Complete Game Notes Liberty (27-26, 13-8 Big South) plays its final regular-season games this weekend, hosting Gardner-Webb (18-29, 4-14) in a three-game series, Friday and Saturday. The Lady Flames will be the first Big South team to finish their conference schedule, and will have to wait until next Sunday, May 8, for the tournament bracket to be released.
Friday night will feature Liberty's third fireworks night, while Saturday will serve as senior day. The Lady Flames will honor graduating seniors Chandler Ball, Katie Han, Blair Lawrence, Mickey Loveridge and Kassidy McCoy with a pre-game ceremony, Saturday.
Lady Flames at a Glance Liberty leads the Big South with nine shutouts, ranking third with a 3.12 team ERA. Julia DiMartino (15-11, 2.56 ERA) leads the Big South with a Liberty freshman-record 160 strikeouts, while her five shutouts rank second in the league. Chandler Ball (4-6, 3.20) is tied for first in the Big South with three saves. Chase Cassady (7-8, 4.48) averages 8.04 strikeouts per seven innings, good for second in the conference.
Jaclyn Amader (.325) and Alexia Taylor (.312) are tied for third in the Big South with 12 doubles, while Taylor leads Liberty with 31 RBI. Rylee Reynolds is batting .314, while Sarah Robertson hits .299. Tori Zavodny (.272) ranks in the top five in the Big South in four categories, leading in triples, with five. Zavodny and Kassidy McCoy are tied for the team lead with five homers.
How to Follow the Lady Flames Fans can follow all of Liberty's games this week through live stats. All three contests contest will air on Big South Network and ESPN3, with Alan York calling play-by-play and former Liberty head softball coach Paul Wetmore providing analysis. All three games will air on radio on 90.9 FM The Light, with Kevin Keys serving as play-by-play announcer.
Quick Hits - Julia DiMartino was named Big South Pitcher of the Week, Monday. - The Lady Flames have already tied a program record with 13 conference wins this year. - Tori Zavodny batted .500 with two doubles, one homer and two steals at Radford. - Julia DiMartino has set or tied Liberty freshman records in shutouts and strikeouts. - Liberty Softball Stadium was voted second-best softball stadium by FloSoftball.com. - With 43 career wins, Chandler Ball needs one more victory to enter Liberty's top five. - Alexia Taylor is the fourth Liberty player all-time to reach 100 hits as a sophomore. - Dot Richardson was named among the 30 Most Influential Women in College Sports. - Liberty's current 12-member freshman class is the largest in program history.
Liberty vs. Gardner-Webb (Liberty leads, 24-8) Current Series Streak: Liberty W1 Last Meeting: Liberty 7, Gardner-Webb 2 (5/8/15 - Buies Creek, N.C.) Last Gardner-Webb Win: Gardner-Webb 10, Liberty 8 (3/15/15 - Shelby, N.C.)
Gardner-Webb (18-29, 4-14 Big South) is looking to snap an eight-game losing streak. The Runnin' Bulldogs' last win came on April 14 against Presbyterian. The team is 0-6 in conference away games this season. Kaylee Wacaster (.281) leads the Big South with 16 doubles, while Amanda Gomes (.333) has hit six homers and driven in 30 runs. Jill Blank bats .298 with 23 RBI. Mackenzie Thompson leads Gardner-Webb's pitching staff, with a 3.80 ERA and a 9-11 record.
Liberty holds a 24-8 record all-time against Gardner-Webb. The Lady Flames had won 11 straight games against the Runnin' Bulldogs before Gardner-Webb downed Liberty, 4-2, on April 12, 2013. Liberty is 4-0 all-time against the Runnin' Bulldogs in the Big South Softball Championship, eliminating Gardner-Webb each of the last two years.
Liberty vs. Gardner-Webb - 2015 Recap Liberty went 3-1 against Gardner-Webb last season, taking two of three during the regular season before eliminating the Runnin' Bulldogs from the Big South Championship. Liberty batted .345 against the Runnin' Bulldogs last year.
Alexia Taylor hit a game-winning two-run double and Chandler Ball earned the win in game one, a 3-1 Liberty victory.
Taylor then doubled, homered and drove in five runs in an 8-4 Lady Flames win.
The Runnin' Bulldogs salvaged one game, winning the series finale, 10-8.
Liberty knocked Gardner-Webb out of the 2015 Big South Softball Championship, winning 7-2 as Chandler Ball allowed just four hits.
Ball has gone 4-0 with a 2.59 ERA lifetime against Gardner-Webb.
Quick Conference Report At 13-8 in conference play, Liberty has tied the program record for Big South victories, set in 2010 when the Lady Flames went 13-5. Liberty is 7-0 in the first game of a Big South series, 4-3 in game two and 2-5 in series finales. The Lady Flames are fourth in Big South standings, and can finish no worse than fourth.
Julia DiMartino is 11-4 with a 2.36 ERA, three shutouts and 82 strikeouts in league play. Chandler Ball (2-2) has a 1.96 ERA and two saves against conference competition. Chase Cassady averages 10.32 strikeouts per seven innings in Big South games.
Jaclyn Amader hits .370 with 11 RBI in conference games. Alexia Taylor (.290) leads the Lady Flames with 16 RBI, while Tori Zavodny paces the team with 18 runs scored.
Senior Salute Prior to Saturday's game, Liberty will honor its five seniors - Chandler Ball, Katie Han, Blair Lawrence, Mickey Loveridge and Kassidy McCoy with a pregame ceremony. These three players helped the Lady Flames post wins over Arkansas, Virginia and Virginia Tech.
Out With a Bang Liberty softball is 12-10 in regular-season finales since 1994. The team has won its final regular-season contest the last two years and seven out of the last eight seasons.
Radford Recap The Lady Flames downed Radford 4-3, in 10 innings on Tuesday, as Tori Zavodny went 2-for-3 with a double, homer and a career-high three runs scored. Julia DiMartino went the distance for the win, allowing just one earned run in 10 innings pitched.
Game two went to Radford, 3-1, a game that was halted on Tuesday due to unsafe lighting conditions and concluded on Wednesday.
The Highlanders hit a two-out homer in both the fourth and fifth innings on Wednesday, downing Liberty, 6-5. Jaclyn Amader and Rylee Reynolds hit back-to-back homers in the top of the sixth, trimming the deficit to one.
Chasing History Julia DiMartino has set a new Liberty freshman record with 160 strikeouts this year. Her 160 K's are the fifth-most ever in a single season by a Lady Flames pitcher. She has tied Leslie Inge (1997) for the most shutouts ever by a Liberty freshman, with five. At 15-11, she needs one more win to tie Inge's freshman record for wins.
DiMartino was named Big South Pitcher of the Week, Monday. She joins Chase Cassady (March 14) as Lady Flames to earn Pitcher of the Week honors in 2016. Last week, DiMartino posted a perfect 3-0 record, tossing three complete games and two shutouts.
Versatility Tori Zavodny batted 4-for-8 with two doubles, one homer, two RBI, three walks, two stolen bases and three runs scored during the Radford series. For the season, she leads the Big South with five triples, while ranking second in stolen bases (26), and fourth in both runs scored (42) and walks (27). She also is tied for Liberty's team lead with five homers.
CSU Recap Liberty went 2-1 against CSU last weekend, picking up its fifth Big South series win.
In game one on Saturday, Julia DiMartino tossed a two-hit shutout, and Deidra See hit a walk-off single in the 1-0 Liberty win. Liberty now leads the Big South with nine shutouts this season, eclipsing the team's total of seven from last year.
After CSU evened the series, 5-1, in game two, Liberty took Sunday's series finale, 3-2. Rylee Reynolds went 3-for-3 with two doubles and two RBI on Sunday.
First Time for Everything Liberty split a doubleheader at Virginia last Wednesday. In game one, Kassidy McCoy hit her team-leading fifth homer of the season, and Julia DiMartino tossed her fourth career shutout in a 1-0 win. It marked Liberty's first shutout victory at Virginia since becoming an NCAA Division I program in 1994.
K Zone The Lady Flames' 333 strikeouts this season are the fifth most in program history, and most since posting a program-record 373 K's in 2010.
Chase Cassady averages 8.04 strikeouts per seven innings, good for second in the conference. She struck out 11 batters in 5 2/3 innings pitched at Radford. Julia DiMartino strikes out 7.45 batters per game.
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