Complete Game Notes Liberty (16-9) opens its first season in the ASUN Conference this weekend, traveling to face defending ASUN champion Kennesaw State (15-13), Friday and Saturday. The Lady Flames won the 2018 Big South title, while the Owls won the ASUN title in 2018. Liberty was voted the preseason favorite in the ASUN, while KSU was voted third. The schedule has been altered. Liberty's ASUN opening series at Kennesaw State will begin with a single game, Friday at 5 p.m. The two teams will play a doubleheader beginning at noon on Saturday. Game 1 - March 15, 2019 - 5 p.m. - Live Stats Game 2 - March 16, 2019 - Noon - Live Stats Game 3 - March 16, 2019 - 2:30 p.m. - Live Stats
These two teams split a doubleheader in Kennesaw, Ga., last year, with KSU winning game one 8-0 and the Lady Flames taking game two by a 7-1 score. Liberty knocked off the Owls, 13-5, in the semifinal of the 2017 NISC Championship Round in Lynchburg.
The Lady Flames downed Pitt on Wednesday, running their home winning streak to 28 games.
Liberty went 2-3 at the Louisville Slugger Invitational last weekend in Southern California. The Lady Flames shut out both San Diego State and Boston University and nearly knocked off No. 2 UCLA before falling 4-3 on Saturday.
Both Liberty (11 games) and KSU (10 games) have had lengthy winning streaks snapped within the last week. Liberty also posted nine straight shutouts and did not allow a single run in 60 consecutive innings, Feb. 21-March 8.
So far this season, Liberty has tossed 10 shutouts. Liberty has tossed two no-hitters, including a perfect game from Julia DiMartino and a four-pitcher no-hitter versus Quinnipiac. Liberty's top win so far this season came on Feb. 15, when the Lady Flames downed then No. 19 Texas A&M, 4-2.
Liberty returns eight all-conference players from last year's team, led by two-time Big South Pitcher of the Year Julia DiMartino, 2019 ASUN Preseason Player of the Year Autumn Bishop and Amber Bishop. All three were named to the NFCA All-Region team each of the last two years. Autumn Bishop was named to the 2019 USA Softball Collegiate Player of the Year Top 50 Watch List.
DiMartino was named ASUN Pitcher of the Week on Monday, for the third time in the last four weeks. She went 3-1 with a 0.53 ERA, two shutouts and 29 strikeouts last week.
DiMartino, a two-time NFCA All-Region pitcher, is 9-4 with a 1.01 ERA, .148 opponents batting average and three shutouts. Freshman Braelyn Cooper has posted a 1.15 ERA in six appearances, while Chase Cassady is 4-1 with a 1.87 ERA and 7.8 strikeouts per seven innings.
Autumn Bishop leads the team with a .375 batting average and is second in the ASUN with a .517 on base percentage. Her twin sister, Amber Bishop (.373) is the team leader in runs (18), doubles (7), homers (6) and RBI (14). Sarah Robertson hits .338, while Madison Via (.317) is second on the team with 16 runs scored. Alexis Erich bats .311 with six doubles, while Kara Canetto (.288) is second on the team with 13 RBI.
Quick Hits - Liberty is 11-14 all-time in conference openers, winning its last four Big South openers.
- Julia DiMartino has appeared in more games (148) than any active NCAA Division I pitcher.
- Liberty is 14-0 when scoring first this season, and 2-9 when its opponent scores first.
- Amber Bishop needs one more double to become the third active Liberty player with 40 or more career doubles, joining Sarah Robertson (44) and Autumn Bishop (41).
- Emily Sweat (McDonough) and Kara Canetto (Sylvania) will get to visit their home state of Georgia.
- Autumn Bishop has reached base safely in each of Liberty's last 15 games.