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Lady Flames Set to Face Charleston Southern in Big South Opening Series

March 15, 2017  Lynchburg, Va.  RSS
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Lady Flames Set to Face Charleston Southern in Big South Opening Series

Complete Game Notes

Liberty (13-12) enters Big South play on a three-game winning streak, as the Lady Flames open the conference portion of their 2017 schedule at Charleston Southern (11-18), Friday and Saturday. The Buccaneers went 2-9 on their trip to Hawai'i, March 3-11.

Liberty leads the all-time series against Charleston Southern, 44-21, with the Lady Flames winning the regular-season series, 2-1, in both 2015 and 2016.

Lady Flames at a Glance
Liberty's bats caught fire during their recently-completed six-game homestand. During that time, Liberty hit .384 as a team, averaging one home run, three doubles and 8.5 runs per game at Liberty Softball Stadium. The Lady Flames lead the Big South with a .317 batting average.

Tori Zavodny bats .432 while leading the Big South with an .818 slugging percentage. Autumn Bishop (.372) paces the conference in runs scored (24) and doubles (8). Bishop's twin sister, Amber, bats .367 while tying for the team lead with three homers and 18 RBI. Jasmeen Click (.360) has stolen a team-high nine bases, while Sarah Robertson bats .329 with 18 RBI.

In the circle, Liberty leads the Big South with 124 strikeouts. Julia DiMartino boasts a team-best 2.48 ERA, while Chase Cassady (4-5, 3.81) tossed her second shutout of the season on Tuesday. Kenzie Friesen is 4-1 with a 3.86 ERA and one shutout this year.

How to Follow the Lady Flames
Live stats will be available for all three games this weekend. StatBroadcast live stats will appear courtesy of Charleston Southern. Periodic Twitter updates will be available through following @LUGameday.

Quick Hits
- Liberty has scored 10+ runs in three straight games for the first time since 1982.
- The Lady Flames are 9-14 all-time in Big South openers.
- Liberty hit a season-high three homers on Tuesday against North Carolina A&T.
- Liberty Softball Stadium was voted sixth-best softball stadium by
- Tori Zavodny was named Big South Player of the Week, Monday.
- Sarah Robertson tied a program record with three doubles against NCCU, last Saturday.
- Autumn Bishop is a two-time Big South Freshman of the Week honoree.
- Chase Cassady has struck out 17 batters combined in her last 10 innings pitched.
- Eight Lady Flames bat .300 or better.
- Seven Liberty freshmen have started at least one game this season.

Liberty vs. CSU (Liberty leads, 44-21) (Current Series Streak: Liberty W1)
Last Meeting: Liberty 3, Charleston Southern 2 (April 24, 2016 - Lynchburg, Va.)
Last CSU Win: Charleston Southern 5, Liberty 1 (April 23, 2016 - Lynchburg, Va.)

Charleston Southern (11-18) is returning from a trip to Hawai'i, where the Buccaneers went 2-9. CSU leads the Big South with 34 homers, ranking 15th in NCAA Division I with 1.17 home runs per contest.

Stevi Johnson bats a team-best .309, while Jade Gandara (.265) leads CSU with seven homers and 21 RBI. Amanda Matsumoto (.239) has stolen 14 bases, while Mallory Kasinger has hit seven homers. 2014 Big South Tournament MVP Cheyenne Gandara (3-6) has a team-best 3.31 ERA, followed by Holly Clark (5-4, 3.38), who has tossed two shutouts.

Liberty leads the all-time series, 44-21, although CSU is 10-7 against the Lady Flames since the start of the 2012 season. In three years under Dot Richardson, Liberty is an even 5-5 versus the Buccaneers.

Liberty vs. CSU - 2016 Recap
Liberty won the series against CSU, 2-1, April 23-24, 2016 at LIberty Softball Stadium.

In game one, Julia DiMartino tossed a two-hit shutout, and Deidra See hit a walk-off single in a 1-0 Liberty win.

After CSU evened the series, 5-1, in game two, Liberty took the series finale, 3-2. Rylee Reynolds went 3-for-3 with two doubles and two RBI in the finale.

Alexia Taylor has batted .400 in 25 lifetime at bats against Charleston Southern, while DiMartino is 2-0 with a 0.47 ERA all-time versus the Buccaneers.

Opening Remarks
Liberty is 9-14 all-time in Big South openers. However, the Lady Flames have won their conference opener each of the last two years. On March 18, 2016, Liberty began Big South play with an 11-4 win over Winthrop. Friday will mark the first time in the Lady Flames' 24 years in the Big South that they have faced CSU in their conference opener.

Liberty-CSU Connection
Liberty sophomore first baseman Deidra See and Charleston Southern senior outfielder Stevi Johnson were teammates at El Diamante High School in Visalia, Calif.

With wins over Rhode Island (10-6), North Carolina Central (11-1) and North Carolina A&T (10-0) in its last three games, Liberty has scored 10 or more runs in three straight games for the first time in its Division I history (since 1994). The last time the Lady Flames had three straight double-digit scoring games was April 2-3, 1982.

Liberty has won seven games in run-rule fashion this season, its most run-rule victories since 1999, when the Lady Flames defeated eight opponents through the mercy rule. The program record for run-rule wins in a season is 12, set in 1997.

North Carolina A&T Recap
Liberty raced to a 10-0, five-inning victory over North Carolina A&T on Tuesday. The Lady Flames hit three homers, beginning with a leadoff blast by Autumn Bishop. Deidra See (two-run) and Tori Zavodny (three-run) added homers during a six-run fourth inning.

Chase Cassady struck out nine batters in a four-hit shutout. Over the span of the last two games, including an 11-1 win over North Carolina Central on Saturday, Cassady is 2-0 with 17 strikeouts and a 0.70 ERA.

Zavodny Named Big South Player of the Week
Tori Zavodny received her first career Big South Player of the Week honor on Monday.

She batted .636 with six runs scored, three doubles, one homer and five RBI at the Liberty Softball Classic. She picked up where she left off, going 2-for-3 with a triple, homer and two RBI in a 10-0 win over North Carolina A&T on Tuesday.

Zavodny currently ranks in the top 10 in program history in career stolen bases (5th), triples (t-4th), walks (t-7th) and sacrifice flies (t-10th).

Double the Fun
Liberty hit a season-high seven doubles on Friday against Rhode Island, its most doubles since a program-record eight two-baggers versus North Carolina A&T, March 31, 2003. The Lady Flames got two doubles each from from Tori Zavodny, Amber Bishop and Alexia Taylor.

The very next game, Sarah Robertson tied a program record with three doubles against North Carolina Central. She tied the record last set by Amber Donovan, Feb. 24, 2012 against Savannah State.

Liberty is now ranked 26 in NCAA Division I with 1.6 doubles per game.

Going Deep
Autumn Bishop, two-time Big South Freshman of the Week, hit her first career home run, last Friday against Rhode Island. She tied the program single-game record with two triples, Feb. 12 against Morgan State.

Bishop leads the Big South with 24 runs scored and eight doubles.

RBI Time
The Lady Flames have gotten run production from up and down the lineup, as six players have driven in double-digit runs. Amber Bishop, named Big South Player of the Week after the first weekend of the season, is tied for the team lead with three homers and 18 RBI. Sarah Robertson has also driven in 18 runs, followed by 17 RBI from Autumn Bishop and 14 from Tori Zavodny.

K Zone
The Lady Flames set a program single-season record with 377 strikeouts in 2016.

Chase Cassady averaged 8.05 strikeouts per seven innings, good for 34th in the nation. Julia DiMartino struck out 7.76 batters per game, good for 45th among NCAA Division I pitchers. DiMartino set a career high with 13 Ks against Sacred Heart, March 12, 2016.

This year, Cassady has posted one 10-strikeout game, Saturday against North Carolina State. DiMartino's season high is nine strikeouts, last Thursday versus Saint Francis (Pa.).

Shutting the Door
Chase Cassady has posted two shutouts this season, and three for her career. Kenzie Friesen tossed her third career shutout, a one-hitter, on Feb. 26 against Morgan State.

Julia DiMartino, a 2016 Big South All-Conference first-team selection, posted seven shutouts last year. She leads the team with a 2.48 ERA in 2017. DiMartino set program freshman records in wins (17), strikeouts (187), shutouts (12) and no-hitters (2) in 2016.

Three for Me
Four Lady Flames have recorded a three-hit game so far this season, in Amber Bishop, Autumn Bishop, Sarah Robertson and Alexia Taylor.

Eight current Lady Flames have had a career three-hit game, led by six from Tori Zavodny. Jaclyn Amader has recorded five three-hit games, followed by Taylor (4), Amber Bishop (3), Robertson (3), Rylee Reynolds (2), Autumn Bishop (2) and Deidra See (1).