The Liberty softball team opens a five-game road swing on Tuesday, competing in a doubleheader at Hampton starting at 3 p.m. at Lady Pirates Softball Stadium.
The Lady Flames bring a 12-14 record into the week. Liberty has been playing its best softball of late, going 7-3 in its last 10 contests. Hampton has gone 5-15 so far this season, having lost its last three games.
How to Follow the Lady Flames Fans can follow along with the action from Tuesday's doubleheader through live stats, courtesy of Hampton Sports Information.
Liberty opened its brand-new, 1,000-seat Liberty Softball Stadium on Thursday, downing Rider, 9-2. Thursday's win saw numerous stadium firsts, which will be listed below. By downing the Broncs, Liberty posted its first home-opening victory since 2010 against Radford. The Lady Flames went 3-2 at the Liberty Softball Classic, posting wins over Rider, Princeton and Quinnipiac.
The team's pitching staff came through on the weekend, posting a 1.80 ERA and .205 opponents' batting average over five games. Chandler Ball went 2-0 with a 0.38 ERA, moving into 10th in program history with 27 career victories. Kenzie Friesen threw a three-hitter in a 2-1 win over Princeton, her second complete-game three-hit effort this season.
Senior Kelby Allen leads the Lady Flames with a .350 batting average after a recent 10-game hitting streak. Freshman Tori Zavodny bats .342 and is the team leader in runs (22), doubles (6 – tied), home runs (3 – tied), slugging percentage (.608), walks (11) and stolen bases (13). Senior Megan Robinson is in the midst of a career-best 10-game hitting streak, raising her average to .333. Freshman Alexia Taylor has hit .333 while pacing the Lady Flames with 16 RBI and a .442 on-base percentage. Junior Mickey Loveridge hits .293 and is tied for first in doubles with six.
In the circle, Chandler Ball is 8-5 with a 3.37 ERA, two shutouts, one save and 64 strikeouts. She has won her last five decisions in a row, and was named Big South Pitcher of the Week earlier this season. Kenzie Friesen has gone 3-5 with a 3.79 ERA and two complete games, leading Liberty with a .260 opponents' batting average.
Firsts at Liberty Softball Stadium First Game: Liberty 9, Rider 2 – March 19, 2015 First Pitch: Liberty's Chandler Ball to Rider's Antonia Nino (first-pitch groundout to shortstop) First Winning Pitcher: Liberty's Chandler Ball vs. Rider March 19, 2015 First Strikeout: Liberty's Chandler Ball struck out Rider's Delany DeMello March 19, 2015 First Hit: Liberty's Megan Robinson off of Rider's Delany DeMello March 19, 2015 First Run: Liberty's Megan Robinson versus Rider March 19, 2015 First RBI: Liberty's Madison Kotchey (3) versus Rider March 19, 2015 First Double: Liberty's Madison Kotchey off of Rider's Delany DeMello March 19, 2015 First Triple: Liberty's Mickey Loveridge off of Rider's Delany DeMello March 19, 2015 First Home Run: Liberty's Tori Zavodny off of Rider's Delany DeMello March 19, 2015 First Shutout: Kent State's Emma Johnson versus Princeton March 20, 2015 First Stolen Base: Liberty's Tori Zavodny versus Rider March 19, 2015
During Liberty's last 12 games, the Lady Flames are 8-4 with a 2.02 ERA and .227 opponents' batting average. The squad also batted .299 during that time.
In that span, Megan Robinson is batting .410, followed by Alexia Taylor, who has hit .405 with two homers and 13 RBI. Madison Kotchey hit .393 with four doubles and nine RBI, while Tori Zavodny (.350) and Kelby Allen (.333) scored 10 runs each.
Over the last 12 contests, Chandler Ball is 5-0 with a 0.88 ERA and .234 opponents' batting average. Kenzie Friesen has gone 3-3 with a 3.54 ERA, allowing opponents to hit just .222.
Several Lady Flames are climbing the program's career top 10 lists.
Chandler Ball entered Liberty's top 10 in career wins on Saturday, posting her 27th career victory. She also ranks eighth all-time at Liberty with 271 strikeouts and ninth with 443.2 innings pitched.
Kelby Allen hit her fifth career sacrifice fly on Friday, tying her for third in program history. Allen is ranked eighth in the school's record books with 103 career RBI and ninth with 24 home runs.
Blair Lawrence is in fifth place all-time at Liberty with 41 career stolen bases, having reached double figures in steals during each of her first three seasons as a Lady Flame.
Scouting Hampton Hampton (5-15) has faced two nationally-ranked teams so far this year, falling to then No. 1 Florida and No. 8 Michigan. The Lady Pirates bat .227 as a team, while hitting two home runs over their first 20 games. The team won or shared the MEAC North Division crown in both 2013 and 2014, and was voted first in the 2015 MEAC North Division preseason poll.
Two-time All-MEAC selection Margaret Wilkins has batted .333 so far to lead the Lady Pirates. Allyson Babinsack paces the team with 16 RBI. Jailynn Jackson, two-time defending MEAC Pitcher of the Year, is 2-7 with a 4.59 ERA this season, while Babinsack has posted a 4.43 ERA and 3-6 record.
Liberty is 39-9 all-time against Hampton in softball. These two teams split each of their last two head-to-head doubleheaders, on April 11, 2012 at Hampton and Feb. 27 at Liberty.
The Lady Flames opened the 2013 home schedule against the Pirates, falling 10-8 in game one. Katie Zavodny set Liberty's program record for hits in that game. Chandler Ball then pitched a four-hitter during the nightcap, with Liberty winning, 10-1.
Following Tuesday's doubleheader, Liberty travels to face Campbell in a weekend Big South series. The Lady Flames and Camels will contest a doubleheader on Friday at 4 p.m. at Amanda Littlejohn Stadium.
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