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Liberty Travels to Winthrop for Final Regular-Season Conference Series

April 23, 2015  Lynchburg, Va.  RSS
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Liberty Travels to Winthrop for Final Regular-Season Conference Series

Complete Game Notes

The Liberty softball team travels to Rock Hill, S.C., to close out its regular-season Big South slate at Winthrop, Friday and Saturday. These two teams are separated by just half of a game in the conference standings, with both playing some of their best softball lately. Liberty (27-25, 12-9), winner of five out of its last six games overall, has won six Big South series this season. The Eagles (22-23, 11-9) have gone 6-1 in their last seven games, all conference tilts.

Winthrop leads the all-time series, 33-29, winning five out of the last six meetings.

Lady Flames at a Glance
Liberty has gone 3-1 so far in what will be a seven-game week. The Lady Flames defeated Hampton (5-4 (9), 5-2) twice on Tuesday before splitting a doubleheader with Virginia on Wednesday. The team posted a season-high five-game winning streak before falling to the Cavaliers, 4-2 in game two on Wednedsay.

Alexia Taylor hits .343 with 10 doubles to lead the Lady Flames. Megan Robinson hits .327, while Kelby Allen (.323) has hit 10 doubles and driven in 26 runs. Tori Zavodny (.304) has launched a team-best seven homers, while Blair Lawrence leads with 23 stolen bases. Chandler Ball (19-8, 3.14 ERA) leads the Big South in victories, while throwing four shutouts this season. Kenzie Friesen (6-11, 3.82) has fashioned two shutouts, while Abby Tincher (2-6) has one shutout to her credit.

How to Follow the Lady Flames
Fans can follow all three games of the Liberty-Winthrop series through live stats and live video. Live stats will be provided courtesy of Winthrop Media Relations. All three games will be available for online viewing, free of charge, through the Big South Network.

Quick Hits
- Liberty has gone 5-1 its last six games, 6-2 in last eight and 7-3 in last 10.
- The Lady Flames have won six out of seven conference series so far this season.
- Liberty won back-to-back extra-inning games, against Coastal Carolina and Hampton.
- Chandler Ball (19-8) ranks fourth all-time at Liberty in single-season wins.
- Abby Tincher shut out Virginia Tech last Thursday, tossing a two-hitter.
- 10 different Lady Flames have registered at least one three-hit game this season.
- Alexia Taylor's 19 multiple-hit games this year are the most by a Lady Flame since 2007.
- Kelby Allen needs three more hits for 200 for her career.
- Blair Lawrence has posted back-to-back seasons with 20 or more stolen bases.
- In the last 10 games, Katie Han has batted .408 with five doubles and six RBI.

Liberty vs. Winthrop (Winthrop leads, 33-29) Current Series Streak: Winthrop W1
Last Meeting: Winthrop 9, Liberty 4 (April 19, 2014 - Lynchburg, Va.)
Last Liberty Win: Liberty 10, Winthrop 3 (April 18, 2014 - Lynchburg, Va.)
Last Liberty Win at Winthrop: Liberty 3, Winthrop 0 (May 13, 2011 - BSC Tournament)

Winthrop (22-23, 11-9 Big South) has gone 6-1 in its last seven Big South games after starting the conference season at 5-8. Maddie Antone leads the Eagles with a .374 batting average and 38 runs scored, also driving in 28. Paige Haley bats .299, while Kelsey Ritter (.276) paces the team with 10 doubles, eight homers and 32 RBI. Leah Young has stolen a team-high 16 bases. Dallas King is 5-9 with a 3.27 ERA, while Sutton Watson (6-6, 3.76) and Sara Allen (10-8, 4.16) also see time in the circle.

Winthrop leads the all-time series against Liberty, 33-29, winning five out of the last six meetings. Liberty picked up a key win over Winthrop on its way to the 2011 Big South Softball Championship title, as Tiffani Smith pitched a no-hitter to eliminate the Eagles in a 3-0 blanking, May 13, 2011. Each of Liberty's two Big South Championship titles, in 2002 and 2011, has been won at Winthrop's Terry Field.

Liberty vs. Winthrop - 2014 Recap
Winthrop went 2-1 in a series at Liberty, April 18-19, 2014 at Liberty Softball Field.

In game one on April 18, Sara Allen threw a two-hit shutout and Naomi Stevens hit two homers as Winthrop won, 11-0.

The Lady Flames then won game two, 10-3, pounding out a season-high 16 hits. Liberty got three hits each from Katie Zavodny, Megan Robinson and Katie Han.

Winthrop won the series finale, rallying from a 4-2 deficit to win, 9-4. Me Andrea hit a grand slam for the Eagles, while Zavodny had two hits and tied her career high with three stolen bases.

Liberty batted .338 as a team against Winthrop last year, also going 10-for-10 on stolen bases. Han batted 4-for-6, while Zavodny and Robinson both went 5-for-10.

Season Trends
Liberty is 19-4 when allowing six or fewer hits and 8-22 when opponents record seven or more hits. The team is 26-11 when its starting pitcher throws five or more innings and 1-14 when the starter does not last five innings. The Lady Flames have gone 17-1 when holding opponents to two runs or less and 10-24 when allowing three or more runs.

10 Conference Wins
At 12-9, Liberty has clinched double-digit conference victories for the seventh time in program history, and the first since the Lady Flames went 11-7 in Big South play in 2011. The program record for Big South victories is 13, when the 2010 Lady Flames went 13-5.

High Drama
The Lady Flames posted back-to-back extra-inning victories, downing Coastal Carolina, 5-4, in 10 innings on Saturday before besting Hampton, 5-4 in nine frames on Tuesday. The last time Liberty had played back-to-back extra-inning contests was April 3, 2010 vs. Winthrop (W, 3-2 in eight innings) and April 7, 2010 vs. UNCG (L, 11-10 in nine).

Lady Flames Split with Virginia
Liberty ran its winning streak to a season-high five games with a 3-2 win over Virginia on Wednesday, before falling, 4-2 in the nightcap. The last time the Lady Flames won five games in a row was Feb. 11 through Feb. 25, 2012.

Blair Lawrence, Kelby Allen and Katie Han all went 2-for-4 during the first game, while Lawrence scored the winning run on a passed ball in the bottom of the sixth. Chandler Ball earned the win, boosting her record to a Big South-best 19-8.

Ball is one win away from becoming the fourth Liberty pitcher all-time with a 20-win season. Leslie Inge holds the program record with 22 wins in 2000. Katie Phillips (1997) and Tiffani Smith (2010) are tied for second at 20 victories.    

Hampton Highlights
On Tuesday, the Lady Flames swept Hampton, 5-4 in 10 innings and 5-2.

Game one saw the Lady Flames overcome a 4-0, seventh-inning deficit, tying the game at 4-4, before Jessica Cicerchia scored from first on a Megan Robinson single in the bottom of the ninth for the 5-4 win. It marked Liberty's largest seventh-inning deficit   overcome in a victory since trailing, 8-1, in the seventh during an 11-8, eight-inning win at Gardner-Webb, April 16, 2011.

Liberty scored three unanswered runs in the nightcap, winning 5-2. Madison Kotchey went 3-for-3, while Katie Han and Megan Robinson both batted 2-for-4.

Excellent Homestand
The Lady Flames went 6-3 during their final homestand, which ended on Wednedsay with a doubleheader split against Virginia. Liberty picked up one win each against Virginia and Virginia Tech during the homestand, while also sweeping doubleheaders from Big South-leading Coastal Carolina and Hampton.

Lady Flames Post Senior-Day Sweep of First-Place Chanticleers
After falling, 4-3, to Coastal Carolina last Friday, the Lady Flames posted a doubleheader sweep of the Chanticleers (5-4, 5-4 (10)) on Saturday.

Madison Kotchey went 2-for-3 with a double, home run and a career-high four RBI during game one on Saturday, while Alexia Taylor (2-for-3) also doubled and homered.

Game two lasted 10 innings, Liberty's longest game since a 10-inning setback at Radford, March 28, 2012. Cassie Gingerich, who went 2-for-5 on her birthday, laid down a squeeze bunt to send Mickey Loveridge home with the winning run in the bottom of the 10th. Kassidy McCoy went 3-for-5 with two RBI.

Madison Kotchey went 3-for-3 with a career-high two doubles during game two against Hampton, Tuesday. The Lady Flames have had 10 different players with a three-hit game this year, led by Tori Zavodny (four times). Megan Robinson has posted three three-hit games in 2015 and Kelby Allen, two. Jamie Crisp, Katie Han, Blair Lawrence, Mickey Loveridge, Kassidy McCoy  and Alexia Taylor have posted one three-hit game each.

Since the start of the 2001 season, this is the first year in which 10 Lady Flames have registered at least one three-hit contest.

Virginia Tech Victory
Freshman Abby Tincher shut down Virginia Tech on Thursday night, fashioning a two-hit shutout during a 1-0 win over the Hokies. The win over Virginia Tech was Liberty's first win in the series since May 4, 2006. Tincher, whose sister, Angela Tincher O'Brien, was a three-time All-American pitcher at Virginia Tech and is currently on the Hokies' coaching staff, recorded a career-high eight strikeouts in her first career shutout.

Kelby Allen is the fifth Lady Flame with both 100 runs and 100 RBI. She needs three more hits to join Jessica Moore (2005-07) and Ashley Williams (2005-07) as the only Lady Flames all-time with 200 hits, 100 runs and 100 RBI.

Allen is ranked sixth in program history with 117 career RBI and is tied for second with six sacrifice flies. With 197 career hits, she is ranked sixth in program history. She is 10th all-time in career triples (four), tied for fifth with 26 home runs and ninth with 107 runs.