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Liberty Softball Returns Home for Weekend Series with Gardner-Webb

March 29, 2018  Lynchburg, Va.  RSS
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Liberty Softball Returns Home for Weekend Series with Gardner-Webb

Complete Game Notes

Big South-leading Liberty (25-8), off to a 6-0 start to conference play for the first time in program history, opens up a four-game homestand by hosting third-place Gardner-Webb (20-14, 4-2) for three games, Friday and Saturday at Kamphuis Field at Liberty Softball Stadium. In conference play, Gardner-Webb has hit .392, while Liberty has hit .385. The big difference has been in the circle, as Liberty's ERA is 1.47 in Big South games, compared to 5.60 for the Runnin' Bulldogs.     

Liberty went 5-1 last week, competing in three different states over a span of five days. The trip started with a 12-2 win at North Carolina A&T on Tuesday. The Lady Flames split a doubleheader at Kennesaw State, Wednesday, winning the nightcap, 7-1. Liberty then outscored Presbyterian, 24-3, in sweeping a three-game series. So far in Big South play, Liberty has outscored opponents, 46-9.

Elizabeth Engler went 3-0 with a 0.00 ERA and .159 opponents' batting average in 18 innings pitched last week, earning Big South Pitcher of the Week honors. Autumn Bishop batted .458 with three doubles and seven RBI on the way to Big South Player of the Week mention. Bishop boosted her hitting streak to a season-best 14 games.

Led by 2017 Big South Coach of the Year Dot Richardson, the defending NISC and Big South regular-season champion Lady Flames bat .303 as a team, averaging 5.2 runs per game. The Lady Flames hold a 2.74 team ERA, tossing a Big South-best eight shutouts. Liberty also leads the conference with a .974 fielding percentage

Junior Julia DiMartino, reigning Big South Pitcher of the Year, is 15-5 with a 2.28 ERA, leading the Big South in strikeouts (115), shutouts (6), saves (3), innings pitched (116.2) and opponents' batting average (.190). Engler is 5-0 with a team-best 1.73 ERA, pitching one shutout, while Chase Cassady holds a 4-2 record with a 3.47 ERA and one shutout.

Autumn Bishop bats .373 with a Big South-best 14 doubles, while Tori Zavodny (.363) is tied for the league lead with four triples. Amber Bishop (.353) has posted a team-high four homers and 24 RBI, while Sarah Robertson is second on the team with 23 RBI and Taylor Hoffman hits .321. Deidra See has hit .345 in 29 at bats this season.

Quick Hits
- The Lady Flames will not leave Virginia, through the end of the regular season.

- 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.

- Julia DiMartino is ranked third in program history in career wins, shutouts and strikeouts.

- Deidra See's 4-for-4 game at PC on Saturday was Liberty's first four-hit game of 2018.

- All nine starters recorded a hit in Liberty's 8-1 win at PC, Saturday.

- The Lady Flames have won two games when behind entering the seventh inning in 2018.

Liberty vs. Gardner-Webb
Gardner-Webb (20-14, 4-2) is third in the Big South standings, sweeping Presbyterian and going 1-2 against Campbell. The Runnin' Bulldogs lead the Big South in batting average, runs per game, on-base percentage, RBI and stolen bases.

Freshman Katie Prebble (.433) is the national leader with 50 RBI, ranking second in the nation with 16 homers. Andria Booth leads the league with 53 hits and a .463 batting average, while Kaylee Wacaster bats .359. Ashley Wark is 12-8 with a 3.85 ERA.

Liberty leads the all-time series, 30-8, against Gardner-Webb. The Lady Flames have won the last seven meetings in a row, outscoring the Runnin' Bulldogs, 28-4. Julia DiMartino tossed the first no-hitter by a Lady Flame in Liberty Softball Stadium history against Gardner-Webb, April 29, 2016.

2017 Series Recap
Liberty swept Gardner-Webb, 3-0, April 14-15, 2017 in Boiling Springs, N.C. The Lady Flames won game one, 5-0, on April 14, as Julia DiMartino's three-hit shutout provided Head Coach Dot Richardson her 100th career win.

On April 15, Liberty downed Gardner-Webb, 5-1 in game one before Chase Cassady and Julia DiMartino combined on a two-hit shutout, 2-0, in the series finale.      

Best When it Counts

After its 4-3, walk-off win over Campbell on March 17, Liberty is now 6-1 in one-run games during the 2018 season after going 6-8 in such games last year.

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.

Team Notes
- After hitting just nine total home runs in its first 24 games this year, Liberty has connected for nine homers combined in its last nine games, an average of one per contest.

- The Lady Flames have posted eight shutouts so far this season, and blanked their first three opponents of the season for the first time since 1995.

- Liberty is 9-1 in its last 10 games, hitting .339 with a .191 opponents' batting average. During that stretch, Elizabeth Engler is 3-0 with a 0.60 ERA and Julia DiMartino is 6-1 with a 1.39 ERA. Also in the last 10 games, Madison Via (.480), Autumn Bishop (.438), Amber Bishop (.417) and Kaitlin McFarland (.364) all bat .360 or better.

- Nine different Lady Flames have a three-hit game this season, led by Amber Bishop's five three-hit contests. Tori Zavodny (3), Taylor Hoffman (2) and Madison Via (2) have multiple three-hit games this year. Deidra See's 4-for-4 game at PC on Saturday was Liberty's first four-hit game of 2018, joining Amber Bishop (May 13, 2017 at Longwood) as current Lady Flames with a four-hit game.

Weekly Honors
On Monday, sophomores Autumn Bishop (Player of the Week) and Elizabeth Engler (Pitcher of the Week) were both honored by the Big South Conference. The last time Liberty won both award was Feb. 13, 2017, when Amber Bishop and Engler were honored. Autumn Bishop is Liberty's first Big South player of the Week winner this season, while Engler's Pitcher of the Week award is Liberty's third of the year. Julia DiMartino has been named Pitcher of the Week twice this year.

First Since . . .
Autumn Bishop is currently on a 14-game hitting streak, batting .455 during that stretch. She also got a hit in each of Liberty's first 13 games this season, making her the first Liberty player since Kelly Strickland in 2010 with two double-digit hitting streaks in a single season.

Also, Autumn Bishop hit a sacrifice fly in games two and three of the PC series last weekend, becoming the first Liberty player since Tori Zavodny, April 9-10, 2016 at Presbyterian to hit sacrifice flies in back-to-back games.

Milestones Abound
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 on March 2. Autumn Bishop joined the 100 hit club on Saturday at Presbyterian.

Last Friday at PC, Alexia Taylor became the 14th player in program history to record her 100th career run. Then on Saturday she became the seventh player in program history to reach 200 career hits. She is just the fourth player in program history with 200+ hits, 100+ runs and 100+ RBI, joining Ashley Williams (2005-08), Jessica Moore (2005-07) and Kelby Allen (2012-15).

Crossing the Plate
Twice this season, Liberty has had a player tie the program single-game record with four runs scored. Jaclyn Amader scored four times against Delaware on March 9, while Sarah Robertson tallied four runs versus Campbell, March 18.

Liberty leads the Big South and is ranked 14th nationally with 1.67 doubles per game.

After hitting 15 doubles as a freshman, Autumn Bishop is currently tied for the national lead with 14 doubles this season. She is the first Liberty player since Dawn Jeffs and Ashley Williams (2006-07) with 14 or more doubles in back-to-back seasons.

Sarah Robertson led the Lady Flames with 16 doubles last year, including a program-record-tying three doubles against NC Central on March 11. Amber Bishop has hit 10 doubles, while Robertson is third on the team with nine two-base hits.

On the Shutouts       
For the fourth straight year, three Liberty pitchers have at least one shutout. Julia DiMartino has tossed a conference-best six shutouts this season, giving her 20 for her career. She is the first pitcher in program history with six or more shutouts in three separate seasons. Chase Cassady and Elizabeth Engler both have one shutout apiece this season.

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.

Quick Conference Report
In six conference games so far this season, all wins, Liberty is batting .385, outscoring opponents 46-9 while holding opponents to a .154 batting average.

Madison Via is hitting .563 with six RBI in league play, while Autumn Bishop (.526) has posted four doubles and seven RBI. Sarah Robertson (.438) and Amber Bishop (.429) have scored eight runs apiece. Kaitlin McFarland (.357) has five RBI and Alexia Taylor (.353), seven RBI.

Julia DiMartino is 5-0 with a 0.62 ERA, 29 strikeouts, two shutouts and a .114 opponents' batting average in Big South games, while Elizabeth Engler is 1-0 with a .100 OBA.