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Lady Flames Open Busy Road Stretch at CSU, Saturday
Complete Game Notes
Liberty softball (15-16, 4-5 Big South) hits the road, where the Lady Flames will play six games in five days, covering three different states. The Lady Flames play at Charleston Southern (7-32, 0-11) on Saturday and Sunday in a conference series, before heading to Farmville, Va., to take on Big South newcomer Longwood (27-10, 9-4) on Monday at 6:30 p.m. Liberty's busy road trip ends on Wednesday at UNCG (25-10, 7-4 SoCon).
Season at a Glance
Liberty split a conference doubleheader on Wednesday against Radford. The Lady Flames downed the Highlanders in game one, 7-0 behind a complete-game five-hitter from Chandler Ball, before falling, 12-4, in game two.
Katie Zavodny leads Liberty with a .377 batting average, and her current 23-game hitting streak has her tied with Alycia Stevens (1995) for longest in program history. Sammi Shivock (.337) paces Liberty with 21 runs scored, while Kelby Allen (.277) leads Liberty with five homers. Hanna Nichols (.333) and Amber Donovan (.329) both hit .300 or better.
How to Follow the Lady Flames
Fans can follow all of the games from Saturday through Monday via Gametracker, provided by the Liberty Athletics Communications office. Also, a live video stream will be available, for a small charge, for each game through the Big South Network.
- The Lady Flames split a Big South doubleheader against Radford, Wednesday.
- Liberty will play six games in a five-day span, over three states, starting Saturday.
- Chandler Ball pitched a complete-game, five-hit shutout versus Radford, Wednesday.
- Katie Zavodny's current 23-game hitting streak is tied for the program record.
- Kelby Allen is batting .469 with 13 RBIs during her own 10-game hitting streak.
- Zavodny was ranked No. 2 nationally in stolen bases per game entering the week (0.93).
- Hanna Nichols hits .538 with seven RBIs in conference play to date this year.
- Liberty is 38-14 all-time against CSU, and 12-23 versus Longwood.
- The Lady Flames are 14-2 when scoring four or more runs in 2013.
Shutting Down Radford
Chandler Ball held Radford scoreless on five hits during game one on Wednesday, as the Lady Flames downed the Highlanders, 7-0, at Liberty Softball Field. It marked Liberty's second shutout this season, as Annah Jo Brittingham tossed a two-hitter in a 7-0 blanking of Manhattan on March 2. Ball is currently 2-2 with a 2.62 ERA in seven appearances during conference play this year.
Prior to Wednesday, the last time the Lady Flames had shut out a conference opponent was March 24, 2012, when Ball and Alyssa DiMartino combined to allow Gardner-Webb just six hits in a 4-0 victory over the Runnin' Bulldogs in Boiling Springs, N.C.
That's a Record
Katie Zavodny hit a two-run double during game one against Radford, and added a single in game two, extending her hitting streak to 23 games. She has now tied Alycia Stevens (1995) for the longest hitting streak in program history. In each of the last three games, Zavodny has waited until her last at bat to register a hit.
Since Feb. 24, when her hitting streak began, Zavodny has hit .410 with 18 runs scored, 21 stolen bases and eight RBIs.
During the Lady Flames' last 10 games, Liberty is batting .305 with nine home runs. Hanna Nichols is on a tear, with a .533 batting average, four doubles, one triple, two homers and nine RBIs. Kelby Allen is on a 10-game hitting streak, hitting .469 with four doubles, one triple, three homers, 13 RBIs and nine runs scored over Liberty's last 10 games. Allen slammed a three-run homer on Wednesday to extend her hitting streak.
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 31 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.
Quick Conference Report
Liberty is 4-1 in Big South home games this season, and is 0-4 in conference away contests. All four of the Lady Flames' conference games played on Friday have been decided by one run each. The Lady Flames have won one conference game in walk-off fashion (March 22 - PC), and lost one on a walk-off base hit (March 29 - Campbell).
The sophomore duo of Hanna Nichols and Kelby Allen has been very effective in conferece play, as Nichols is batting .538 with seven RBIs and Allen has hit .464 with 10 RBIs. Allen is one of three Lady Flames with two home runs in conference play, joined by Amber Donovan and Sammi Shivock.
Chandler Ball is 2-2 with a 2.62 ERA during conference games, and has not given up an earned run to a Big South team since March 29 at Campbell, a span of 12 1/3 innings of work.
Liberty vs. Charleston Southern
Charleston Southern (7-32, 0-11 Big South), the 2012 Big South Softball Championship runner-up, remains in search of its first conference win this year. The Buccaneers hit for power, with 41 doubles and 31 homers. Marci Christian bats .348, contributing 10 homers and 27 RBIs. Stephanie Sbardella hits .337 with eight homers and 24 RBIs. Three-time all-conference member Jana Matthews and Lizy Rother have both hit four homers. Jennifer Giles shoulders most of the load in the circle, going 3-22 with a 5.32 ERA so far.
Liberty leads the all-time series over Charleston Southern, 38-14, and had won the season series over CSU each year from 2005-2011. However, the Buccaneers won three out of four meetings last season. CSU swept a doubleheader from the host Lady Flames on April 6, 2012, before Liberty rallied for a walk-off, 9-8 victory the next day. The Buccaneers then downed Liberty, 14-3, during the first round of the 2012 Big South Softball Championship. Liberty went 2-1 during its last series at CSU, April 9-10, 2010.
Liberty vs. Longwood
Longwood (27-10, 9-4 Big South) is currently on an eight-game winning streak. The Lancers rank in the top 10 nationally in scoring (7.62 rpg), batting average (.336) and slugging percentage (.569). Three Lancers bat .400 or better, in Kori Nishitomi (.476, 56 runs scored), Megan Baltzell (.431, 10 doubles, 17 homers, 47 RBIs) and Brooke Short (.410, 10 doubles, 10 homers, 45 RBIs). Emily Murphy bats .350 with seven homers and 48 RBIs. Short (14-5, 2.40 ERA) and Libby Morris (12-4, 3.14) share time at pitcher.
Longwood holds a 23-12 edge all-time against Liberty. These two teams staged a high-scoring doubleheader at Liberty Softball Field on May 5, 2012, with Longwood winning game one, 11-3, and Liberty scoring a 14-6 victory during the second contest. Brooke Short of Longwood homered twice with five RBIs in game one, while Liberty's Kelby Allen hit two homers and drove in four runs during game two.
Liberty's last victory at Longwood came on April 18, 2009, a 2-1 Lady Flames win. Keely McMillon went 2-for-3 and recorded the game-winning hit in the seventh inning.