The Liberty softball team heads to Charlotte for the 49er Invitational this weekend. (photo by Linwood Ferguson)
Complete Notes Liberty returns to the Tar Heel State for the second time this season, competing in the 49er Invitational, hosted by Charlotte from Friday through Sunday. The Lady Flames (2-10) open the weekend with an 11 a.m. contest on Friday against BIG EAST team Georgetown (3-6). Liberty will meet Charlotte (5-5) on Friday at 1 p.m., before taking on defending America East champion Stony Brook, Saturday at 10 a.m. The Lady Flames faced Georgetown on the first day of the 2014 season, with the Hoyas pulling out a 4-3 win in Fort Myers, Fla., Feb. 7. Liberty's last meetings against Charlotte and Stony Brook actually came on the same day, as the Lady Flames met both teams on March 10, 2006 in Charlotte.
Flames at a Glance Liberty aims to get back on the winning track, as the team is currently on a five-game winless streak. Three out of those five setbacks were by either one or two runs. The Lady Flames went winless this past weekend at the Spartan Classic in Spartanburg, S.C. Junior Hanna Nichols leads the team with a .385 average, while junior Kelby Allen (.345) paces Liberty with four doubles and six RBIs. Senior Katie Zavodny bats .333 with a team-best nine runs and eight stolen bases, and senior Sammi Shivock hit .286. Senior RHP Alyssa DiMartino is 1-4 with a 3.00 ERA in 21 innings pitched, after allowing just one earned run through her first five appearances. Sophomore RHP Annah Jo Brittingham has recorded a team-high 28 strikeouts, good for an average of 4.98 strikeouts per game. How to Follow the Lady Flames Fans can follow all of Liberty's games this weekend through live stats, provided by Charlotte's Media Relations Office. Live stats can be accessed through the Live Stats link on LibertyFlames.com.
Liberty vs. Georgetown (All-Time Series: Liberty leads, 3-2)
Georgetown is off to a 3-6 start to the season, including wins over Liberty, Ole Miss and UNCW. Megan Hyson was named to the BIG EAST Honor Roll on Monday, for her efforts at the Gamecock Invitational. Hyson bats .273 with a team-high six RBIs, while also holding a 2-3 record and 2.77 ERA in the circle. Elyse Graziano paces the Hoyas with a .320 batting average, while Lauren O'Leary (1-3) has posted a 1.86 ERA. Liberty and Georgetown met on the first day of this season, with the Hoyas rallying from a 3-0 deficit to down the Lady Flames, 4-3, on Feb. 7 in Fort Myers, Fla. The Lady Flames hold a 3-2 lead in the all-time series. Liberty swept two games from Georgetown in March 2007, before the two teams split a pair of contests in February 2012. Liberty vs. Charlotte (All-Time Series: Charlotte leads, 16-7)
Charlotte enters this week with a 5-5 record, batting .311 as a team with 14 home runs. Jackie Kleinsmith paces the 49ers with a .531 batting average, while Samantha Slade (.464) has posted six home runs and 14 RBIs. Hayley Lewis hits .414 on the year. Charlotte's top pitcher, Lexi Betancourt, has a 5-1 record and 1.15 ERA. The 49ers are 16-7 all-time against the Lady Flames, a series which started during Liberty's first season of Division I softball, 1994. Charlotte won the last meeting against Liberty, 5-4, on March 10, 2006 in Charlotte. Liberty's last win over Charlotte came on Feb. 14, 2003, as the Lady Flames opened the 2003 campaign with a 2-1 win.
Liberty vs. Stony Brook (All-Time Series: Tied, 1-1)
Defending America East champion and 2013 NCAA Tournament participant Stony Brook is seeking its first win of the 2014 campaign, after going 0-5 at their season-opening Georgia Tech-Kennesaw State Invite. Bria Green, a returning NFCA All-Region first team selection, bats .313 with two homers and five RBIs, while 2013 All-America East first team choice Alexandra Pisciotta leads the Seawolves with a .462 average. Jessica Combs hits .417, while Melissa Phelan has a .357 average. Liberty and Stony Brook have split two all-time meetings in softball, with the Seawolves taking the most recent contest, 5-4, on March 10, 2006 in Charlotte. The Lady Flames defeated Stony Brook, 7-5, in their 2006 season opener, Feb. 24 in Wilmington, N.C.
Charlotte Notes Liberty plays in Charlotte for the first time since 2006, when the Lady Flames went 2-2 at the 49er Classic. The Lady Flames played two of the same teams that they will face this week, falling by identical 5-4 scores to both Charlotte and Stony Brook on March 10, 2006. Liberty is 4-8 all-time in invitational contests played in Charlotte. The Lady Flames are 7-13 all-time while playing in Charlotte, including 3-8 when facing the Charlotte 49ers in away games. Liberty senior Katie Zavodny will be playing near her hometown of Concord, while sophomore Blair Lawrence (Hampstead) also hails from North Carolina.
Weekend Recap Liberty went winless at the Spartan Classic, hosted by USC Upstate, a team receiving votes in the most recent national polls. The Lady Flames got two hits from Katie Zavodny, Sammi Shivock and Blair Lawrence in an 8-7 setback to Western Carolina on Saturday, while Kassidy McCoy had two hits against the Catamounts on Sunday. Zavodny was named to the Spartan Classic All-Tournament team.
Double the Fun Junior Kelby Allen leads the team in doubles, ranking second in the Big South with four two-baggers. She has continued to show extra-bases power, as Allen paced the Lady Flames with 10 home runs last season. Allen has posted a team-best .586 slugging percentage so far this season, after slugging at a .494 clip last year.
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.
Pitching In 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 1-4 with a 3.00 ERA in 21 innings pitched, after allowing just one earned run through her first five appearances. 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 87 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.
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