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Lady Flames Set to Take on Campbell in Big South Series
Complete Game Notes
Following a three-game sweep at home against Presbyterian College, the Liberty softball team (14-12, 3-1 Big South) travels to Buies Creek, N.C., for a weekend Big South series at Campbell (20-12, 4-2 Big South). Friday's doubleheader begins at 4 p.m., while the two teams meet once on Saturday, at noon.
Season at a Glance
Liberty opened conference play with a 6-3 setback at Radford, last Wednesday, before sweeping Presbyterian College, 3-0, at Liberty Softball Field over the weekend.
Sophomore Hanna Nichols was named Big South Softball Player of the Week on Monday, after hitting .583 last week and registering a game-winning hit, Friday.
The Lady Flames hit .275 as a team, scoring 4.7 runs per game, this season. Katie Zavodny (.398) is on an 18-game hitting streak and is first in the nation, averaging one stolen base per game. Amber Donovan (.375) and Sammi Shivock (.321) are tied for the team lead with seven doubles, while Shivock has a team-leading 17 RBIs.
How to Follow the Lady Flames
Fans can follow all three games this weekend through Gametracker, provided by the Liberty Athletics Communications office. Live stats can be accessed through the Live Stats link on LibertyFlames.com. A free live audio stream will be available for each game during the series, via the Big South Network.
- The Lady Flames have won six out of their last six games, including a 3-0 sweep of PC.
- Liberty won a pair of one-run games on Friday, now 6-1 in one-run contests this season.
- Hanna Nichols was named Big South Softball Player of the Week, Monday.
- Katie Zavodny is on a career-best 18-game hitting streak, hitting .450 during that span.
- Zavodny was ranked No. 1 nationally with one stolen base per game entering the week.
- Kelby Allen is batting .500 with nine RBIs and six runs scored over the last five games.
- Annah Jo Brittingham is 3-0 with a 2.49 ERA during her last four appearances.
- Liberty is 2-8 all-time against Campbell, making first visit to Buies Creek since 1995.
Liberty vs. Campbell
Campbell (20-12, 4-2 Big South) shut out Virginia at home, 8-0, in its season opener, and the Camels are 14-3 at Amanda Littlejohn Stadium so far this season. The Camels fell to North Carolina, 3-0, on Wednesday in their most recent game. Four Campbell players hit .300 or better on the year. Ericka Nesbitt leads the team with a .460 batting average and 27 runs scored, while Raven Lee (.298) paces the Camels with 11 homers and 39 RBIs. Brittany Arnn has Campbell's best ERA, 1.31, while going 4-5 in the circle.
Campbell holds an 8-2 advantage in the all-time series against Liberty, which began in 1995. The Camels won a pair of home games against the Lady Flames on April 3, 1995, the only time Liberty has played softball games at Campbell to date. Last season, Campbell went 2-1 in its first conference series with Liberty since rejoining the Big South.
Liberty vs. Campbell - 2012 Recap
Liberty and Campbell staged a high-scoring series, April 27-28, 2012 at Liberty Softball Field, as the two teams combined for 47 runs, 63 hits and nine homers over the span of three games. The Camels went 2-1 on the weekend.
During game one on April 27, the Lady Flames built a 7-0 lead, on the strength of homers by Jenny Law and Kelly Strickland. The Camels responded with a five-run fifth, but Liberty held on for the 7-6 win.
Game two saw the Camels rally back from a 6-2 deficit in the seventh inning, scoring seven runs in the frame to gain a 9-6 win over the Lady Flames.
Campbell won game three of the series, 12-7, scoring all 12 of its runs over the final four innings. Sammi Shivock led the Lady Flames with three hits, a homer and two RBIs.
Back to North Carolina
The Lady Flames are 3-1 when playing in North Carolina so far this year. After playing at Campbell, a midweek doubleheader at UNCG will serve as Liberty's last scheduled competition in North Carolina during 2013.
Last year, Liberty went 5-2 in the Tar Heel State, and the Lady Flames are 88-97 in North Carolina as an NCAA Division I program (since 1994).
A pair of Liberty's starters, Katie Zavodny (Concord) and Blair Lawrence (Hampstead), will return to their home state of North Carolina this weekend.
Speed on Display
This weekend's series could see quite a display of baserunning, as Campbell and Liberty rank first and second, respectively, in the Big South in stolen bases. Campbell is currently 16th in the nation with 2.03 stolen bases per game, while Liberty (1.65) is ranked 35th on the national list in steals.
Nichols Named Big South Player of the Week
Sophomore first baseman Hanna Nichols was named Big South Choice Hotels Softball Player of the Week on Monday. She hit .583 with one double, one homer, three RBIs and three runs scored, helping Liberty open conference play with a 3-1 record.
Nichols is the first Lady Flames to be named Big South Softball Player of the Week since Feb. 27, 2012, when Meredith Crisante received the award.
She was particularly effective against Presbyterian College, going 7-for-10 during the three-game sweep. Nichols posted a pair of three-hit games on Friday, hitting a walk-off single in the ninth inning of game one. On Saturday, her two-run homer in the fifth inning provided the winning margin in an 8-6 victory.
After falling at Radford, 6-3, in the Lady Flames' conference opener, Liberty swept Presbyterian College at home over the weekend. The Lady Flames are now 6-1 in their last seven games played.
Liberty won its conference home opener, 5-4, in nine innings over PC on Friday, with Hanna Nichols providing the game-winning, walk-off hit.
The Lady Flames then beat the Blue Hose, 2-1, in game two. Amber Donovan hit a two-run homer, while Annah Jo Brittingham pitched a complete-game five-hitter.
Liberty copmleted the sweep on Saturday by scoring four runs in the fifth inning to win, 8-6. Nichols capped the Lady Flames' fifth-inning rally by hitting a two-run home run.
Zavodny Races Into National Lead in Stolen Bases
Junior Katie Zavodny is the conference and national leader in steals, having stolen 26 bases in 26 games played this season. She has tied her single-season career high, set as a freshman in 2011, for the third most steals in a single season in program history.
Zavodny is on pace to break Liberty's single-season program record for stolen bases, 39, set by Stacy Radulovich in 1996.
She is ranked third in school history with 64 career steals, two behind Libi Cook (1996-99). Radulovich (1996-99) is the program's career record holder, with 80.
During the last five games, Liberty is hitting .333 as a team, led by Hanna Nichols, who hit .562 with two homers and five RBIs. Kelby Allen bats .500 with four doubles, two round trippers, nine RBIs and six runs scored during that span. Amber Donovan (.400) has hit two home runs, while Katie Zavodny (.389), Holly Seiz (.385) and Kassidy McCoy (.357) all hit over .300.
Freshman pitcher Annah Jo Brittingham has made four appearances over the last five games, going 3-0 with a 2.49 ERA and 14 strikeouts in 19 12/3 innings pitched.
18 in a Row
Katie Zavodny is hitting .450 (27-for-60) with 20 stolen bases during her current 18-game hitting streak, which is the second-longest in program history. The Lady Flames have gone 12-6 during that span, helping turn around their season record.
The longest hitting streak in program history belongs to Alycia Stevens, who hit safely in 23 straight games in 1995. Prior to Zavodny's current hitting streak, the second-longest hitting streak in program history was 17, by Beth Bennett in 2008.
Walk (Off) This Way
Liberty has won four games in walk-off fashion this season.
On Friday, Hanna Nichols hit a game-winning RBI single in the bottom of the ninth inning, as the Lady Flames defeated Presbyterian College, 5-4.
The Lady Flames defeated Temple, 6-5, on March 16, registering a literal walk-off game winner, when Grace Nordan walked with the bases loaded for the winning run.
Liberty then rallied from a 3-0 deficit, later the same day, with a four-run rally in the seventh inning to defeat Maine. The team scored the tying and winning runs in the bottom of the seventh, when a Black Bear dropped a popup that would have been the third out.
Earlier this season, Nordan hit a walk-off, two-run homer in a 9-8, eight-inning win over Fairfield on Feb. 22.