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Lady Flames to Open Spring Break at NCCU Eagle Challenge

March 7, 2013  Lynchburg, Va.  RSS
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The Liberty softball team opens it southern Spring Break trip this Saturday and Sunday, competing in the NCCU Eagle Challenge in Durham, N.C.

The Liberty softball team opens it southern Spring Break trip this Saturday and Sunday, competing in the NCCU Eagle Challenge in Durham, N.C.

Complete Game Notes

NCCU Eagle Challenge Tournament Central Page

The Liberty softball team opens its southern Spring Break trip with a four-game stop in Durham, N.C., competing in the NCCU Eagle Challenge, hosted by North Carolina Central. The Lady Flames will face the host Eagles (1-12) three times this weekend, beginning on Saturday at 2 p.m. Liberty will meet UNC Wilmington (8-11) at 4:15 p.m. on Saturday, before playing a doubleheader against N.C. Central on Sunday at 1 p.m. The times for Liberty's games on Saturday have been shifted slightly from the original schedule.

Season at a Glance
Liberty is 5-7 on the season, having won two straight games and three out of its last four. Most recently, the Lady Flames split their home-opening doubleheader with Hampton last Wednesday before shutting out Manhattan, 7-0, on Saturday. Liberty has averaged over eight runs per game over the last three contests, and hasn't allowed an earned run in the team's last 12 2/3 innings pitched.

The Lady Flames bat .289 as a team, led by Sammi Shivock and Katie Zavodny, who both hit .395. Zavodny currently leads the Big South with 13 stolen bases.

How to Follow the Lady Flames
Fans can follow Tuesday's doubleheader through Gametracker, provided by the Liberty Athletics Communications office. Live stats can be accessed through the Live Stats link on

Quick Hits
- Liberty will play 10 games during its Spring Break Trip (4 in North Carolina, 6 in Florida).
- Katie Zavodny, with five hits against Hampton, set Liberty's single-game program record.
- Freshman Annah Jo Brittingham pitched a two-hit shutout of Manhattan, Saturday.
- Sophomore Chandler Ball allowed four hits in 10-1 win over Hampton, Wednesday.
- Junior Sammi Shivock is batting .588 during her current five-game hitting streak.
- Shivock, Kelby Allen and Megan Robinson all had 3-RBI games last week.
- Zavodny leads the Big South with 13 stolen bases, including 7 this past week.
- The Lady Flames' roster includes 9 freshmen, 6 sophomores and 7 juniors.
- Liberty is 14-4 all-time against UNC Wilmington, 1-0 versus North Carolina Central.

Liberty vs. North Carolina Central
All-Time Series:
Liberty leads, 1-0

North Carolina Central enters the weekend with a 1-12 record, with its only win this season coming against Norfolk State. The Eagles open up the tournament by facing Presbyterian College of the Big South on Friday. Joy Simpson leads N.C. Central with a .462 batting average, while Camille Hampton (.250) paces the Eagles with six RBIs.

Liberty downed North Carolina Central, 14-5, in six innings, Feb. 11, 2012 in Elon, N.C. to pick up its first win of the 2012 season. The Lady Flames tied a program record with 19 hits, with Katie Zavodny and Kaylee West registering four hits apiece.

Liberty vs. UNC Wilmington
All-Time Series:
Liberty leads, 14-4

UNC Wilmington (8-11) swept North Carolina A&T, 12-10, 14-3, on Wednesday, and will face Presbyterian College twice on Friday. Lauryn Buckworth bats .388 with a team-leading 11 RBIs. Olivia Poplin has a .318 batting average and CJ Moose hits .314, while KC Shue and 2012 CAA All-Freshman Team member Jordan Critcher both hit .311.

Liberty is 14-4 all-time against UNC Wilmington, and has won its last four meeting with the Seahawks, most recently a 4-1 win over UNCW on Feb. 28, 2009.

UNC Wilmington's first-year head coach Kristy Norton, is familiar with the Lady Flames, after serving as the top assistant coach at James Madison for the last eight years.

Back to North Carolina
The Lady Flames are scheduled to play nine games in North Carolina this season, including a conference series at Campbell and a midweek doubleheader at UNCG.

Last year, Liberty went 5-2 in the Tar Heel State, and the Lady Flames are 85-96 in North Carolina as an NCAA Division I program (since 1994).

A pair of Liberty's starters, Katie Zavodny (Concord) and Blair Lawrence (Hampstead), will return to their home state of North Carolina this weekend.

Weekly Recap
Liberty went 2-1 during a brief, three-game homestand this past week

The Lady Flames fell to Hampton, 10-8, in eight innings in their home opener on Wednesday. Katie Zavodny went 5-for-5 with two doubles and two RBIs, setting a new program single-game record for hits.

In game two versus the Pirates, Liberty won, 10-1, in five innings. Sophomore pitcher Chandler Ball allowed four hits and one unearned run. Sammi Shivock and Kelby Allen both drove in three runs in the nightcap.

Liberty then shut out Manhattan, 7-0, on Saturday, behind a two-hitter from freshman Annah Jo Brittingham. Zavodny tied her career high with three stolen bases, while Megan Robinson hit her first career homer, a three-run shot in the fifth inning.

One for the Record Books
Katie Zavodny went 5-for-5 with two doubles, two RBIs, one run scored and two stolen bases on Wednesday against Hampton. In the process, she set a single-game program record for hits. Prior to Wednesday, a four-hit game had been recorded 27 times in program history, but never a five-hit game.

Zavodny then singled during her first at bat in the second game, giving her hits in six straight at bats. The last Lady Flame with hits in six straight at bats was Meredith Crisante, who did so April 10-11, 2012, getting three hits each against N.C. A&T and Hampton.

Shutting the Door
Since allowing 10 runs (nine earned) in the home opener against Hampton, Liberty has not allowed an earned run in its last 12 2/3 innings pitched. That marks the team's longest stretch without yielding an earned run since going 26 2/3 straight innings without allowing an earned run in May 2011.

Freshman Annah Jo Brittingham followed up a four-hitter by Chandler Ball by pitching a two-hit shutout against Manhattan on Saturday. It marked the first complete-game shutout by a Lady Flame since Kat Johnson blanked Gardner-Webb, 1-0, on May 13, 2011.

On a Tear
During the last five games, Sammi Shivock is batting .588 with two doubles, one homer, eight RBIs and six runs scored, connecting for hits in each game.

Jill Stephens is hitting .500 during that same span, with two doubles and a homer. Katie Zavodny has a .474 average over the last five games, stealing seven bases while scoring six runs and recording two doubles.

Liberty has averaged over three extra-base hits in its most recent five games, connecting for 11 doubles and five home runs, while batting .307 as a team.

Get On/Over/In
The Lady Flames have shown the ability to manufacture runs lately, scoring a total of 25 runs on 24 hits in their last three games. During its recently-completed three-game homestand, Liberty scored two runs on double-steal plays. The team also drove in two runs on successful squeeze bunts, and cashed in on one sacrifice fly.

Good Timing
Three Lady Flames - Sophomore Megan Robinson, along with freshmen Blair Lawrence and Katie Han - all registered their first career RBIs on Saturday against Manhattan.

With the bases loaded and Liberty clinging to a 2-0 lead in the fourth, Han laced a pinch-hit RBI single. Robinson then went deep with her first career homer, a three-run shot in the fifth, and Lawrence plated Zavodny on a sacrifice fly in the sixth inning.