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Lady Flames Travel to Compete in Spartan Classic

February 19, 2014
|  Lynchburg, Va.
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Blair Lawrence, shown here making a diving catch at FGCU, bats .316 so far this season.

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Liberty continues its early-season non-conference tour by competing in the Spartan Classic, hosted by USC Upstate from Friday through Sunday. Due to forecasted inclement weather, the Lady Flames (2-6) face Furman (0-4) on Friday at 6 p.m., instead of the original 5 p.m. start time. Liberty will then meet Western Carolina on Saturday at 11 a.m. before taking on tournament host USC Upstate at 3 p.m. The Lady Flames close the weekend with an 11 a.m. game against Western Carolina, Sunday.

Liberty will meet Southern Conference teams Furman and Western Carolina for the first time in program history, while the Lady Flames are 1-1 all-time against USC Upstate.

Flames at a Glance
Last Saturday in Wilmington, N.C., Liberty defeated Norfolk State, 5-1, for the first win of the Dot Richardson Era. The Lady Flames then posted a 12-0 shutout victory over UMBC, before falling to UNCW, 3-1, on Sunday.

Junior Hanna Nichols has hit 5-for-10 so far, with four RBIs. Senior Katie Zavodny bats .423 with a team-high seven stolen bases and eight runs scored. Junior Kelby Allen hits .421 and leads the team with three doubles and five RBIs. Sophomore Blair Lawrence (.316) and senior Sammi Shivock (.300) round off Liberty's .300 hitters.

Senior RHP Alyssa DiMartino has allowed just one earned run this year, and is 1-2 with a 0.41 ERA after posting her first career complete-game shutout against UMBC. Junior Chandler Ball is 0-1 with a 1.35 ERA and .250 opponents' batting average. Annah Jo Brittingham went 1-0 with a 1.00 ERA in the Seahawk Invitational, and paces Liberty with 15 strikeouts.
 
How to Follow the Lady Flames
Fans can follow all of Liberty's games this weekend through live stats, provided by the USC Upstate Media Relations Office. Live stats can be accessed through the Live Stats link on LibertyFlames.com.

Palmetto State Notes
Liberty plays four games in South Carolina this week, and will contest at least nine games in the Palmetto State this season. The Lady Flames will play a conference series at Coastal Carolina on April 5-6, and will return to Conway for the 2014 Big South Softball Championship, May 8-11.

Both of the Lady Flames' Big South Championship titles to date have been won in South Carolina, claiming both the 2002 and 2011 titles at Winthrop in Rock Hill, S.C.

Overall, Liberty is 86-77-1 (.527) in games played in South Carolina since the start of the 1994 season.

That's a First
The Lady Flames downed Norfolk State, 5-1, last Saturday, as first-year head coach Dot Richardson picked up her first career coaching victory.

Senior Katie Zavodny went 3-for-3, tied the program single-game record with four runs scored, stole two bases, and hit an inside-the-park home run, her first career homer.

Sophomore Annah Jo Brittingham tossed a complete-game four-hitter, allowing just one run to the Spartans.

Lady Flames Run Away With 12-0 Win Over UMBC
Liberty stole a season-high seven bases in a 12-0 win against UMBC, Saturday, led by two swipes from Katie Zavodny. The last time the Lady Flames posted seven steals was March 19, 2002, against Fairleigh Dickinson.

Hanna Nichols went 4-for-4 against UMBC, with a career-best four RBIs, while Blair Lawrence notched a career-high three hits. The Lady Flames scored nine runs in the fifth inning to put the game away.

Pitching In
Senior Alyssa DiMartino fashioned her first career complete-game shutout, Saturday versus UMBC. She scattered seven hits in the five-inning blanking.

She then allowed just one earned run on four hits in a 3-1 setback at UNCW on Sunday.

For the season, DiMartino is 1-2 with a 0.41 ERA in 17 innings pitched, leading a staff that holds a 3.11 ERA so far on the campaign.

New Era
Two-time Olympic Gold medalist Dot Richardson was named the fifth head coach in the history of the Lady Flames' softball program on July 19, 2013. Richardson helped Team USA win two Olympic Gold medals, along with Gold at five Pan American Games and four World Championships. Among her many honors, Richardson was named the 1980's NCAA Player of the Decade. She is enshrined in the ASA Hall of Fame and UCLA Athletics Hall of Fame.

Richardson takes over for Paul Wetmore, who led the Lady Flames to 547 victories and two Big South tournament championships (2002, 2011) over a 20-season coaching career. Wetmore was the first Liberty softball head coach at the Division I level since the program was reinstated in 1994.

Record-Setting Zavodny
With her second stolen base of the season, Feb. 7 against Georgetown, Katie Zavodny broke Stacy Radulovich's (1996-99) program career record for stolen bases. Zavodny has recorded 86 steals in her career, a number which ranks fourth in Big South history.

Last season, Zavodny swiped a program single-season record 41 bases.

Also in 2013, Zavodny set a new single-game record for hits (5, twice), tied the Liberty record with six at bats at CSU, and tied Alycia Stevens' (1995) record with a 23-game hitting streak from Feb. 24 through April 3.

100 Club
With her six runs scored this past weekend, Katie Zavodny became the 11th player in program history to score 100 or more career runs. She is currently tied for ninth place with 102 career runs scored, while Sammi Shivock in ranked eighth, with 103.

The last time that two active Liberty players were members of the 100-run club was 2007, when Jessica Moore and Dawn Jeffs had both amassed 100 or more career runs.

Moving On Up
Along with Katie Zavodny's career stolen bases record, Sammi Shivock and Chandler Ball are also climbing Liberty's top 10 career lists.

Shivock overtook eighth place in program history with her 95th career RBI on Feb. 7 against Georgetown. She is now ranked eighth with 103 runs scored. Shivock is currently tied for eighth with 23 career homers.

Ball, a junior, ranks 10th all-time at Liberty with 207 career strikeouts.

Liberty vs. Furman (All-Time Series: First Meeting)
Furman (0-4), coming off of a 27-27 finish to the 2013 season, opened the 2014 campaign with doubleheader losses to Mercer and  No. 17 Georgia last weekend. The Paladins face Big South team Presbyterian College on Wednesday in Greenville before heading to Spartanburg. Second baseman Taylor Jenkins, pitcher Lauren Collier and outfielders Ambree Muller and Nikki Legg all earned Preseason All-SoCon honors.

Furman is one of six teams on Liberty's schedule whom the Lady Flames will meet for the first time ever, this season. The other teams which Liberty has faced or will face for the first time in 2014 are: Ole Miss, Florida Gulf Coast, Western Carolina, Tulsa and defending national champion Oklahoma.

Liberty vs. Western Carolina (All-Time Series: First Meeting)
Western Carolina comes to Spartanburg with an 0-5 record, after beginning the season at the College of Charleston Classic. Last season, the Catamounts posted a 20-26 record, including 9-15 in SoCon play. First baseman Taylor Sigmon, tabbed to the Preseason All-Southern Conference second team, bats .429 so far this year. 

Liberty is 21-47 all-time against the 2014 constitution of the Southern Conference. The Lady Flames' most recent win over a SoCon school came on April 7, 2010, a 10-2 win over UNCG in Lynchburg. Since then, Liberty has dropped its last eight meetings in a row versus Southern Conference institutions.

Liberty vs. USC Upstate (All-Time Series: Tied, 1-1)
USC Upstate is off to an 8-0 start, picking up where it left off last season, when the Spartans went 42-12 and won the Atlantic Sun championship. The Spartans are currently receiving votes in both national polls, and have wins over Virginia and Virginia Tech. The team hits .385, averaging 7.4 runs per game, while pitching to a 1.12 ERA. Eight Spartans hit .300 or better, led by Shellie Robinson (.583, four homers, 12 RBIs).  Hannah Alexander (3-0, 0.54 ERA) and Lexi Shubert (4-0, 0.79) are USC Upstate's top pitchers.

Liberty won its first-ever meeting against USC Upstate, 12-2, on Feb. 20, 2010 in Spartanburg, S.C. The Spartans returned the favor, posting a 16-0 win over Liberty on Feb. 25, 2012 to close out the USC Upstate Tournament.