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Lady Flames Set to Open Big South Softball Championship Play, Thursday

May 5, 2015  Lynchburg, Va.  RSS
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Lady Flames Set to Open Big South Softball Championship Play, Thursday

Complete Notes

Liberty (28-28, 12-12 Big South) enters the 2015 Big South Softball Championship, hosted by Campbell, as the fourth seed. The Lady Flames will face No. 5 seed, defending tournament champion Charleston Southern (29-26, 11-12) on Thursday at noon to begin the double-elimination portion of the tournament at Amanda Littlejohn Stadium.

Liberty is 42-19 all-time against Charleston Southern, including 6-2 in conference tournament play.  

Liberty at a Glance
Liberty finished the regular season at 28-28, a 17 overall win improvement over 2014. The Lady Flames won six conference series, including five doubleheader sweeps. Liberty leads the Big South with 88 stolen bases.

Alexia Taylor hits .328 with 11 doubles to lead the Lady Flames. Kelby Allen (.320) has hit 10 doubles and driven in a team-high 28 runs, while Megan Robinson hits .317. Tori Zavodny (.294) has launched seven homers in addition to stealing a team-high 24 bases.

Chandler Ball (19-10, 3.22 ERA) is second in the Big South in victories, while throwing four shutouts this season. Kenzie Friesen (6-11, 3.88) has fashioned two shutouts, while Abby Tincher (3-7, 4.63) has one shutout to her credit.

How to Follow the Lady Flames
Fans can follow all of Liberty's conference tournament games through live stats, provided by Campbell. Each Lady Flames contest will also be broadcast on 90.9 FM The Light, with Kevin Keys calling the action. A live video stream will be available for Thursday and Saturday, free of charge, through the Big South Network. Saturday's semifinals and Sunday's final will appear live on ESPN3.com.

Quick Hits
- Liberty is 38-39 all-time in Big South Softball Championship play, winning the title in 2002 and 2011 and placing second in 1998, 2000, 2008 and 2009.
- Liberty went 1-2 at 2014 conference tournament, beating Gardner-Webb in first round.
- The Lady Flames lead the Big South with 88 stolen bases, five shy of program record.
- Chandler Ball (19-10) ranks fourth all-time at Liberty in single-season wins.
- Ball (4), Kenzie Friesen (2) and Abby Tincher (1) have all thrown a shutout this year.
- 10 different Lady Flames have registered at least one three-hit game this season.
- Alexia Taylor's 19 multiple-hit games this year are the most by a Lady Flame since 2007.
- Kelby Allen is the third Liberty player all-time with 200 career hits, 100 runs and 100 RBI.

Liberty vs. CSU (Liberty leads, 42-19) Current Series Streak: Liberty W1
Last Meeting: Liberty 10, CSU 7 (4/12/15 - Charleston, S.C.)
Last CSU Win: CSU 5, Liberty 0 (4/11/15 (Game 2) - Charleston, S.C.)

Charleston Southern (29-26, 11-12 Big South) won the 2014 Big South Softball Championship as the No. 7 seed. The Buccaneers went 2-8 in their last 10 regular-season games. Marci Christian (.326) ranks second in the Big South with 23 homers and 55 RBI. Amanda Matsumoto is fourth in the league with a .401 average, and is second with 73 hits and 49 runs. Jennifer Giles has gone 13-15 with a 4.24 ERA. 2014 Big South Softball Championship tournament MVP Cheyenne Gandara has missed the last month of action.

Liberty leads CSU, 42-19, all-time, although the Buccaneers are 8-5 against the Lady Flames since the start of the 2012 campaign. The Lady Flames are 6-2 all-time in Big South postseason play against Charleston Southern, although the Buccaneers hit six homers in a 14-3 victory over Liberty to start the 2012 Big South Softball Championship.

Liberty vs. CSU - 2015 Regular Season Recap (Liberty W, 2-1)
Liberty went 2-1 in a conference series at CSU, April 11-12.

Chandler Ball tossed a three-hitter in a 9-0 Liberty victory in game one of the doubleheader on April 11.     

CSU then blanked Liberty, 5-0, in the nightcap behind a six-hit effort by Jennifer Giles.

The Lady Flames secured the series victory by hitting a season-high four homers in a 10-7, come-from-behind victory on April 12, during which Liberty scored five seventh-inning runs.

On the weekend, Liberty batted .357 as a team, led by Megan Robinson (5-for-8), Alexia Taylor (7-for-12) and Tori Zavodny (4-for-9).

Liberty Downs Marshall in Regular-Season Finale
Liberty concluded the regular season with a 3-1 win at Marshall, April 28. Madison Kotchey hit a two-run double in the first, and Jamie Crisp added a solo home run. This is the second year in a row that Crisp has homered in Liberty's regular-season finale.

Abby Tincher held the hot-hitting Thundering Herd (.351 team average) at bay, tossing a four-hitter while striking out a career-high nine batters. Tincher's nine strikeouts were the most by a Lady Flame since Tiffani Smith fanned nine Winthrop Eagles, May 13, 2011.

Elite Company
By going 2-for-4 at Marshall, Kelby Allen joined Jessica Moore (2005-07) and Ashley Williams (2005-07) as the only Lady Flames all-time with 200 hits, 100 runs and 100 RBI.

Allen is ranked sixth in program history with 119 career RBI and is tied for second with six sacrifice flies. With 201 career hits, she is ranked sixth in program history. She is 10th all-time in career triples (four), fifth with 27 home runs and eighth with 110 runs.

2014 Conference Tournament Rewind
Liberty opened the 2014 Big South Softball Championship as the No. 9 seed, and downed No. 8 seed Gardner-Webb, 8-5 in a first-round elimination game. Trailing, 5-4, with two outs in the top of the sixth inning, Grace Nordan hit a go-ahead grand slam. Kelby Allen blasted two home runs in the game, while Megan Robinson, Katie Han and Blair Lawrence all posted two hits.

The Lady Flames then fell to No. 1 seed Coastal Carolina, 3-1, despite outhitting the Chanticleers, 6-4. Katie Zavodny went 3-for-3 with a stolen base. Fourth-seeded Campbell then eliminated Liberty, 7-0 on May 9, despite Liberty getting two hits each from Kelby Allen and Blair Lawrence.

Liberty batted .288 as a team during the 2014 conference tournament, led by .444 performances by Allen and Lawrence. Han batted .333, while Robinson and Zavodny both hit .300.

Annah Jo Brittingham went 1-2 with a 3.50 ERA, eight strikeouts and .276 opponents' batting average during the 2014 Big South Softball Championship.

Championship Memories
Liberty made a stunning run through the 2002 Big South Softball Championship, posting four straight upset victories, including a 1-0 win over host Winthrop in the final game. The team fashioned a 1.29 ERA during the four-game event.   

Pitcher Ali Thompson was named the 2002 Big South Tournament MVP after recording two victories and a save. Fellow pitcher Jennifer Hurley went 2-0 with an 0.71 ERA. Lauren Hahn batted .417 with two homers and five RBIs, and was one of four Lady Flames to appear on the All-Tournament Team (also Thompson, Hurley and Amanda Goc).

Liberty entered the 2011 Big South Softball Championship in Rock Hill, S.C., as the No. 2 seed. After falling to host Winthrop in the opening round, the Lady Flames won four straight games, capped by a 3-1 win over top-seeded Radford in the final, to claim its first title since 2002.

The Lady Flames posted a 0.80 team ERA during the tournament, earning a pair of shutouts. Tiffani Smith earned Tournament MVP honors after throwing a no-hitter against host Winthrop, May 13.

Sammi Shivock hit two game-winning home runs, one against Gardner-Webb and one in the final against Radford. Meredith Crisante went yard twice on May 13 at Winthrop. Crisante, Shivock and Katrina Johnson all earned All-Tournament honors.