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Lady Flames Set to Host Virginia, Wednesday

April 23, 2013
|  Lynchburg, Va.
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The Liberty softball team will host Virginia in a doubleheader on Wednesday, opening a seven-game homestand to wrap up the regular season.

Complete Games Notes

Liberty (19-28, 8-13 Big South) opens a regular-season-ending seven-game homestand on Wednesday, hosting Virginia (18-25, 3-15 ACC) in a doubleheader that begins at 2 p.m. Both teams are seeking to get back on the winning track, as Liberty is on a seven-game winless streak and the Cavaliers have dropped six decisions in a row.

Season at a Glance
The Lady Flames outhit Winthrop, 28-21, during a three-game series this past weekend in Rock Hill, S.C., but the Eagles won all three games, by a total margin of four runs. For the first time in program history, Liberty will play its final seven regular-season games at home, where the Lady Flames are 8-5 so far this season.

Katie Zavodny hits .412 and is tied for the program record with 39 stolen bases. Sammi Shivock (.347) paces the team with 12 doubles and 37 RBIs, while Amber Donovan (.313) and Kelby Allen (.289) are tied for the team lead with seven home runs apiece. Pitchers Chandler Ball (8-12) and Annah Jo Brittingham (8-9) both set or tied their career highs in strikeouts on Saturday at Winthrop.

How to Follow the Lady Flames
Fans can follow Wednesday's games through Gametracker live stats, provided by the Liberty Athletics Communications office. Live stats can be accessed by clicking the live stats links on the softball schedule page on LibertyFlames.com.

Quick Hits
- Liberty plays its final seven regular-season games at home (8-5 home record in 2013).
- The Lady Flames are looking to snap a seven-game winless streak (longest of season).
- On Saturday, Katie Zavodny tied Liberty's single-season program record in steals (39).
- Sammi Shivock entered the program's top 10 career lists in three categories last week.
- Kelby Allen hits .405 with five homers and 17 RBIs in 13 home games this year.
- Chandler Ball is 5-1 with one shutout at Liberty Softball Field this season.
- Shivock, Hanna Nichols have both been named Big South Player of the Week in 2013.
- Virginia holds a 24-6 record over Liberty since 1994 (Liberty's NCAA Division I era).

Liberty vs. Virginia
Virginia enters Wednesday's doubleheader with an 18-25 overall record, including 3-15 in ACC play, having dropped its last six contests. However, Virginia has won each of its last seven non-conference games. The Cavaliers are 3-1 against Big South opponents so far this season, with wins over Longwood (twice) and Winthrop and a loss at Campbell. Two-time All-ACC pitcher Melanie Mitchell is 13-15 with a 2.48 ERA and ranks 10th nationally with 232 strikeouts. Marcy Bowdren leads the Cavaliers with a .308 batting average and 22 runs scored, while Karli Johnson (.291) leads the team with five home runs.

Virginia is 24-6 against Liberty since the start of the 1994 season, and the Cavaliers have won the last three meetings overall. These two teams have split their last two doubleheaders with each other at Liberty Softball Field, in 2008 and 2011. Liberty downed Virginia, 8-0 in five innings during game one on May 1, 2011 in Lynchburg, before UVA rallied for a 3-2 victory in 10 innings in the nightcap. The Cavaliers then swept the Lady Flames last year in Charlottesville.

Liberty vs. Virginia - 2012 Recap
The Lady Flames took a 4-3 lead over Virginia during game one, April 25, 2012, with a three-run fourth that featured a Kelly Strickland homer and a two-run single by Kelby Allen. The Cavaliers responded with a three-run fourth inning and held off the Lady Flames, 6-5.

During game two, UVA's ace, Melanie Mitchell, fashioned a three-hitter while striking out 15 Lady Flames in a 7-1 Virginia victory. Liberty's Jill Stephens went 2-for-2, while Alex Skinkis of Virginia totaled two homers and four RBIs.

On the Home Stretch
Liberty will spend the last two weeks of the regular season at home, a span of seven contests. This marks the longest homestand to end a regular season in program history. Liberty will host midweek twin bills against ACC foes Virginia and Virginia Tech and a weekend series versus defending Big South champion Coastal Carolina.

Home Cooking
The Lady Flames are 8-5 at Liberty Softball Field so far this season, averaging nearly six runs per game at home. Liberty went on a six-game home winning streak earlier this year, from Feb. 27 against Hampton through April 3 versus Radford.

Kassidy McCy bats .448 during home games, while Katie Zavodny hits .438 with 14 runs scored. Hanna Nichols has a .421 average, while Kelby Allen (.405) has hit five homers with 17 RBIs. Amber Donovan (.346) has added four round trippers and 11 RBIs.

Chandler Ball is 5-1 with a 3.29 ERA in home contests, including a five-hit shutout over Radford on April 3. Annah Jo Brittingham (3-2) tossed her first shutout, a two-hitter against Manhattan, on March 2 at Liberty Softball Field.

Close Calls
The Lady Flames went 0-3 during a weekend series at Winthrop this past weekend, with the three games decided by a total of just four runs. Liberty is 7-6 so far in one-run games this season.

On Friday, Liberty rallied to within one, before the Eagles held on for a 4-3 win. During Saturday's first game, the Lady Flames trailed, 6-1, entering the seventh inning, before scoring three runs and falling, 6-4. Game two on Saturday lasted nine innings, with a walk-off hit giving Winthrop the 3-2 victory.
 
Record Setting
Katie Zavodny posted three three-hit games last week, and added seven steals. She is now tied with Stacy Radulovich (1996) for the most steals in a single season in program history, with 39. Zavodny has 77 career stolen bases, just three behind Radulovich's program career record of 80, set from 1996-99.

Zavodny has now set or tied three program records so far in 2013.

Earlier this season, Zavodny set the single-game record for hits (5, twice), and tied Alycia Stevens' (1995) record with a 23-game hitting streak from Feb. 24 through April 3.

Zavodny leads the Big South and ranks fourth in NCAA Division I in stolen bases.

Notable Homers
This past week, three Lady Flames hit milestone home runs

Kelby Allen hit two home runs during game one last Monday, against Longwood. Allen tied her career high for homers, previously set against Longwood, May 5, 2012, and she has recorded each of Liberty's last two multiple-homer contests.

Kassidy McCoy slammed her first career homer during the nightcap versus Longwood.

Sammi Shivock hit her 21st career homer, last Wednesday at James Madison, moving into a tie for 10th in program history (J'Nae Jefferson, 2007-10).

K Day in Rock Hill
On Saturday at Winthrop, both Chandler Ball and Annah Jo Brittingham registered career highs in strikeouts.

Ball fanned eight Eagles during game one, tying her career high, set on April 21 at Presbyterian College. The sophomore has recorded 172 career strikeouts, leaving her two away from entering Liberty's all-time top 10 in strikeouts.

Brittingham, a freshman, fanned seven Eagles in the second contest while pitching a career-high 8 2/3 innings.

Moving On Up
Sammi Shivock entered Liberty's career top 10 lists in three categories last week.

Shivock is now ranked 10th in program history with 96 career runs scored. She is tied for 10th with 21 career home runs (J'Nae Jefferson, 2007-10). Her 88 RBIs have her in a three-way tie for 10th place with Stacy Radulovich (1996-99) and Shivock's former teammate Jenny Law (2009-12).

And the Award Goes To ...
Hanna Nichols and Sammi Shivock have both been named Big South Softball Player of the Year once this season. They are the first pair of Lady Flames to be named Big South Player of the Week during the same season since 2011, when Ashley Bensinger and Keely McMillon were both honored as Player of the Week twice.

Nichols earned the award on March 25 after batting .583 with three RBIs during the previous week.

Shivock received Player of the Week distinction on April 15, posting a .538 average and seven RBIs during four games played.