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Liberty to Open NISC Championship Round with Weber State, Sunday at 7 p.m.

May 19, 2017  Lynchburg, Va.  RSS
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Liberty to Open NISC Championship Round with Weber State, Sunday at 7 p.m.

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NISC Region 6 champion Liberty (41-23) hosts the inaugural 2017 NISC Championship Round, Sunday through Wednesday at Liberty Softball Stadium. The Championship Round begins on Sunday with two games. Cal Poly (37-19) will face Lamar (31-29) at 4 p.m., before the host Lady Flames face Weber State (36-20-1) at 7 p.m. Kennesaw State (39-18) awaits the winner of Liberty-Weber State, while Illinois State (33-22) will play the winner of Cal Poly-Lamar, with both of those games scheduled for Monday.

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
Liberty posted back-to-back shutouts to open play at the 2017 NISC Lynchburg Regional, blanking UNCW, 4-0, before shutting out Ohio, 3-0, in the semifinal. The Lady Flames played their longest home game in program history, falling to Ohio, 1-0, in 12 innings on Thursday. The Lady Flames then edged Ohio, 4-3, to win the title.

Liberty's pitching was electric in the regional round, posting a 0.42 ERA, two shutouts and a .152 opponents batting average. Chase Cassady pitched 14 1/3 scoreless innings on the week, including a career-high 12 strikeouts in a shutout win over UNCW. Kenzie Friesen (2-0, 0.72) and Julia DiMartino (0.78) combined for a shutout of Ohio.

Timely hitting keyed Liberty's offense, led by Autumn Bishop, who went 6-for-13. Kaitlin McFarland continued her hot hitting, batting 5-for-11. McFarland hit her first career homer in a 3-0 win over Ohio on Wednesday. Deidra See went 2-for-3 with a homer and three RBI in the Regional opener against UNCW.

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. Also, the semifinal and final rounds will air live on ESPN3.com.

Quick Hits
- Liberty is 17-7 at Liberty Softball Stadium this year, and 44-24 all-time.

- Liberty placed a program-record four players on NFCA All-Region teams this 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.

- Liberty won the Big South regular-season title, before finishing as tournament runner-up.

Team Notes

- Liberty has set program single-season records in the following categories this year: runs scored (338), hits (511), RBI (285), stolen bases (tied - 93), wins (tied - 41), double-digit scoring games (11) and eight-run-rule victories (tied - 12).

- 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.

- 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 pitching went on a 30 1/3 inning scoreless streak, from the third inning of Sunday's Big South Championship game, into the 12th inning of Liberty's 1-0 loss to Ohio.

- 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 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.

- The Lady Flames' 16 shutouts this season are the second most in program history, and their most since a program-record 20 shutouts in 1999.

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

- The Lady Flames are 17-7 at Liberty Softball Stadium this season, setting a new program record for home wins. The previous record of 16 was set in 1999 and tied in 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 has hit .345 (19-for-55) with the bases loaded, compared to .213 (13-for-61) for the opponents. The Lady Flames hit .336 (187-for-557) with runners in scoring position, while opponents bat .235 (109-for-464) 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, 41-23).

- 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 Championship Round participant Cal Poly on Feb. 19 at the Mary Nutter Classic. Amber Bishop homered off of four-time NFCA All-Region pitcher Sierra Hyland, before the Mustangs rallied to win, 9-2.

Liberty also faced seven teams who qualified for the NCAA Softball Championship, including national seeds Florida (No. 1), UCLA (No. 5), Auburn (No. 7) and Tennessee (No. 8).

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 paced the conference with seven shutouts in league games.