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Lady Flames to Open NISC Regional Play, Tuesday Against UNCW

May 15, 2017  Lynchburg, Va.  RSS
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Lady Flames to Open NISC Regional Play, Tuesday Against UNCW

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Complete Game Notes

Big South regular-season champion Liberty (38-22) hosts a five-team regional at the inaugural, 2017 National Invitational Softball Championship, Tuesday through Thursday at Kamphuis Field at Liberty Softball Stadium. The Lady Flames will open play on Tuesday at 7 p.m. against CAA team UNCW (33-18-1). Also competing in the Lynchburg Regional are Big South at-large selection Campbell (29-27) and automatic qualifiers Iona (26-22) and Ohio (39-16).

Liberty is making its third-ever postseason appearance, as the Lady Flames played in the NCAA Softball Championship in both 2002 and 2011.

Lady Flames at a Glance
Top-seeded Liberty went 3-2 at the Big South Softball Championship, falling to host, No. 3 seed Longwood, 4-2, in the championship game on Sunday. The Lady Flames played three games on Saturday, winning two elimination games to make it to Sunday's winner-take-all final.  Liberty set a program conference tournament record by scoring 35 runs last week, averaging seven runs per game.

Freshman Amber Bishop, the 2017 Big South Softball Freshman of the Year, was named to the Big South Softball All-Tournament team after batting .471 with three homers and seven RBI. Alexia Taylor, a two-time all-conference third baseman, made the All-Tournament team by batting .353 with two doubles and five RBI. Kaitlin McFarland earned All-Tournament honors with a .444 average, two doubles and four RBI.

Julia DiMartino (19-9), the 2017 Big South Pitcher of the Year, went 2-0 with a 3.15 ERA at the conference tournament, while Chase Cassady (5-7) posted a 1-0 record and 0.72 ERA on the weekend. Liberty's pitching staff also features 2017 Big South Scholar-Athlete of the Year Kenzie Friesen.

How to Follow the Lady Flames
Fans can follow all of Liberty's NISC Regional games through StatBroadcast live stats, provided by Liberty. Each Lady Flames contest will also be broadcast on 90.9 FM The Light, with Jamie Hall calling the action.

Quick Hits
- Liberty is 0-4 all-time in postseason play, falling twice at NCAA's in 2002 and 2011.

- Amber Bishop was named a Top 25 finalist for NFCA National Freshman of the Year.

- Dot Richardson (Coach of the Year), Julia DiMartino (Pitcher of the Year), Amber Bishop (Freshman of the Year) and Kenzie Friesen (Scholar-Athlete of the Year) all received major postseason awards from the Big South Conference, last Tuesday.

Team Notes
- Each of Liberty's last five wins have been of the comeback variety.

- Liberty trailed Longwood, 6-0, entering the bottom of the sixth, on April 26, before tying the score with a six-run sixth and getting a game-winning RBI single from Jasmeen Click in the seventh. It was Liberty's largest deficit overcome in a win since trailing ETSU, 12-2, in the fourth inning and coming back to win, 14-13, March 5, 2012. It was also Liberty's fifth walk-off win in Liberty Softball Stadium, and second this season.

- The Lady Flames started off the season at 5-0 for the first time since 2006, and tied a program record by winning their first five conference games in a row.

- Liberty posted a 16-5 record during the month of April, outscoring opponents, 120-32.

- 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 12 opponents by the eight-run rule this season, tying the 1997 Lady Flames for most run-rule victories in single season in program history.

- 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 tied the 2016 team for the most conference wins in program history.

- Liberty's 38 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 11 double-digit scoring games in 2017.

- Liberty has set a new program record, scoring 327 runs this year. The previous record of 300 was set in 2010.

- Liberty went on a program-record 13-game winning streak, from April 2 through 18. That streak, which included three wins over both Presbyterian and Gardner-Webb, two each over Campbell, Hampton and Virginia, and one victory over Virginia Tech, saw Liberty outscore opponents, 80-6, while tossing nine shutouts. The previous program record, a 12-game winning streak, was set from March 10-21, 2010.

- The Lady Flames went 5-1 against ACC opponents, defeating NC State, Syracuse, Virginia (twice) and going 1-1 versus Virginia Tech.

- On Feb. 25, Liberty led Florida, 1-0, in the bottom of the ninth, before the Gators rallied to win, 2-1, in 10 innings. That game saw the Lady Flames hold Florida hitless through the first six innings.

- Liberty is 7-2 against left-handed starting pitchers this season, batting .315 (81-for-257) against southpaws.

- Liberty has hit .333 (18-for-54) with the bases loaded, compared to .213 (13-for-61) for the opponents. The Lady Flames hit .338 (178-for-527) with runners in scoring position, while opponents bat .241 (107-for-444) in the same situation.

- Liberty has increased its win total every year under fourth-year Head Coach Dot Richardson (11-46, 29-30, 31-28, 38-22).

- LU leads the Big South in 11 offensive categories in addition to shutouts and wins.

- Liberty hit a season-high seven doubles, March 10 against Rhode Island, its most since hitting a program-record eight doubles versus North Carolina A&T, March 31, 2003.

Liberty vs. 2017 NISC Tournament Field
Liberty went 2-1 against Campbell, April 1-2 at Amanda Littlejohn Stadium. The Camels scored a walk-off, 5-4 victory on April 1 before Liberty won the next two, 11-1 and 4-3. In the finale, Amber Bishop hit a go-ahead, two-out, two run homer in the seventh.

The Lady Flames also faced NISC participant Cal Poly on Feb. 19 at the Mary Nutter Classic. Amber Bishop homered off of three-time NFCA All-Region pitcher Sierra Hyland, before the Mustangs rallied to win, 9-2.

Conference Regular-Season Champs
Liberty earned its fourth ever Big South regular-season softball title, and second outright. The Lady Flames also won the Big South regular-season championship in 1999 (tied with East Carolina), 2000 and 2007 (tied with Winthrop).

In conference play, Liberty led the Big South with a .326 batting average and 33 steals. The Lady Flames' staff paces the conference with seven shutouts in league games.