Liberty head coach Dot Richardson leads the Lady Flames as they are set to compete in the Seahawk Invitational, Saturday and Sunday in Wilmington, N.C.
Complete Game Notes The Liberty softball team heads to Wilmington, N.C., to compete in the Seahawk Invitational, on Saturday and Sunday hosted by UNCW at Boseman Field. The Lady Flames (0-5) will seek their first win of the Dot Richardson Era, beginning at 2 p.m. on Saturday against Norfolk State. Liberty will meet UMBC at 4 p.m., Saturday, before closing the weekend with a 2 p.m. Sunday first pitch against the tournament host UNCW Seahawks. Liberty is 14-0 all-time against Norfolk State, while holding an 11-10 edge in the all-time against UMBC and leading UNCW, 14-5, all-time.
Flames at a Glance Liberty began its first season under head coach Dot Richardson, last weekend at the FGCU/Four Points by Sheraton Invitational. Facing a challenging field, including four games against teams that finished in the top 78 in NCAA RPI last season, the Lady Flames went winless, including two one-run setbacks. Junior catcher Kelby Allen swung a hot bat in Fort Myers, hitting .500 with two doubles, one home run and three RBIs. Allen led Liberty with 10 homers last season. Katie Zavodny added another record to her credit last Friday, stealing her 81st career base to break Liberty's existing stolen bases record. She has stolen three bases so far in 2014 after swiping a program-record 41 bags last season. Senior RHP Alyssa DiMartino got the opening-day start in the circle, her second career season-opening start (also 2012). She has yielded 10 runs, all unearned, so far this season, while Annah Jo Brittingham leads the Lady Flames with 11 strikeouts. How to Follow the Lady Flames Fans can follow all of Liberty's games this weekend through StatBroadcast, provided by the UNCW Athletic Communications Office. Live stats can be accessed through the Live Stats link on LibertyFlames.com. Weekend Recap The Dot Richardson Era of Liberty Softball began in Fort Myers, Fla., as the Lady Flames played five games at the FGCU/Four Points by Sheraton Invitational. Playing against three teams that finished within the top 78 in the final 2013 RPI rankings, Liberty went 0-5. Liberty opened its season against 2013 NCAA Regional finalist Western Kentucky, falling 9-1 in six innings. The Lady Flames then were edged by Georgetown, 4-3. After sustaining losses to Ole Miss and FGCU on Saturday, Liberty built a 7-2 lead against the host Eagles on Sunday, before FGCU rallied for an 8-7, walk-off win. Kelby Allen led the Lady Flames in hitting, with a .500 average, two doubles, one home run and three RBIs. Katie Zavodny follows with a .313 batting average and three stolen bases. Alyssa DiMartino started the season opener, her second season-opening start (also 2012). She has a 0.00 ERA so far, allowing 10 unearned runs. Chandler Ball holds a 1.35 ERA, yielding two earned runs in 10 1/3 innings pitched.
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, Friday against Georgetown, Katie Zavodny broke Stacy Radulovich's (1996-99) program career record for stolen bases. Zavodny has recorded 82 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.
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 Friday against Georgetown. She also moved into a tie for eighth with her 102nd run scored. Shivock is currently tied for eighth with 23 career homers. Ball, a junior, ranks 10th all-time at Liberty with 207 career strikeouts.
Firsts Outfielder Cortney Cooper laced a single to left field on Saturday at FGCU, during the third at bat of her career. Cooper and fellow freshman Michele Brown both picked up their first career RBI on Sunday at FGCU. Second baseman Marybeth Sciolino singled during the fifth inning of Liberty's 8-7 loss at FGCU on Sunday, getting a hit in her sixth career at bat. Jamie Crisp started in left field during the season opener against Western Kentucky, and recorded her first career RBI on a fielder's choice. Strikeouts Abound Annah Jo Brittingham leads the Lady Flames with 11 strikeouts in 13 innings pitched, an average of 5.9 strikeouts per seven innings. Last season, she averaged 3.6 strikeouts per seven innings. As a freshman in 2013, Brttingham posted four games with five strikeouts or more, while she has two five-K games through three starts this year.
Liberty vs. Norfolk State All-Time Series: Liberty leads, 14-0
Norfolk State posted a 31-22 record last season, setting a program Division I record for victories, while going 15-3 in the MEAC and finishing second in the conference. NSU returns five all-conference players, led by junior outfielder Haley Ward, the 2013 MEAC Player of the Year and a second team NFCA All-Region performer. Infielders Alina Moriarty and Whitney Williams were All-MEAC first-team choices in 2013. Liberty has won all 14 meetings against Norfolk State. The Lady Flames swept a doubleheader from the Spartans on April 20, 2011 in Lynchburg. During game one, Katrina Johnson and Grace Nordan combined for Liberty's most recent no-hitter, in a 9-0 win. With a 7-1 win in game two, then head coach Paul Wetmore picked up his 500th career win. Liberty vs. UMBC All-Time Series: Liberty leads, 11-10
UMBC opens its 2014 season this weekend, after going 11-41 (1-17 America East) in 2013. The Retrievers were predicted to finish sixth in this year's A-East preseason poll. Catcher Taylor Hall was named all-conference first team last season with a .367 average and 35 RBIs, while Danielle O'Neill is a returning second team all-conference selection. Liberty holds an 11-10 edge head-to-head. The Lady Flames and Retrievers were Big South opponents from 1994-1998, during which time Liberty went 9-7 versus UMBC. The Retrievers won the most recent meeting, 5-0, on Feb. 20, 2010 in Spartanburg, S.C. Liberty's last win over UMBC was a 5-0 victory, Feb. 25, 2006 in Wilmington, N.C.
Liberty vs. UNCW All-Time Series: Liberty leads, 14-5
UNCW, coming off of a 16-37 season, opened the 2014 campaign with a 1-2 showing at at a tournament at Charleston Southern this past weekend. Nella Chamblee bats .571 (4-for-7) this season, with a home run and four RBIs, while Brittany Gamby hits .500. Payton Jordan is 1-1 and has not allowed an earned run in 12 1/3 innings pitched. The Lady Flames lead the all-time series against UNCW, 14-5. Liberty had won four straight meetings over the Seahawks before UNCW defeated Liberty, 3-1, on March 9, 2013 in Durham, N.C. UNCW's Casey Rowland threw a three-hitter, while Megan Robinson went 2-for-3 for Liberty, good for her first collegiate multiple-hit game.
Back to North Carolina The Lady Flames are scheduled to play eight games in North Carolina this season, appearing at the Seahawk Invitational and the 49er Invitational in Charlotte. A pair of Liberty's starters, Katie Zavodny (Concord) and Blair Lawrence (Hampstead), will return to their home state of North Carolina this weekend. Liberty will play in Wilmington, N.C., for the seventh time in program history, and first since 2009. The Lady Flames are 17-7 all-time in Wilmington, including 12-1 in their last three tournaments at UNCW (2005, 2006 and 2009).
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