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Liberty Set for Home Midweek Clash With NC State

April 3, 2018  Lynchburg, Va.  RSS
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Liberty Set for Home Midweek Clash With NC State

Complete Game Notes

Big South-leading Liberty (28-8, 9-0 Big South), off to its best start to Big South play in program history, hosts NC State (20-15, 4-7 ACC) in a non-conference game, Wednesday at 5 p.m. at Liberty Softball Stadium. Liberty is on a season-best seven-game winning streak, and has also won seven straight home games. The Lady Flames won their last meeting with the Wolfpack, 5-3, March 29, 2017 in Raleigh, N.C.

Liberty posted a three-game sweep of Gardner-Webb at home last weekend, outscoring the Runnin' Bulldogs, 19-3. Elizabeth Engler (four-hitter, six strikeouts) and Chase Cassady (two-hitter, nine K's) tossed back-to-back shutouts on Saturday, extending Liberty's shutout streak to 16 2/3 innings pitched. Liberty has outscored conference opponents, 65-12, so far this season.

Autumn Bishop and Amber Bishop both had monster series against Gardner-Webb, both batting .700 (7-for-10) with five runs scored. Autumn Bishop recorded three doubles and four RBI, and she was named Big South Player of the Week for the second week in a row. Jaclyn Amader batted .500 with six RBI in the Gardner-Webb series.

Led by 2017 Big South Coach of the Year Dot Richardson, the defending NISC and Big South regular-season champion Lady Flames bat .311 as a team, averaging 5.3 runs per game. The Lady Flames hold a 2.61 team ERA, tossing a Big South-best 10 shutouts. Liberty also leads the conference with a .974 fielding percentage.

Junior Julia DiMartino, reigning Big South Pitcher of the Year, is 16-5 with a 2.32 ERA, leading the Big South in strikeouts (123), shutouts (6), saves (3) and innings pitched (123.2) . Engler is 6-0 with a Big South-best 1.51 ERA, while Chase Cassady holds a 5-2 record with a 3.12 ERA. Both Cassady and Engler have tossed two shutouts this year.

Autumn Bishop bats .400 and currently leads the nation with 17 doubles. She is hitting .500 during her current 17-game hitting streak. Amber Bishop sports a .381 average, five homers and 27 RBI. Taylor Hoffman hits .326, while Sarah Robertson (.318) and Jaclyn Amader have posted 24 and 23 RBI, respectively.

Quick Hits
- Liberty is 6-1 in its last seven meetings with ACC opponents.

- 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.

- Three different Liberty pitchers have two or more shutouts this season.

- Autumn Bishop is batting .500 (27-for-54) with 15 RBI during her 17-game hitting streak.

- Liberty has outscored opponents, 50-7, in its last seven games, all wins.

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

Liberty vs. NC State
NC State (20-15) is 4-7 in ACC play after going 1-2 at Louisville over the weekend. Liberty is 8-1 against common opponents (Delaware State, Gardner-Webb, Kennesaw State and Ohio), while NC State has gone 4-3 versus those four teams.

Haylee Kobziak leads NC State with a .346 batting average, followed by Alyssa Compton, at .318. Chandley Garner (.302) paces the Wolfpack in homers (8) and RBI (25). Devin Wallace is NC State's top pitcher, at 11-7 with a 2.36 ERA in 124 1/3 innings pitched.

NC State is 2-1 all-time against Liberty, with the Wolfpack winning by a 2-1 score both March 5, 2005 and Feb. 24, 2008. Liberty won the last meeting, 5-3, March 29, 2017 in Raleigh, N.C.

Dating to last season, Liberty is 6-1 in its last seven meetings with ACC teams, with wins over Syracuse, NC State, Virginia (twice), Virginia Tech and North Carolina in that span.

2017 Recap - Liberty at NC State
One day after dropping a doubleheader at then No. 19 Tennessee, Liberty used a four-run third inning to lift the team to a 5-3 win at NC State, March 29, 2017.

Sarah Robertson went 3-for-3 for Liberty, while Amber Bishop and Emily Sweat both homered, with Sweat's home run being the first of her career.            

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
- Liberty (28-8) is 20 games over .500 in the regular season for the first time since ending the 2010 regular season at 37-16. That marked the most games over .500, 21, that Liberty has been at any point in any regular season. The 1996 (29-9) and 2006 (38-18) Lady Flames were also 20 games over .500 at some point.

- The Lady Flames have posted 10 shutouts so far this season, halfway to the program record of 20, set in 1999. Liberty blanked its first three opponents of the season for the first time since 1995.

- Liberty went 18-4 in the month of March, outhitting opponents, .332-.238, while outscoring them, 130-65. Last month, Elizabeth Engler went 6-0 with a 0.83 ERA and two shutouts, while Julia DiMartino went 10-2 with a 2.86 ERA and three shutouts. March also saw Amber Bishop hit .456 with 19 RBI and 22 runs scored, while Autumn Bishop hit .433 with 12 doubles and 17 RBI. Madison Via came on strong, hitting .354 with 12 RBI, while Jaclyn Amader connected for 17 RBI in March.

- Nine different Lady Flames have a three-hit game this season, led by Amber Bishop's six three-hit contests. Tori Zavodny (3), Taylor Hoffman (2), Amber Bishop (2) and Madison Via (2) have multiple three-hit games in 2018. Deidra See's 4-for-4 game at PC, March 24 was Liberty's first four-hit game of 2018, joining Amber Bishop (5/13/17 at Longwood) as current Lady Flames with a four-hit game.

Weekly Honors
On Monday, sophomore Autumn Bishop was named Big South Softball Player of the Week for the second week in a row. She joins Keely McMillon (2011) and Shannon Tanski (1996) as the only two Lady Flames with back-to-back Big South Player of the Week honors.

Liberty leads the Big South and is ranked 11th nationally with 1.69 doubles per game.

After hitting 15 doubles in 2017, Autumn Bishop currently leads the nation with 17 doubles this year. She is the first player in program history with 15 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 12 doubles, tying for 20th in the nation, while Robertson is third on the team with nine two-base hits.

On the Shutouts
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 two shutouts apiece this season. Engler (four-hitter) and Cassady (two-hitter) both shut out Gardner-Webb on Saturday.

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.

First time for Everything
Autumn Bishop became the first player in program history to hit a sacrifice fly in three straight games, doing so March 23 through March 30. She has tied the program single-season record with four sacrifice flies. Teammate Deidra See also hit four sac flies in 2017.

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 March 24 at Presbyterian.

On March 23 at PC, Alexia Taylor became the 14th player in program history to record her 100th career run. The next day, 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).

Quick Conference Report
In nine conference games so far this season, all wins, Liberty is batting .390, outscoring opponents 65-12 while holding opponents to a .164 batting average.

Autumn Bishop is batting .586 with seven doubles and 11 RBI, while Amber Bishop (.516) has scored 13 runs. Madison Via hits .455 with eight RBI. Sarah Robertson and Jaclyn Amader both bat .360. Amader has driven in 10 runs. Jasmeen Click hits .353 while Kaitlin McFarland bats .348.

Elizabeth Engler is 2-0 with a 0.86 ERA and .125 opponents' batting average, while Julia DiMartino (6-0) has a 1.18 ERA, two shutouts and a .150 OBA. Chase Cassady is 1-0 with a 2.55 ERA.