Liberty scored twice in the bottom of the fifth and then held off the visiting Lancers for a 2-1 win in both teams' regular-season finale, Saturday at Kamphuis Field at Liberty Softball Stadium.
Liberty finishes its regular season at 36-18, downing longtime Commonwealth rival Longwood (34-19).
Liberty (2017-18) and Longwood (2015-16, 19) have combined to win each of the last five Big South regular-season championships. The Lady Flames are in their first season in the ASUN Conference.
Scoring Summary LIBERTY – 5th INNING – Autumn Bishop singles to center, McFarland and Via score, 2-0
LONGWOOD – 6th INNING – Donovan doubles to center (ground-rule), Clark scores, 2-1
Notable Numbers - Liberty outhit Longwood 6-5 on the game, with the Lancers registering one error. Both teams left five runners on base.
- Chase Cassady (13-2) earned the win, allowing just two hits while striking out six and walking one in five innings pitched. Julia DiMartino picked up her sixth save of the year, yielding one run on three hits in two innings of relief. She struck out one
- Longwood reliever Sydney Backstrom (17-10) drew the loss, giving up two runs on two hits, with three strikeouts and one walk in two innings. Lancers starter Sydney Gay pitched four scoreless innings, allowing four hits, walking one and fanning one.
- Autumn Bishop went 3-for-3 for Liberty, driving in two runs. Jaclyn Amader, Kaitlin McFarland and Madison Via all had singles, while McFarland and Via scored one run each.
- Longwood's Jordan Clark extended her hitting streak to 19 games with a sixth-inning double, while Karleigh Donovan and Jenna Smith added doubles.
Turning Point - Liberty broke a scoreless tie in the fifth. Facing reliever Backstrom, Via was hit by a pitch with one out. McFarland then lined a single to right. After both runners advanced on a passed ball, Autumn Bishop hit a two-run single to center, making it 2-0.
- Holding a 2-0 lead, Liberty turned to DiMartino to pitch the sixth and seventh innings. Doubles by Clark and Donovan produced a run for the Lancers in the sixth, but DiMartino worked out of the jam before pitching a scoreless seventh to complete the six-out save.
Beyond the Box Score - Liberty is now 4-11 in one-run games this season, and 10-1 in games decided by exactly two runs.
- Liberty is now 21-2 at home this season, outscoring opponents 130-27 at Liberty Softball Stadium. The Lady Flames have gone 44-5 at home during the last two seasons.
- The Lady Flames have now won their regular-season finale five times out of the last six years.
- DiMartino tied her own (2018) single-season program record with her sixth save of the year, and she is the program's career record holder in saves with 15.
- Cassady is now tied for 10th in program history (Ali Thompson, 2001-03) with 76 career pitching starts.
Up Next Liberty has concluded the regular season. The Lady Flames will be the No. 2 seed for the 2019 ASUN Softball Championship, hosted Wednesday through Saturday at FGCU Softball Complex in Fort Myers, Fla. Seeding will be announced tomorrow afternoon after the conclusion of the conference's regular-season schedule.
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