Complete Game Notes Liberty (5-4) competes in Florida for the second time in three weeks, playing at the Citrus Classic 1, held Friday through Sunday at ESPN Wide World of Sports. The Lady Flames look to bounce back after a winless four-game appearance at last week's Mary Nutter Classic. No. 3/3 Florida is Liberty's top opponent on this weekend's schedule.
The Lady Flames are 0-1 all-time against Florida, while leading Morgan State, 4-2. Liberty downed the Bears, 9-1, on Feb. 12 in Clermont, Fla.
Lady Flames at a Glance Liberty opened the season with a dominating 5-0 start at the Dot Richardson Invitational. The Lady Flames currently rank in the top 25 in the nation in batting average (16th - .360), on-base percentage (17th - .442), triples per game (19th - 0.44) and stolen baes per game (24th - 2.11).
Freshman shortstop Amber Bishop leads the team with a .483 average, two homers and 12 RBI. Bishop's twin sister, Autumn, bats .370 with a team-leading two triples and 12 runs. Tori Zavodny hits .417, while 11 total Lady Flames have batted .300 or better so far. Jasmeen Click paces the team with four stolen bases.
In the circle, freshman Elizabeth Engler (4.20 ERA) and sophomore Chase Cassady (3.41) are tied with two wins apiece, while Cassady has tossed one shutout.
How to Follow the Lady Flames Live stats will be available for all of Liberty's games at the Citrus Classic 1. Additionally, an audio broadcast of Liberty's game against Florida on Saturday will be available. Check FloridaGators.com for an audio link.
Quick Hits - Liberty's 5-0 start was its best season-opening winning streak since 2006. The Lady Flames have won seven out of their last eight games played in Florida. - Liberty looks for its first win over a nationally-ranked opponent since 2007 (#6 Michigan). - Liberty Softball Stadium was voted sixth-best softball stadium by FloSoftball.com. - The Lady Flames tied a program record with three triples against Morgan State, Feb. 12. - Elizabeth Engler is the first Liberty pitcher since 1996 to win in each of her first two career appearances. - All of Liberty's regular starters are batting .313 or better so far this season. - Tori Zavodny needs one stolen base to enter Liberty's all-time top five. - Lady Flames Chase Cassady, Sarah Robertson and Alexia Taylor all hail from Florida. Cassady, Taylor and Head Coach Dot Richardson all grew up in the Orlando area.
Liberty vs. Oakland (First Meeting) Oakland 2016 Record: 13-31 (8-14 Horizon League) 2017 Record: 4-1 Notable: Erin Kownacki was named Horizon League Pitcher of the Week, Monday.
Liberty vs. Syracuse (First Meeting) Syracuse 2016 Record: 27-26 (9-14 ACC) 2017 Record: 6-3 Notable: Syracuse is 2-0 against Big South teams this season (def. Winthrop, 4-0, 6-5).
Liberty vs. Florida (All-Time Series: Florida leads, 1-0) Last Meeting: No. 1 Florida 11, Liberty 0 (Feb. 20, 2015 – Gainesville, Fla.) Florida 2016 Record: 56-7 (20-4 SEC) 2017 Record: 10-1 Notable: Kelly Barnhill was named SEC Pitcher of the Week, Monday. Barnhill and fellow pitcher Delanie Gourley are both currently on the USA Softball Women's National Team.
Florida, the defending national champion at the time, downed Liberty, 11-0, on Feb. 20, 2015 in Gainesville, Fla., in the teams' first meeting all-time.
Liberty vs. Ball State (First Meeting) Ball State 2016 Record: 22-32 (8-16 MAC) 2017 Record: 3-7 Notable: 12 out of Ball State's 17 players are newcomers to the program. Morgan State (All-Time Series: Liberty leads, 4-2; Liberty has won last three) Last Meeting: Liberty 9, Morgan State 1 (Feb. 12, 2017 – Clermont, Fla.) Last Morgan State Win: Morgan State 3, Liberty 1 (March 2, 2001 – Hampton, Va.) Morgan State 2016 Record: 13-28 (8-8 MEAC) 2017 Record: 4-2 Notable: Amy Begg has been named MEAC Pitcher of the Week twice this season.
Liberty tied a program record with three triples in a 9-1, six-inning win over Morgan State, Feb. 12, 2017 in Clermont, Fla. The Lady Flames recorded a season-high 15 hits.
Top 25 Challenge The Liberty softball team has competed against top 25 teams 54 times in program history, posting a 6-48 record versus nationally-ranked opponents. Liberty went 0-4 against ranked opponents last year, falling to No. 17/17 UCF (Feb. 11), No. 5/5 Alabama (Feb. 14), No. 21/21 Baylor (Feb. 19) and No. 5/6 LSU (March 5). Liberty lost 7-1 to No. 6/5 UCLA on Sunday, and has a pair of games at 2016 national runner-up Auburn next week. The Lady Flames also play at Tennessee, March 28.
In 2007, Liberty knocked off No. 23 Hawai'i, No. 10 Baylor and No. 6 Michigan. The Lady Flames' 2-0 win over No. 6 Michigan, March 24, 2007, marks the highest-ranked team that Liberty has beaten in softball, and the team's most recent victory over a nationally-ranked team.
Walking on Sunshine Liberty is 60-86 all-time in games played in the state of Florida, including 10-15 under current Head Coach, Orlando native Dot Richardson. The Lady Flames have won seven out of their last eight games played in Florida.
Going Yard Freshman Amber Bishop leads the Lady Flames with a .483 batting average, two homers and 12 RBI. On Sunday, she hit a two-run blast off of reigning USA Softball National Player of the Week Sierra Hyland of Cal Poly. Junior Tori Zavodny, who led the team in homers as a freshman, hit Liberty's first home run of the 2017 campaign, Feb. 11 vs. Chattanooga.
Blazing the Basepaths In their first three years under the direction of Head Coach Dot Richardson, the Lady Flames averaged 85 stolen bases per year. So far this year, Liberty has averaged 2.11 steals per game, good for 24th in NCAA Division I.
Jasmeen Click leads the way with four stolen bases, as 11 Lady Flames have stolen at least one base. Interestingly, junior Tori Zavodny has not stolen a base yet this year.
Zavodny, a two-time all-conference selection led the team in stolen bases each of the last two years. Her 53 career steals rank sixth in program history, one shy of fifth place.
Triple the Fun Liberty tied a program record with three triples against Morgan State, Feb. 12, as Autumn Bishop roped two triples and Jaclyn Amader also tripled. Bishop tied a program single-game record, set by Ashley Bensinger against Charleston Southern, April 9, 2011. Start it Up Kenzie Friesen pitched five shutout innings Feb. 10 against Chattanooga, helping Liberty win its season opener for the first time since 2007.
Also in that game, Amber Bishop hit a double in her first collegiate at bat, while fellow freshman Kayla Harris singled in her first at bat. They are the first Lady Flames since Kelby Allen in 2012 to record a hit in their first collegiate at bat.
Big Inning Liberty erupted for 11 runs during the third inning of a 13-2 win over Fairleigh Dickinson on Feb. 11. The third inning alone saw Autumn Bishop and Amber Bishop post three RBI each, while 15 Lady Flames came to the plate.
It was Liberty's highest-scoring inning since a 13-run fifth inning in a 14-0 win at Charleston Southern, April 17, 1998.
Round and Round We Go The Lady Flames have averaged a Big South-leading 6.44 runs per game, and the Bishop twins, Amber and Autumn, have been key catalysts to the offensive explosion. Autumn Bishop has averaged 1.33 runs scored per game, while Amber Bishop averages 1.33 RBI per contest.
Sarah Robertson is second on the team in both RBI (8) and runs scored (7), while Taylor Hoffman has also scored seven runs.
Shutting the Door Julia DiMartino, a 2016 Big South All-Conference first team selection as a freshman, earned her first career save with two innings in the season opener against Chattanooga.
Chase Cassady pitched her second career shutout on Feb. 11 against Fairleigh Dickinson, and she averages 7.8 strikeouts per seven innings.
Freshman Elizabeth Engler won in her first two career appearances, the first Liberty pitcher to do so since Katie Phillips (1996).
No Mercy Liberty defeated four straight opponents via run-rule margins, Feb. 10-12 (Fairleigh Dickinson, 9-0; Chattanooga, 11-2, Fairleigh Dickinson, 13-2; Morgan State, 9-1), the first time that has happened in program history.
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