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Liberty Softball to Face Big South Leader Coastal Carolina on ESPN3.com, Saturday

April 3, 2014
|  Lynchburg, Va.
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Complete Game Notes

The Liberty softball team heads to Conway, S.C., to take on Big South-leading Coastal Carolina in a three-game series, Saturday and Sunday. Saturday's first game, set for a 1:03 p.m. first pitch, will air live nationally on ESPN3.com. The Lady Flames (6-28, 1-8 Big South) split a home doubleheader with UNCG on Wednesday, while the Chanticleers (23-11, 5-1) went 1-1 at UNCW, Wednesday.

Coastal Carolina holds a 33-29 advantage all-time against Liberty, with the Chanticleers winning all four meetings last season.

Lady Flames at a Glance
Liberty closed out a five-game homestand by splitting a doubleheader against UNCG, Wednesday. The Lady Flames won game one, 14-10, before falling, 8-5, in extra innings during the nightcap. The team is now on the road for six straight conference games.

Katie Zavodny bats .345 with 24 runs scored, and is second in the Big South with 18 stolen bases. Hanna Nichols bats .328 with a .500 slugging percentage, while Kelby Allen (.283) leads the team with six doubles and 21 RBIs. Sammi Shivock (.280) and Megan Robinson (.241) both have posted 14 RBIs, and Robinson leads the team with six homers.

Senior RHP Alyssa DiMartino (3-9) leads the team with a 4.95 ERA. Sophomore RHP Annah Jo Brittingham (2-17) picked up saves in back-to-back games this week. Senior SS/P Grace Nordan earned her first win of the season, March 22 versus N.C. Central.
 
How to Follow the Lady Flames
Fans can follow all of this weekend's games through live stats. Live stats can be accessed through the Live Stats link on LibertyFlames.com. Additionally, Saturday's game will be aired live on ESPN3.com, with Mike Gleason serving as play-by-play announcer and Nate Ross providing color analysis. Games two and three of the series can be seen, free of charge, on the Big South Network.

Liberty vs. Coastal Carolina (Coastal leads, 33-29)

2013 Big South regular-season champion Coastal Carolina (23-11) leads the league with a 5-1 conference record so far. The Chanticleers' 1.37 ERA ranks in the top 10 nationally, led by 2013 Big South Pitcher of the Year Kiana Quolas (16-4, 0.79 ERA). Quolas bats .284 with four homers and 19 RBIs. Bri Chiusano hits .429, ranking second in the nation with 32 stolen bases. Kory Hayden (.309) has posted 13 homers and 40 RBIs, while Morgan Noad hits .307 with eight home runs and 30 RBIs.

The Chanticleers are 33-29 all-time against Liberty, winning all four meetings last season. Coastal Carolina was Liberty's first Big South softball opponent upon entering the league, meeting on March 12, 1994 in Conway. The Lady Flames are 12-7 against Coastal Carolina, dating back to May 9, 2008.

Liberty vs. Coastal Carolina - 2014 Recap
Coastal went 4-0 against Liberty last season, sweeping three games at Liberty Softball Field, April 26-27, before downing the Lady Flames, 2-1 in the Big South tournament.

In game one on April 26, Coastal Carolina hit two homers during a four-run fifth inning, on the way to a 5-1 victory.

Ashley Bagwell then tossed a two-hitter in Coastal's 9-0, six-inning win in game two, as the Chanticleers scored seven runs over the final two innings.

Liberty rallied back from a 5-0 deficit on April 27, tying the game with a five-run third, before Coastal pulled out a 9-5 win. Kelby Allen hit her ninth homer of the season.

On May 10, top-seeded Coastal Carolina hit two solo homers during the bottom of the fifth, downing No. 6 seed Liberty, 2-1, in an elimination game that served as the last game in the career of Liberty's outgoing 20-year head coach Paul Wetmore.

Palmetto State Notes
Liberty will play at least nine games in South Carolina this season. The team went 0-4 at the USC Upstate Spartan Classic. After this weekend's series at Coastal Carolina, Liberty 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 86-81-1 (.514) in games played in South Carolina since the start of the 1994 season.

Recent Trends
The Lady Flames are 4-6 in their last 10 games, batting .265 as a team and scoring 4.4 runs per game during that span. Katie Zavodny bats .344 with nine runs scored over the past 10 games, while Kelby Allen (.333) and Megan Robinson (.280) have both driven in eight runs. Marybeth Sciolino hits .333 and Sammi Shivock, .320.

Rounding the Bases
The Lady Flames scored a season-high 14 runs in a 14-10 win during game one against UNCG on Wednesday. All nine players in the batting order scored at least one run, led by three from Hanna Nichols and two runs each by Katie Zavodny, Megan Robinson and Blair Lawrence.

Also during the game, starting pitcher Alyssa DiMartino went 1-for-4 at the plate with a career-high three RBIs, tying Megan Robinson's (2-for-3) RBI output for the game.

Kelby Allen went 3-for-4 with two RBIs, while Annah Jo Brittingham hit her first career double and drove in two runs.

During game two, Liberty led, 4-1, after four innings, before falling, 8-5, in eight frames. Katie Zavodny led Liberty with three hits and two runs scored during the nightcap.

On a Tear
During the last four games, Liberty is batting .296 as a team, averaging six runs per game. Eight different Lady Flames have hit .250 or better during that time.

Also during that span, Kelby Allen is hitting .571 (8-for-14) with one homer and six RBIs. Katie Zavodny bats .429 (6-for-14) with five runs scored in the last four games.

Pitching In
Senior Alyssa DiMartino gained her third win of the season on Wednesday, and also went 1-for-4 with three RBIs during her first career appearance in the Liberty batting order.

Sophomore Annah Jo Brittingham started at third base and went 1-for-3 with two RBIs, and pitched the final three innings to earn her second save in as many games.

Lady Flames Claim 1st Big South Victory, 4-2, Over Charleston Southern
Liberty earned its first conference win under first-year head coach Dot Richardson, downing Charleston Southern, 4-2, in the series finale, Monday at Liberty Softball Field.

Alyssa DiMartino gave up one unearned run on four hits in 5 2/3 innings, before Annah Jo Brittingham came on to get her first career save.

Kelby Allen went 2-for-3, her second two-hit game in a row, while Marybeth Sciolino stole a career-high two bases.

What a Relief!
Senior Grace Nordan, who has started 27 games at shortstop in 2014, made her second pitching appearance of the season, March 22. She pitched six innings of two-hit relief, allowing two unearned runs while gaining the decision in Liberty's 7-5 win over NCCU.

Sophomore Annah Jo Brittingham then closed the door on Charleston Southern's comeback attempt in a 4-2 win on Monday, earning her first career save.

2X0
Annah Jo Brittingham tossed a two-hitter on March 21 versus N.C. Central, as the Lady Flames defeated the Eagles, 9-0, in five innings. It marked Brittingham's second career shutout, and first since a two-hitter against Manhattan, March 2, 2013.

Earlier this season, on Feb. 15 in Wilmington, N.C., Alyssa DiMartino scattered seven hits during a 12-0, five-inning shutout victory over UMBC. It was DiMartino's first career complete-game shutout.

Last year, Brittingham and current junior Chandler Ball both tossed one shutout, giving Liberty three players on this year's roster who have thrown at least one shutout.

Power Surge
After hitting four total home runs over the span of the team's first 20 games this year, Liberty hit a season-high four home runs in a 9-8 setback on March 14 against Campbell.

Over the last 14 games, the Lady Flames have averaged nearly one homer per game, going deep 13 times.
Megan Robinson leads the Lady Flames with a career-high six homers, after entering the season with one career home run. Kelby Allen, last year's team leader with 10 homers, follows with four round trippers in 2014.

Allen hit a big, three-run home run to give Liberty a 3-0 lead in the first inning against defending national champion Oklahoma on March 7, one of the highlights of the season.