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Lady Flames Set to Face Longwood in Home Twin Bill on Monday
Complete Game Notes
Liberty (19-21, 8-8 Big South) wraps up its five-game homestand with a doubleheader against Longwood on Monday, beginning at 5 p.m. The Lady Flames and Lancers met last Monday night, when Liberty snapped Longwood's eight-game winning streak with a thrilling, 8-7 victory. Both Liberty and Longwood have won their last two games in a row.
Season at a Glance
Liberty won its weekend series against Gardner-Webb, shutting down the Runnin' Bulldogs, 3-1, behind a six-hitter from Chandler Ball during game two on Friday. On Saturday, the Lady Flames broke the game open with a pair of six-run innings, on the way to a 13-5, six-inning win over the visiting Runnin' Bulldogs.
Katie Zavodny paces Liberty with a .396 batting average and is ranked No. 2 in the nation with 32 stolen bases. Sammi Shivock hits .350 with a team-high 10 doubles and 33 RBIs. Hanna Nichols bats .320, and is tied with Shivock, Amber Donovan (.316) and Kelby Allen (.282) for the team lead with five home runs.
How to Follow the Lady Flames
Fans can follow Monday's games through Gametracker live stats, provided by the Liberty Athletics Communications office. 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 game will also be available for online viewing, for a small charge, through the Big South Network
- The Lady Flames and Lancers conclude their series with a doubleheader on Monday.
- Liberty edged Longwood, 8-7, last Monday in Farmville, capitalizing on 6 Lancer errors.
- Sammi Shivock and Amber Donovan both hit 3-run homers on Saturday versus G-W.
- Katie Zavodny was ranked No. 2 nationally in stolen bases per game on April 8 (0.85).
- Chandler Ball is 5-0 with a 1.33 ERA at home so far this season.
- Hanna Nichols has hit .458 with 12 RBIs in conference play this year.
- Kelby Allen bats .392 with 14 RBIs against Big South opponents in 2013.
- Longwood leads the all-time series, 23-13, while Liberty has won the last two meetings.
Liberty vs. Longwood
Longwood (29-11, 11-5 Big South) has won 10 out of its last 11 games, with the lone loss coming to Liberty last Monday night. The Lancers rank in the top 10 nationally in scoring (7.75 rpg), batting average (.334) and slugging percentage (.569). Three Lancers bat .400 or better, in Kori Nishitomi (.470, 60 runs scored), Megan Baltzell (.420, 11 doubles, 18 homers, 52 RBIs) and Brooke Short (.412, 10 doubles, 12 homers, 48 RBIs). Emily Murphy bats .360 with nine homers and 52 RBIs. Short (14-5, 2.47 ERA) and Libby Morris (13-5, 2.94) share time at pitcher.
Longwood holds a 23-13 edge all-time against Liberty, although the Lady Flames have won each of the last two meetings. The last three Liberty-Longwood softball games have been high-scoring contests. On May 5, 2012, in Lynchburg, Longwood won game one, 11-3, before the Lady Flames captured the nightcap, 14-6. Last Monday, Liberty held on for an 8-7 win over the Lancers in Farmville.
Last Time Out
Liberty built a 6-1 lead over the Lancers last Monday, April 8, and held off a furious rally from Longwood to win, 8-7. The Liberty win snapped an eight-game winning streak for the Lancers. The Lady Flames capitalized on six Lancer errors during the contest. Trailing, 6-1, the Lancers rallied with five runs in the bottom of the sixth. The Lady Flames then tallied twice in the seventh, and worked around a leadoff homer by Emily Murphy in the top of the seventh, winning, 8-7.
Katie Zavodny went 3-for-5 with two runs scored for Liberty, while Hanna Nicholas was 2-for-4 with two RBIs. Megan Baltzell drove in two runs for the Lancers.
The Lady Flames are 8-3 at Liberty Softball Field so far this season.
The team scores over six runs per game at home. Hanna Nichos is batting .452 during home games, while Kassidy McCoy bats .440 and Katie Zavodny hits .425 with 14 runs scored. Kelby Allen (.361) has driven in 14 runs and Sammi Shivock (.333) has 12 RBIs.
Liberty's pitching staff has recorded a 3.18 ERA in home contests, allowing opponents to bat .270. Chandler Ball is 5-0 with a 1.33 ERA at home, while Annah Jo Brittingham boasts a 3-1 home record and 3.56 ERA.
Liberty's offense has been prolific during conference series finales this season. The Lady Flames average 8.4 runs per game during the third contest of a Big South three-game set. Liberty closed out the Presbyterian College series with an 8-6 win, before beating Charleston Southern, 15-4, in game three, and posting a 13-5 victory over Gardner-Webb in the final game of this past weekend's series. In contrast, the Lady Flames average 4.1 runs per game in series openers, while scoring three runs in the middle tilt.
Gardner-Webb Series Recap
After dropping game one to Gardner-Webb, 4-2, on Friday, the Lady Flames rebounded for a 3-1 victory in the nightcap. Liberty then rallied from a 3-1, fourth-inning deficit on Saturday, scoring six runs in both the fourth and sixth innings to pull away for a 13-5, six-inning victory and claim the series.
The Lady Flames batted .358 during the Gardner-Webb series, led by Sammi Shivock, who hit .667 with two doubles, one home run and six RBIs.
Kassidy McCoy went 3-for-3 during game one, her first career three-hit game.
Chandler Ball pitched a six-hitter in Friday's second game, allowing one unearned run. Hanna Nichols and Kelby Allen both went 2-for-3 with an RBI.
On Saturday, Sammi Shivock went 3-for-3 with a double and a three-run homer. Amber Donovan hit a three-run home run, while Jill Stephens scored three runs.
On Saturday, Liberty scored six runs during both the fourth and sixth innings, on the way to a 13-5 win over Gardner-Webb. It marked the first time that Liberty scored five or more runs in two different innings of a game since April 10, 2012, when the Lady Flames recorded back-to-back five-run innings at the start of a 13-5 win over North Carolina A&T.
During Saturday's game, Blair Lawrence hit a key, two-run double to spark Liberty's fourth-inning outburst, which also included a three-run homer by Sammi Shivock. Amber Donovan slammed a three-run home run in the sixth to break the game wide open.
At present, four different Lady Flames share the team lead with five home runs apiece. With five home runs, sophomores Kelby Allen, Amber Donovan and Hanna Nichols have already set their career highs for a single season. Sammi Shivock, at five home runs right now, set a program freshman record with a career-high nine round trippers in 2011.
When Kassidy McCoy went 3-for-3 on Friday against Gardner-Webb, she became the ninth Lady Flame this season with at least one three-hit game. She joins Kelby Allen, Amber Donovan, Hanna Nichols, Grace Nordan, Holly Seiz, Sammi Shivock, Jill Stephens and Katie Zavodny on the list of Liberty players with three hits in a game this year.
The last time that two Lady Flames freshmen had three-hit games during the same season was 2011, when current Liberty players Sammi Shivock and Katie Zavodny did so.
Katie Zavodny has made a run at several records so far this season.
She has set the single-game record for hits (5, two times), and also tied Alycia Stevens' (1995) record with a 23-game hitting streak from Feb. 24 through April 3.
Zavodny, with 32 stolen bases, needs eight more to break Stacy Radulovich's single-season program record of 39, set in 1996. The junior outfielder has stolen 70 career bases, 10 shy of Radulovich's (1996-99) program record for career stolen bases, 80.
Zavodny is the conference's leader in steals, and was ranked second in the nation in the latest NCAA Division I statistical rankings.