames Set to Host Manhattan, Saturday

March 1, 2013
|  Lynchburg, Va.
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The Liberty softball team will host Manhattan for a single game on Saturday at 1 p.m.

Liberty closes out a brief, three-game homestand on Saturday, playing host to Manhattan at 1 p.m. Following Saturday's game at the Liberty Softball Field, the Lady Flames' next 13 contests will be played away from Lynchburg.

How to Follow the Lady Flames
Fans can follow Saturday's game through Gametracker live stats, provided by the Liberty Athletics Communications office. Live stats can be accessed through the Live Stats link on LibertyFlames.com

The Lady Flames are 4-7 so far this season, winning two out of their last three games. Liberty concluded the East Carolina Pirate Invitational with a 5-4 win, last Sunday, before splitting their home-opening doubleheader against Hampton, Wednesday.

During Liberty's home opener on Wednesday, junior Katie Zavodny went 5-for-5 with two double and two RBIs, setting the program's single-game record for hits. The Lady Flames battled back to tie the score at 6-6 in the seventh inning, before falling in eight innings during game one, 10-8.

Liberty posted four runs in each of the first two innings of Wednesday's second game, receiving a four-hitter from sophomore Chandler Ball during a 10-1, five-inning victory over Hampton. Four different Lady Flames scored two runs apiece, while junior Sammi Shivock and sophomore Kelby Allen both went 2-for-3 with three RBIs. Liberty's 10 runs during Wednesday's second game were its most since a 14-6 win over Longwood in last season's regular-season finale.

The Lady Flames bat .292 as a team this season, with 16 doubles and 10 homers. Four different Lady Flames have two home runs apiece, in Shivock, Allen, sophomore Hanna Nichols and junior Grace Nordan. Zavodny, Shivock and sophomore Amber Donovan have all hit three doubles in 2013.

Zavodny, a 2012 all-conference performer, leads the team with a .410 batting average and a conference-best 10 stolen bases. She ranks third in the Big South in hits so far this year. Zavodny has one three-steal game this season, and stole two bases in both games on Wednesday. She ranks fourth in program history, with 48 career stolen bases.

Shivock bats .371 and paces the team with nine RBIs and a .629 slugging percentage. Freshman Blair Lawrence hits .320, stealing three bases. Nordan checks in with a .313 average, including a team-best eight runs scored. Donovan, at .310, gives Liberty five .300 hitters.

Brittingham (4.71 ERA) holds a 2-2 record and paces Liberty with 17 strikeouts and two complete games. Sophomore Chandler Ball has also won two games this year.

Last weekend, Liberty registered a pair of one-run wins, going 2-3 at the East Carolina Pirate Invitational.

The Lady Flames won a wild, 9-8, eight-inning game over Fairfield last Friday, capped by a walk-off homer from Nordan. Liberty then closed out the weekend by defeating the host ECU Pirates, 5-4. The team built a 4-0 lead against ECU, thanks in part to consecutive homers by freshman Holly Seiz and Shivock. Brittingham and the Liberty defense held off the Pirates for a 5-4 win.

Manhattan, a member of the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference (MAAC), had its season-opening invitational rained out last weekend. The Jaspers will now open their 2013 campaign at Liberty on Saturday. Manhattan went 11-36 last season, finishing eighth in the MAAC with a 6-10 conference record.

Junior infielder/pitcher Kate Bowen leads the Jaspers, as she paced Manhattan in most offensive categories, in addition to ERA (3.50). Bowen was named to the NFCA All-Northeast Region First Team last year. Jen Keller (.263) and Amanda Babcock (.254) also return for the Jaspers. Babcock ranked 24th in the nation in walks last year, with 35.

Liberty is 3-2 all-time against Manhattan, with the Jaspers winning the most recent meeting, 8-5, on March 22, 2003 in Boca Raton, Fla. The two teams met three times that weekend in 2003, with the Lady Flames winning the first game and the Jaspers claiming the next two.

Following Saturday's contest, Liberty's next games will be held in Johnson City, Tenn., as the Lady Flames will play a doubleheader at East Tennessee State on Tuesday. That doubleheader begins a stretch of 13 straight games away from Lynchburg. After this Saturday, Liberty's next home contests will take place on March 22, when the Lady Flames host Presbyterian College to open a Big South weekend series.