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Lady Flames Set to Face Virginia Tech, Hampton this Week

March 28, 2016  Lynchburg, Va.  RSS
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Lady Flames Set to Face Virginia Tech, Hampton this Week

Complete Game Notes

The Big South-leading Liberty Lady Flames (16-14, 5-1 Big South) step out of conference play for a pair of Commonwealth doubleheaders this week. Liberty will play a twin bill at Virginia Tech (14-15, 9-3 ACC) on Wednesday at 5 p.m., before hosting Hampton (11-16, 4-2 MEAC) in a doubleheader the next day at 3 p.m.

Liberty tied its program record for most consecutive wins to start Big South play, winning five straight conference games before falling in the series finale at Coastal Carolina, Saturday. The Lady Flames are looking for their first win in Blacksburg since sweeping the then No. 24 Hokies, 6-5 and 3-0, on May 4, 2006 at Tech Softball Park.

Lady Flames at a Glance
The Lady Flames lead the Big South with six shutouts this season, ranking third with a 3.01 team ERA. Julia DiMartino (6-5) enters the week ranked third in the Big South in ERA (2.46). Chandler Ball (4-3, 2.61) leads the Big South with three saves, while also posting a 0.82 ERA in five Big South appearances. Chase Cassady (6-6) is ranked second in the conference with 7.34 strikeouts per seven innings.

Mickey Loveridge paces the Lady Flames, batting .455, while Madison Kotchey has hit .438 with two homers and seven RBI in seven games played. Jaclyn Amader (.340) is ranked third in the Big South with nine doubles. Rylee Reynolds (.324), Katie Han (.310) and Alexia Taylor all bat .300 or better, and Taylor leads Liberty with 19 RBI.      

How to Follow the Lady Flames
Fans can follow all of Liberty's games this week through live stats. Additionally, Wednesday's games will be available for viewing, for a charge, on the HokiesXtra website. All four games will air on radio on 90.9 FM The Light, with Kevin Keys serving as play-by-play announcer.

Quick Hits
- Liberty leads the Big South standings, at 5-1 through six games for first time since 2007.
- Chandler Ball is currently tied for sixth in program history with 43 career wins.
- The Lady Flames tied a program record with two sacrifice flies on Friday at Coastal.
- Liberty Softball Stadium was voted second-best softball stadium by FloSoftball.com
- Liberty leads the Big South in shutouts (6) and strikeouts per seven innings (6.37).
- Jaclyn Amader leads the Lady Flames with nine doubles and nine multiple-hit games.
- Tori Zavodny is tied for third in the nation with five triples heading into the week.
- The Lady Flames are in the midst of 11 out 13 games on the road.
- Liberty's current 12-member freshman class is the largest in program history.

Liberty vs. Virginia Tech (Virginia Tech leads, 33-12) Current Series Streak: Liberty W1
Last Meeting: Liberty 1, Virginia Tech 0 (4/16/15 - Lynchburg, Va. - Game 2)
Last Virginia Tech Win: Virginia Tech 10, Liberty 1 (4/16/15 - Lynchburg, Va. - Game 1)

Virginia Tech (14-15, 9-3 ACC) currently sits third in ACC standings after allowing just one run during three games at Georgia Tech last weekend. Maggie Tyler (11-9, 3.04 ERA) leads the ACC and is tied for sixth in the nation with five shutouts, including a no-hitter at Boston College. Lauren Duff leads the Hokies with a .362 batting average, while Caitlin Nolan (.354) and Olivia Lattin (.289) are tied for the team lead with 16 RBI.

The Lady Flames and Hokies have met 45 times in a series that dates back to 1996, with Virginia Tech leading, 33-12. The Hokies have won 15 out of the last 16 meetings. Liberty's last wins at Virginia Tech came May 4, 2006, when the Lady Flames swept the No. 24 Hokies in a doubleheader, 6-5 and 3-0, in Blacksburg. Last year, Liberty and Virginia Tech split a doubleheader in Lynchburg, with Abby Tincher tossing a two-hit shutout in a 1-0 Lady Flames win in the nightcap.

Liberty vs. Hampton (Liberty leads, 42-10) Current Series Streak: Liberty W2
Last Meeting: Liberty 5, Hampton 2 (4/21/15 - Lynchburg, Va. - Game 2)
Last Hampton Win: Hampton 2, Liberty 1 (3/24/15 - Hampton, Va. - Game 2) 

Hampton brings an 11-16 record to Lynchburg on Thursday, while sitting in a three-way tie for first in the MEAC Northern Division with a 4-2 league mark. Hampton will be Liberty's third opponent from the MEAC this season, after the Lady Flames defeated Morgan State and Norfolk State. Hope Sobelewski leads Hampton with a .361 batting average, while Diamond Ponds (.333) has scored a team-best 23 runs. Taylor McCoy (.325), MacKenzie Wise (.313) and Jada Fields (.306) all bat .300 or better.

Liberty holds a 42-10 all-time record against Hampton. Last year, Liberty went 3-1 against the Lady Pirates. After splitting a doubleheader at Hampton, March 24, the Lady Flames swept two games from the Lady Pirates at Liberty Softball Stadium, April 21. Liberty overcame a 4-0, seventh-inning deficit during game one, winning, 5-4 in nine innings.

Home Cooking
The Lady Flames are currently on a four-game home winning streak. Liberty is 6-2 at Liberty Softball Stadium this year, averaging seven runs per game while hitting .367.

Madison Kotchey bats .583 with three doubles, two homers and seven RBI at Liberty Softball Stadium, one of eight Lady Flames batting .300 or better at home.

Liberty has tossed two shutouts at home this season, posting a 1.21 team ERA and .183 opponents' batting average. Chandler Ball is 1-1 with a 0.70 ERA at home, while Chase Cassady is 2-0 with a 1.56 ERA and Julia DiMartino, 3-1 with a 1.75 ERA.

Lady Flames Take 2 of 3 at Coastal
Liberty improved its conference record to a Big South-leading 5-1 by going 2-1 at Coastal Carolina last weekend.

The Lady Flames got home runs from Sarah Robertson and Alexia Taylor in a 6-4 win in game one Friday. Also, Julia DiMartino earned the win and Chandler Ball picked up her conference-best third save of the season.

Liberty then edged out the Chanticleers, 2-0, during the second game, behind a four-hit shutout by Chandler Ball. Ball is the first Big South pitcher to shut Coastal out in a Big South regular-season game since March 28, 2012, a span of 91 games.

The Chanticleers won game three, 9-1, ending Liberty's six-game winning streak and five-game Big South winning streak. The last time the Lady Flames won six or more games in a row was an eight-game winning streak, April 13-20, 2011.

Blankings
Chandler Ball tossed her first shutout of the season, and sixth for her career, Friday at Coastal Carolina. Julia DiMartino has thrown two shutouts this season including a no-hitter against Stetson, while classmate Chase Cassady pitched a two-hit shutout versus La Salle, March 12. This is the second year in a row that three different Lady Flames have tossed at least one shutout. Ball had four shutouts, Kenzie Friesen, two and Abby Tincher tossed one shutout in 2015.

The Lady Flames have fashioned a Big South-leading six shutouts this season, just one away from last year's full-season total of seven blankings.

Triple the Fun
Tori Zavodny is tied for third in the nation with five triples this season, and is ranked fifth in program history with eight career triples.

Zavodny leads the Lady Flames with 16 stolen bases this season, and is tied for sixth all-time in program history with 40 career steals.

Three for Me
Jaclyn Amader went 3-for-4 on Friday against Coastal Carolina, good for her team-leading fourth three-hit game this season. So far this season, Liberty has gotten three-hit games from seven different players, in Jaclyn Amader (4), Alexia Taylor (2), Mickey Loveridge (2), Kassidy McCoy, Katie Han, Rylee Reynolds and Tori Zavodny.

K Zone
Liberty leads the Big South with 6.37 strikeouts per seven innings.

Julia DiMartino struck out a career-high 13 Sacred Heart batters on March 12, the most strikeouts by a Lady Flame since April 17, 2010 (14 by Tiffani Smith vs. Gardner-Webb). Chase Cassady then fanned a career-best 11 batters in a 9-0, two-hit shutout over La Salle, on March 12.

What a Relief
Chandler Ball, serving largely in a relief role after winning 20 games last year, posted a streak of 16 consecutive innings pitched without allowing an earned run, starting March 11 against Rhode Island and ending at Coastal Carolina on Saturday. Last March, Ball posted a stretch of 20 straight innings with no earned runs allowed.

With 43 career wins, Ball is tied with Terra Lowe (2004-07) for sixth in program history. Sarah Ellis (2006-09) is fifth with 44 victories.