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Lady Flames Set to Host Radford, Wednesday
Complete Game Notes
The Liberty softball team (14-15, 3-4 Big South) hosts Commonwealth rival Radford (11-18, 4-1 Big South) on Wednesday. The doubleheader between the Lady Flames and Highlanders begins at 2 p.m. at Liberty Softball Field. The Lady Flames will look to keep their five-game home winning streak alive.
Season at a Glance
Liberty is off to a 3-4 start in conference play, sweeping PC in a home series before dropping all three games at Campbell this past weekend. The Lady Flames had won six out of seven entering their three-game series at Campbell.
The Lady Flames hit .276 as a team, scoring 4.5 runs per game, this season. Katie Zavodny (.384) is on a 21-game hitting streak and ranks second in the nation with 0.93 stolen bases per game. Sammi Shivock (.362), Amber Donovan (.333), Hanna Nichols (.302) and Kelby Allen (.273) have all hit four homers apiece this season.
How to Follow the Lady Flames
Fans can follow Wednesday's games through Gametracker, provided by the Liberty Athletics Communications office. Live stats can be accessed through the Live Stats link on LibertyFlames.com. Also, a live radio broadcast will be available on 90.9 FM The Light and at TheLightOnline.com, with Nick Pierce calling the action.
- The Lady Flames look to avenge an earlier loss at Radford, 6-3 on March 20.
- Liberty is 5-1 at home this season, and is on a five-game home winning streak.
- Sammi Shivock hit .700 with a double and two homers during series at Campbell.
- Katie Zavodny is on a career-best 21-game hitting streak (program record - 23 games).
- Zavodny was ranked No. 2 nationally in stolen bases per game entering the week (0.93).
- Liberty is hitting .316 as a team over its last eight contests.
- Kelby Allen and Hanna Nichols are both hitting .500 during Liberty's last eight games.
- Four out of Liberty's first seven Big South games have been decided by one run (2-2).
- Radford holds a 44-25 record all-time against Liberty (won last four in a row).
Liberty vs. Radford
Radford (11-18) is off to a Big South-best 4-1 start in conference play after sweeping Charleston Southern this past weekend. First-year head coach Maggie Johnson leads a young team that includes nine freshmen. Jessica Agee leads Radford with a .338 batting average, while Becky Mantel (.325) and Morgan Eye (.319) also bat over .300. Jessie Hutchens (.291) paces the Highlanders in doubles (10), homers (6) and RBIs (22). Freshman Rachel Walters leads the pitching staff, at 7-6 with a 3.46 ERA.
The Highlanders hold a 44-25 edge in the all-time series with Liberty, and have won the last four meetings between these two Commonwealth rivals. The Lady Flames, however, downed Radford, 3-1, in the final of the 2011 Big South Championship in Rock Hill, S.C., to claim their second conference tournament title.
Last Time Out
Liberty opened its 2013 Big South Conference schedule at Radford on March 20, taking on the Highlanders in their conference opener for the fourth season in a row. The Lady Flames had won three straight games entering league play.
The Lady Flames jumped out to a 3-0 lead during the top of the second, on RBI base hits by Kelby Allen and Grace Nordan. Radford rallied, getting two-run homers from both Jessie Hutchens and Jessica Agee, and the Highlanders claimed a 6-3 victory.
Katie Zavodny and Amber Donovan both had two hits during the contest, while Hutchens, Emily Naegele and Morgan Eye each recorded two hits for Radford.
The Lady Flames hold a 5-1 record at the Liberty Softball Field in 2013. Liberty has won its last five home games, since dropping its home opener to Hampton on Feb. 27.
The team hits .301 during home games so far this season, averaging nearly seven runs per game. Katie Zavodny is batting .500 with 10 stolen bases at home, while Hanna Nichols hits .438 and Kelby Allen (.400) has seven RBIs at Liberty Softball Field.
Liberty's pitching staff has recorded a 2.93 ERA in home contests, allowing opponents to bat .254. Chandler Ball is 2-0 with a 1.91 ERA at home, while Annah Jo Brittingham boasts a 3-0 home record and 2.62 ERA.
Liberty entered last week following a home sweep of Presbyterian College, and had won six out of its last seven. The Lady Flames then dropped three games at Campbell.
Games one and two on Friday resulted in the same score, 4-3, in the Camels' favor.
Liberty took a 3-2 lead during the top of the fifth inning of game one before the Camels rallied with two runs in the bottom of the fifth. In game two, Liberty battled back to tie the score, 3-3, with three runs in the sixth, before a walk-off base hit gave Campbell the win.
Sammi Shivock gave Liberty a quick 1-0 lead with a solo homer in the top of the first on Saturday, but Campbell scored the next five runs, winning, 5-2.
Shivock hit .700 against Campbell, with a double, a homer and three RBIs. Kelby Allen batted .500, while Megan Robinson and Hanna Nichols both hit .374.
During its seven Big South games, Liberty has had four of them decided by one run. Coincidentally, all four of Liberty's conference games played on Friday this season have been decided by one run each, as the Lady Flames are 2-2 in one-run conference games.
Katie Zavodny has the opportunity to tie a program record on Wednesday. She is currently on a 21-game hitting streak, and is hitting .423 with 21 stolen bases and 16 runs scored since the streak started during a 5-4 win at East Carolina on Feb. 24.
The longest hitting streak in program history belongs to Alycia Stevens, who hit safely in 23 straight games in 1995.
On a Tear
The Lady Flames are hitting .316 as a team over their last eight games, averaging nearly three extra-base hits per game during that span.
Kelby Allen, on a career-best eight-game hitting streak, hits .500 with four doubles, one triple, two homers and nine RBIs over the last eight contests. Hanna Nichols, named the Big South Player of the Week last Monday, is batting .500 with two homers and seven RBIs over the last eight games.
Zavodny Races Into Big South Lead in Stolen Bases
Junior Katie Zavodny is the conference leader in steals, and is ranked No. 2 in the nation, having stolen 27 bases in 29 games played this season. She has set a new single-season career high, as her 27 steals are the third most 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 65 career steals, one behind Libi Cook (1996-99). Radulovich (1996-99) is the program's career record holder, with 80.
Four Lady Flames are slugging .489 or better so far this season.
Amber Donovan paces Liberty with a .597 slugging percentage, hitting seven doubles and four homers in 72 at bats.
Sammi Shivock, with eight doubles and four homers, slugs at a .574 clip.
Hanna Nichols (.540 slg. pct.) has three doubles and four homers, while Kelby Allen (.489) has registered five doubles, one triple and four homers.
Busy Road Ahead
The Lady Flames have a busy month of April ahead, as they are scheduled to play 25 games during the month. The last time Liberty played 25 or more softball games in a single month came in April of 2008, when the Lady Flames competed in 28 contests.
Beginning on Saturday at Charleston Southern, Liberty faces a stretch of six games in five days, in three different states. The Lady Flames will play a three-game series at CSU on Saturday and Sunday, before competing at Longwood on Monday. Liberty will then play a doubleheader at UNCG on Wednesday.