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Lady Flames to Host Liberty Softball Classic, Thursday through Sunday

March 7, 2018  Lynchburg, Va.  RSS
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Lady Flames to Host Liberty Softball Classic, Thursday through Sunday

Complete Game Notes

Liberty (14-5) returns to host the 2018 Liberty Softball Classic, held Thursday through Sunday at Liberty Softball Stadium. The Lady Flames will take on 2017 Women's College World Series participant, No. 12/12 Baylor (12-3) and 2017 NISC Regional finalist Ohio (9-6) twice apiece this weekend, along with a game against Delaware (3-10).

The Lady Flames posted a 4-1 record at the Carolina Classic, hosted Friday through Sunday by No. 20/21 South Carolina. Liberty defeated 2017 NCAA Regional participantMarshall and George Washington twice each, falling to the Gamecocks in their lone matchup. While in Columbia, Madison Via hit her first career homer against Marshall, while Elizabeth Engler tossed her first career shutout versus George Washington.

Tournament Schedule
Thursday, March 8

Game 1 - Liberty vs. Baylor - 3 p.m. | Live Stats | Live Audio | Live Video

Friday, March 9
Game 2 - Ohio vs. Baylor - 10 a.m. | Live Stats
Game 3 - Baylor vs. Delaware - Noon | Live Stats
Game 4 - Liberty vs. Ohio - 2 p.m. | Live Stats | Live Video
Game 5 - Liberty vs. Delaware - 4 p.m. | Live Stats | Live Audio | Live Video

Saturday, March 10
Game 6 - Delaware vs. Baylor - 10 a.m. | Live Stats
Game 7 - Liberty vs. Baylor - 12:30 p.m. | Live Stats | Live Video
Game 8 - Ohio vs. Delaware - 2:30 p.m. | Live Stats
Game 9 - Liberty vs. Ohio - 4:30 p.m. | Live Stats | Live Audio | Live Video

Sunday, March 11
Game 10 - Ohio vs. Delaware - Noon | Live Stats
Led by 2017 Big South Coach of the Year Dot Richardson, the defending NISC champion Lady Flames have excelled all around this year. Liberty bats .281 as a team, averaging 4.4 runs and 2.0 steals per game. The Lady flames hold a 2.66 team ERA, tossing five shutouts. Liberty also leads the league with a .976 fielding percentage.

Junior Julia DiMartino, reigning Big South Pitcher of the Year, is 8-3 with a 2.39 ERA, 70 strikeouts, three shutouts, three saves and a .190 opponents batting average in 67 1/3 innings. Chase Cassady holds a 4-2 record with a 2.94 ERA and one shutout.

Tori Zavodny bats .362 with a team-leading four triples and seven steals, while Taylor Hoffman hits .349. Sarah Robertson bats .333 and is tied for the team lead with seven doubles. Autumn Bishop hits .318 with a team-best 16 runs scored, while Amber Bishop (.292) leads in RBI (14) and home runs (2) and is tied for the lead in doubles (7).

Quick Hits
- Liberty, hosting its first Top 25 team since May 1, 2007 vs. No. 17 Virginia Tech, is looking for its first win over a nationally-ranked opponent since March 24, 2007 (No. 6 Michigan).

- The Lady Flames lead the Big South in seven statistical categories.

- Liberty was picked to finish second in the Big South preseason poll. Julia DiMartino is Preseason Pitcher of the Year, and Amber Bishop is Preseason Player of the Year.

- Liberty had a program-record four players named to the NFCA All-Region team in 2017.

- Amber Bishop recorded her 100th career hit last Friday at No. 20/21 South Carolina.

Top 25 Challenge
The Liberty softball team has competed against top 25 teams 61 times in program history, posting a 6-55 record versus nationally-ranked opponents.

Liberty has five games scheduled against teams that are currently ranked in the top 25. The Lady Flames fell to No. 3/4 UCLA and No. 17/15 Arizona State at the Mary Nutter Classic before falling to No. 20/21 South Carolina last Friday night.

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.

Liberty has played four home games all-time against ranked opponents, falling twice each to No. 5 Tennessee on March 22, 2005 and No. 17 Virginia Tech, May 1, 2007. Both opponents had All-American pitchers, as Monica Abbott (Tennessee) and Angela Tincher (Virginia Tech) both pitched in their respective doubleheaders in Lynchburg,

Welcome Back
Liberty and Ohio met three times at the 2017 NISC Region 6 tournament at Liberty Softball Stadium. The Lady Flames took the first game, 3-0, on May 17, before the Bobcats edged Liberty, 1-0, in 12 innings behind a five-hit shutout from Savannah Jo Dorsey, the following day. Liberty then captured the Regional title, 4-3, in the "if necessary" game later on May 18.

Former Liberty shortstop Sammi Shivock returns to Liberty as a member of the Delaware coaching staff. A 2013 NFCA All-Region selection, Shivock is tied for fifth in program history in career runs scored (114), sixth in home runs (26) and ninth in RBI (109).

Winningest Month
Liberty went 11-4 in May 2017, the most wins in the month of May in program history. Then, to start this season, Liberty's 10 wins in February are the most February victories in program history. The most wins in any month in program history was 28, when Liberty went 28-9 in March 1996.


Shutting the DoorThe Lady Flames shut out their first three opponents this year, Fairleigh Dickinson, Morgan State and Chattanooga, tying the team's longest shutout streak (1995) to start a season.


Julia DiMartino has tossed two one-hitters (vs. FDU, Feb. 9, vs. Delaware State, Feb. 16) and one two-hitter (vs. Chattanooga, Feb. 10) in her seven starts so far, and added a six-out save against Toledo. Chase Cassady pitched a three-hitter against Morgan State on Feb. 9, while Elizabeth Engler tossed her first career shutout, a three-hitter, versus George Washington on Sunday. This is the fourth straight year that three different Liberty pitchers have tossed at least one shutout.

Liberty has twice overcome seventh-inning deficits to win games this year, coming in back-to-back games.

On Feb. 16 against Central Michigan, Amber Bishop tied the game at 3-all with a seventh-inning solo homer, before Tori Zavodny's go-ahead triple in the ninth won it, 4-3.

The Lady Flames erased one-run deficits in the seventh and eighth against North Carolina before winning, 3-2, on an overthrow when Jaclyn Amader stole third in the ninth on Feb. 22.

The Lady Flames won a third decision in their final at bat, scoring four times in the bottom of the sixth to defeat Marshall, on Sunday. Amader came through with a game-winning three-run triple against the Thundering Herd.

100 Club
Liberty senior Alexia Taylor and junior Sarah Robertson were the fourth and fifth Lady Flames all-time to reach the 100-hit plateau as sophomores. Sophomore Amber Bishop joined them in the 100 hit club, earning her 100th hit, a double, at No. 20/21 South Carolina last Friday. Bishop's sister, Autumn, should be the next Liberty sophomore to reach 100 career hits, as she currently has 80 hits.

Sarah Robertson led the Lady Flames with 16 doubles last season, including a program-record-tying three doubles against NC Central on March 11.

Robertson and Amber Bishop are tied for the team lead with seven doubles each in 2018, a total that ranked in the top 30 nationally entering the week.

DiMartino Dominant Early
Julia DiMartino was named Big South Pitcher of the Week on Feb. 12. She is the first player in program history to be named Big South Pitcher of the Week as a freshman, sophomore and junior.

She is 8-3 with a 2.39 ERA, three shutouts and three saves. She needs one more save to tie Sarah Ellis' (2007 and 2008) program single-season record for saves.

First Things First
For the second year in a row, a Liberty freshman hit 2-for-3 in her first career game. In last year's season opener, Amber Bishop went 2-for-3 with a double versus Chattanooga. On Feb. 9 against Fairleigh Dickinson, freshman Madison Via batted 2-for-3.

On Feb. 10 against Toledo, freshman Emily Kirby earned the win in relief, her first collegiate appearance. Teammate Elizabeth Engler won in her first two collegiate pitching appearances in 2017. Kirby became the first Liberty lefthanded pitcher to throw a pitch in a game since Dana Wheeler against Coastal Carolina, April 12, 2008.

Triple the Fun
So far this season, Liberty averages 0.58 triples per game, good for fifth in the nation.

Tori Zavodny is tied for fourth nationally with four triples, while Jaclyn Amader is tied for ninth with three triples.

Sister Act
The Bishop twins, Amber and Autumn, played a major role for the Lady Flames as freshmen last year. Both were voted Big South Freshman of the Week three times each.

Amber set nine program freshman records and was named Big South and VaSID All-State Freshman of the Year, as well as a top 25 finalist for the NFCA National Freshman of the Year.

Autumn was an NFCA All-Region first team utility player, batting .381 with a .473 on-base percentage. She has started the 2018 season on a tear, hitting .318 with a team-best 16 runs scored.

Player Quick Hits
- Amber Bishop is the only player in Liberty Softball Stadium history to hit two homers in the same game, going deep twice against All-American pitcher Sierra Hyland of Cal Poly, May 22, 2017.

- Autumn Bishop recorded a 15-game hitting streak which ended last Saturday against Arizona State. It is tied for the fifth longest hitting streak in program history and is the longest by a Lady Flame since Katie Zavodny's program-record-tying 23-game hitting streak in 2013.

- Tori Zavodny led Liberty with a .412 batting average at the Carolina Classic last weekend, raising her season average to a team-best .362. She leads the team in seven offensive categories.

- Sarah Robertson (.333) has been consistent all season. She batted .333 after two weeks, before going 4-for-12 (.333) at both the Mary Nutter Classic and at last week's Carolina Classic.

- After batting .315 as a freshman in 2016, Jaclyn Amader slipped to .204 last season. She has bounced back so far this year, batting .271 with two doubles, three triples, one homer and 10 RBI.

- Madison Via hit her first career home run last Friday against Marshall, at the same stadium (Carolina Softball Stadium) where current Liberty senior Alexia Taylor hit her first career homer in 2015.

- Taylor Hoffman is batting .349 this season and recorded her first career three-hit game, last Sunday against George Washington.

- Kaitlin McFarland earned her first career individual honor, being named to the 2017 Big South All-Tournament team.  She leads the team with nine walks in 2018.

- Deidra See has made the first five catching starts of her career this season. She has thrown out 50 percent of would-be basestealers (3-of-6) this year.

- Alexia Taylor batted .391 with 19 RBI in conference play last season. Her 12-game hitting streak in April was the second longest by a Lady Flame in 2017.

- Jasmeen Click and Rylee Reynolds have both appeared on SportsCenter's Top 10 plays once during their respective careers.

- Rylee Reynolds made her first collegiate pitching appearance on Feb. 11 against Detroit Mercy, getting a game-ending double play in the seventh. A junior, she is a career .272 hitter in 80 games.