Complete Game Notes Due to inclement weather in the forecast, this week's series has shifted. Liberty and Longwood will play a single game, tomorrow at 6 p.m. On Wednesday, the two teams will contest a doubleheader, with the first game beginning at 5 p.m. All three games will be played at Liberty Softball Stadium. Big South-leading Liberty (34-18, 15-3 Big South) wraps up its regular-season schedule with three games against third-place Longwood (19-25, 8-7), Tuesday and Wednesday at Kamphuis Field at Liberty Softball Stadium. Liberty is nearing its fourth Big South regular-season title, and first since 2007.
Two-time defending Big South tournament champion Longwood was picked first, and Liberty second in the Big South preseason coaches' poll.
Lady Flames at a Glance Liberty earned a 2-1 series win at Winthrop on the weekend, capped by a 4-3 win on Saturday in which the team rallied for two runs in the seventh. The Lady Flames are 3-1 in Big South games in which they trail entering the seventh inning. Liberty leads the Big South in both batting average (.316) and ERA (2.73).
Tori Zavodny leads the Big South with a .409 batting average. Autumn Bishop, who returned to the lineup last Friday, follows at .406. Amber Bishop (.380) has set new program freshman records with 10 homers and 50 RBI. Sarah Robertson (.351) has recorded 13 doubles and 40 RBI, while Alexia Taylor bats .344. Jasmeen Click (.333) leads the team with 21 stolen bases, while also appearing on SportsCenter's Top 10 Plays last week.
Julia DiMartino (16-8) leads the Big South in ERA (1.84), shutouts (7) and strikeouts (140), and has pitched a shutout in six out of her last eight starts. DiMartino pitched 48 straight scoreless innings, from April 4-18. Kenzie Friesen is 11-1 with a 1.96 ERA and three shutouts. Chase Cassady (4-7, 4.49 ERA) has pitched two shutouts this year.
How to Follow the Lady Flames Fans can follow all three games this week through live stats. Both days' games 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. They will also air on radio on 90.9 FM The Light, with Joe Mixie serving as play-by-play announcer.
Quick Hits - Liberty has won seven straight Big South series, dating to the 2016 season.
- Amber Bishop was named a Top 25 finalist for NFCA National Freshman of the Year.
- Julia DiMartino was tabbed Big South Co-Pitcher of the Week on Monday, while Amber Bishop was tabbed Big South Freshman of the Week.
- Liberty leads the Big South and ranks 20th in the nation with a .316 batting average.
- This is the first time since 2007 that two Lady Flames have posted 40+ RBI.
- Autumn Bishop has a hit in each of her last eight games played. Liberty vs. Longwood (Longwood leads, 33-15) Series Streak: (Longwood W2) Last Meeting: Longwood 6, Liberty 3 (4/6/16 - Farmville, Va.) Last Liberty Win: Liberty 2, Longwood 1 (4/5/16 - Farmville, Va.) Last Liberty Win in Lynchburg: Liberty 14, Longwood 6 (May 5, 2012)
Two-time defending Big South champion Longwood (19-25, 8-7 Big South) is 7-2 in its last nine Big South games. The Lancers (2.74 ERA) are second in the Big South to Liberty in ERA, while their .230 batting average is last in the conference. Jordan Clark leads the team with a .306 batting average. Sydney Gay (11-12, 2.32 ERA) and two-time Big South Pitcher of the Year Elizabeth McCarthy (7-8, 2.84) share the load in the circle.
Longwood holds a 33-15 all-time lead against Liberty in softball. Longwood has won eight out of the last nine meetings. Liberty's last home win over Longwood was May 5, 2012, a 14-6 Lady Flames win. The Lancers have won each of the last five meetings in Lynchburg, including a three-game sweep at Liberty Softball Stadium in 2015.
Liberty vs. Longwood - 2016 Recap (Longwood won, 2-1) Liberty took game one at Longwood, 2-1, on April 5, getting a two-run single from Alexia Taylor in the fifth and a six-hit pitching effort from Julia DiMartino.
Sydney Gay then tossed a one-hitter in a 3-1 Longwood win in the nightcap.
Liberty led game three, 3-0, heading into the bottom of the seventh, before Emily Murphy capped a six-run rally with a walk-off, three-run homer for a 6-3 win.
Alexia Taylor has batted 6-for-16 (.375) with four runs scored in six games played against Longwood.
Team Notes - Liberty has posted a 15-3 record during the month of April, outscoring opponents, 111-21 this month. - Liberty tossed six straight shutouts, from April 7-14, and also held opponents scoreless for 44 straight innings. Both streaks set new program records. - Liberty Head Coach Dot Richardson earned her 100th career victory, April 11 at Gardner-Webb. She is the third Liberty softball head coach with 100 wins, and first since Paul Wetmore (1994-2013). Wetmore earned his 100th career win on April 18, 1997. - Liberty has defeated 11 opponents by the eight-run rule this season. The program record for run-rule victories is 12, set in 1997. - The Lady Flames' 14 shutouts this season are their most since a program-record 20 shutouts in 1999, and tied with the 1997 Liberty team for second most in program history. - Liberty needs one more Big South win to tie last year's program-record total of 16 conference victories. - Liberty's 34 wins are its most since going 39-18 in 2010. The program record for single-season wins is 41, set in 1999 (41-25) and 2006 (41-23). - The Lady Flames have set a program record with 10 double-digit scoring games in 2017. - With 283 runs scored this year, Liberty is 17 runs shy of the program record, set in 2010.
Big-South Leading Liberty (15-3) leads second-place Campbell (13-5) by two games with three games left in the regular season. The Lady Flames have won the Big South regular-season title three times, in 1999 (tied with East Carolina), 2000 and 2007 (tied with Winthrop)
The Lady Flames lead the conference in 11 different team statistical categories.
Amber Bishop leads the Big South in hits (63) and is tied for the conference lead in RBI (50). Deidra See is tied for the Big South lead with four sacrifice flies. Julia DiMartino leads the Big South in ERA (1.84), shutouts (7) and strikeouts (140).
Big Day for Clutch Hits Sarah Robertson went 2-for-3 with a homer and a career-high five RBI in an 8-0 win over Winthrop on Saturday. Then, with two outs in the top of the seventh and Liberty trailing, 3-2, Robertson hit a game-tying RBI single. Liberty went on to win, 4-3.
Amber Bishop leads the team with 50 RBI, followed by Robertson's 40. The last time two Lady Flames had 40+ RBI in the same season was 2007, when Jessica Moore had 54 RBI and Dawn Jeffs drove in 47 runs.
Amber Bishop Named a Top 25 Finalist for NFCA National Freshman of the Year Infielder Amber Bishop was named a Top 25 finalist for the Schutt Sports/NFCA National Freshman of the Year. The Top 10 finalists will be revealed on May 11, with the field narrowed to three on May 24. The National Freshman of the Year will be released May 30.
She ranks 17th nationally, and fourth among all NCAA Division I freshmen, in RBI. Her 63 hits rank 15th overall in the nation, and second among Division I freshmen.
Season highlights include a two-homer, six RBI game at Charleston Southern, on March 17 and a two-out, game-winning home run at Campbell on April 2.
More Weekly Honors Julia DiMartino was named Big South Co-Pitcher of the Week on Monday, her second Pitcher of the Week honor this season. Fellow Liberty pitchers Elizabeth Engler and Kenzie Friesen were honored earlier this season.
Amber Bishop was tabbed Big South Freshman of the Week on Monday, her third Freshman of the Week honor of the season. Taylor Hoffman and Autumn Bishop (twice) were also Freshman of the Week honorees this year.
Amber Bishop, Alexia Taylor and Tori Zavodny have all received Big South Player of the Week honors in 2017, giving Liberty eight different weekly honorees this season.
Cue the Theme Music With two runners on and two outs and Liberty trailing Virginia Tech, 3-2, in the top of the seventh on Tuesday, Liberty's Jasmeen Click robbed the Hokies of extra bases with a sensational diving catch. Her catch was featured on ESPN's SportsCenter Top 10 Plays.
On a Tear/100 Club Alexia Taylor saw her 12-game hitting streak snapped last Friday at Winthrop. Her hitting streak is Liberty's second-longest this season, as Sarah Robertson went on a 13-game hitting streak, March 4-25.
Also, Taylor became Liberty's fourth player in program history to reach 100 career hits as a sophomore last year. Robertson, a sophomore, reached the 100-hit mark on April 11 against Virginia.
No Runs Allowed Julia DiMartino pitched 48 straight scoreless innings, going over two weeks without allowing a single run. Starting on April 4, DiMartino is 9-2 with a 0.43 ERA, tossing six shutouts and 62 strikeouts in 64 2/3 innings pitched, holding opponents to a .191 average.
Kenzie Friesen went 23 innings without allowing a run, from April 4-15. In the month of April, Friesen is 6-0 with a 0.83 ERA and two shutouts in 42 innings pitched.
Stingy in Conference Play Kenzie Friesen is 5-0 with a 0.88 ERA in Big South play this year, while Julia DiMartino is 10-2 with a 1.46 ERA and three shutouts in conference games.
For her career, DiMartino is 22-6 with a 1.87 ERA all-time in Big South play.
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