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Lady Flames Travel to Oklahoma for Courtyard Marriott Tournament
Complete Game Notes
The Liberty softball team will compete in the state of Oklahoma for the first time ever, when the Lady Flames play in the Courtyard Marriott Tournament in Norman, Okla., from Friday through Sunday. The Lady Flames face two nationally-ranked opponents this weekend, in No. 20/21 Tulsa and defending national champion, the No. 19/13 Oklahoma Sooners. Liberty will also meet Western Illinois while in Norman.
This will be the first time in program history that the Lady Flames have faced the defending national champion. The last time that Liberty defeated a nationally-ranked opponent was March 24, 2007, a 2-0 win over No. 6 Michigan.
Flames at a Glance
The Lady Flames enter the weekend winless in their last 10 games. Most recently, Liberty posted an 0-5 record at the 49er Invitational in Charlotte, N.C., this past weekend.
Junior Hanna Nichols bats .333 to lead the team, followed by Katie Zavodny, at .321. Zavodny paces the Lady Flames with 12 runs scored and 12 stolen bases, ranking second in the Big South in steals. Kelby Allen bats .283 with a team-high five doubles and six RBIs. Megan Robinson (.258) hit her first homer of the season on Sunday, while Katie Han (.250) recorded her first career three-hit game, on Friday at Charlotte.
Senior RHP Alyssa DiMartino (1-6, 4.05 ERA) allowed just one earned run through her first five appearances. DiMartino and sophomore RHP Annah Jo Brittingham are tied for the Big South lead with 12 appearances each.
How to Follow the Lady Flames
Fans can follow all of Liberty's games this weekend through live stats, provided by Oklahoma's Athletics Communications Office. Live stats can be accessed through the Live Stats link on LibertyFlames.com. Liberty's game against Oklahoma on Saturday will appear through a live video stream, on SoonerSports.com.
Liberty vs. Tulsa (All-Time Series: First Meeting)
No. 20/21 Tulsa (16-2) enters the weekend on a four-game winning streak, having won 13 out of its last 14 contests. The Golden Hurricane bats .309 as a team, while the Tulsa pitching staff holds a 0.90 ERA. Aimee Creger, 2013 Conference USA Pitcher of the Year and a returning third team All-American, is 7-0 with a 1.08 ERA, while Bailey Ervin (5-0, 0.72) and Caitlin Sill (4-2, 0.82) both have sub-1.00 ERA's. Jill Barrett, a 2013 NFCA All-Region choice, hits .484 with two homers and nine RBIs.
Tulsa is one of seven of Liberty's 2014 opponents that qualified for the 2013 NCAA Division I Softball Championship. The other six are: regional finalists Western Kentucky and Virginia Tech, Oklahoma (national champion), USC Upstate, Stony Brook and Longwood.
Liberty vs. Western Illinois (All-Time Series: Western Illinois leads, 1-0)
Western Illinois brings a 10-3 record to Oklahoma. The Leathernecks have not played since Feb. 23, when they swept the Central Arkansas Tournament. WIU bats .352 as a team, averaging 7.2 runs per game. Sammy Marshall, a returning first team All-Summit League player, bats .489 with three homers and 10 RBIs. Briana Williams hit .429, while Teagan Walsh (.388) leads the team with 15 RBIs. Kayla Kirkpatrick (2.70 ERA) is 4-1.
The Leathernecks won the only previous meeting with Liberty, 5-2, on March 17, 2006 in Daytona Beach, Fla. Current Liberty head coach Dot Richardson was an AIAW All-American at Western Illinois in 1980 before transferring to UCLA.
Liberty vs. Oklahoma (All-Time Series: First Meeting)
Defending NCAA Women's College World Series champion, No. 19/13 Oklahoma is 14-6, after defeating Louisiana Tech on Tuesday. The Sooners lead the Big 12 with 25 home runs, paced by six from Georgia Casey (.356) and five by 2013 Big 12 Player of the Year Shelby Pendley (.424). Two-time first team All-American Lauren Chamberlain posted back-to-back 30-home run seasons. Kelsey Stevens is 9-3 with a 2.57 ERA.
The Lady Flames hold a 3-10 record all-time against current Big 12 opponents, including one win each versus Baylor (W, 4-0, March 16, 2007), Iowa State (W, 2-1, March 18, 2006) and Texas Tech (W, 3-1, March 21, 1997). Liberty seeks its first true away win over a Big 12 opponent, as the other three wins were neutral-site contests.
Top 25 Challenge
The Liberty softball team has competed against top 25 programs 45 times in program history, posting a 6-39 record versus nationally-ranked opponents.
In 2007, Liberty knocked off No. 23 Hawai'i, No. 10 Baylor and No. 6 Michigan. The Lady Flames' 2-0 win over No. 6 Michigan, March 24, 2007, marks the highest-ranked team that Liberty has beaten in softball, and the team's most recent victory over a nationally-ranked team.
Liberty's last meeting with a ranked opponent came on March 16, 2012, a 2-1 setback at No. 15 Baylor, during which current Liberty RHP Alyssa DiMartino allowed two runs on just six hits in a complete-game effort.
Sophomore Katie Han batted .455 with one double this past weekend, doubling her career hit total with five base hits while at the 49er Invitational. She went 3-for-3 on Friday against Charlotte, setting a career high for hits in a game. Han has now raised her season batting average to .250.
Megan Robinson hit .429 in five games while in Charlotte, recording back-to-back two-hit contests against Stony Brook and Charlotte on Saturday. She then hit her second career home run on Sunday versus Stony Brook, one year to the day after her first career homer, March 2, 2013 against Manhattan. Robinson bats .258 for the season.
Sophomore pitcher/3B Annah Jo Brittingham made her first career start at the hot corner on Friday at Charlotte.
She then started at third base against Charlotte on Saturday, and remained in the batting order after relieving Alyssa DiMartino in the circle, recording her first career base hit during the seventh inning. She became the first Liberty player to record a base hit and pitching appearance during the same game since Tiffani Smith went 1-for-3 at the plate and pitched a two-hitter in a 10-0 win over George Washington on April 18, 2010.
With her next RBI, the 100th of her career, senior Sammi Shivock will enter elite company at Liberty. Shivock has scored 105 career runs and driven in 99.
Only three Liberty players all-time have recorded both 100 runs and 100 RBIs, in Jessica Moore (2005-07), Ashley Williams (2005-08) and Shivock's former teammate, Kelly Strickland (2009-12). Williams was a four-time all-conference player, while Moore and Strickland were both Easton Fastpitch All-Americans during their time at Liberty.
Double the Fun
The Lady Flames recorded five hits on Sunday against Stony Brook, with four going for extra bases. Megan Robinson hit her first home run of the season, while Kelby Allen, Katie Han and Hanna Nichols all hit a double.
Allen leads the team in doubles, tying for fourth in the Big South with five two-baggers. She has continued to show extra-bases power, as Allen paced the Lady Flames with 10 home runs last season.
That's a First
The Lady Flames downed Norfolk State, 5-1, Feb. 15, 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, Feb. 15, 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.
Senior Alyssa DiMartino fashioned her first career complete-game shutout, Feb. 15 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 Feb. 16.
For the season, DiMartino is 1-6 with a 4.05 ERA in 38.0 innings pitched, after allowing just one earned run through her first five appearances.