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Lady Flames Set to Host CSU in Weekend Series

April 19, 2018  Lynchburg, Va.  RSS
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Lady Flames Set to Host CSU in Weekend Series

Complete Game Notes

Liberty (33-12, 12-3 Big South), currently tied for the Big South lead, plays eight out of its remaining 10 regular-season games at home. The Lady Flames host Charleston Southern (25-24, 6-9) for a three-game series, Friday and Saturday at Liberty Softball Stadium. Liberty downed Virginia Tech, 6-3, on Tuesday, its third win in a row, while CSU is looking to snap a six-game losing streak.

The first Lady Flames grand slam of the season came at a great time, as Autumn Bishop's two-out, four-run, fifth-inning blast pushed Liberty ahead of Virginia Tech. Julia DiMartino pitched five shutout innings of relief and the Lady Flames won, 6-3, pushing their home winning streak to nine games in the process. Amber Bishop also homered, marking the second time this season that both Bishop twins have homered in the same game (April 6 at Longwood). Alexis Erich's sixth-inning sacrifice fly gave Liberty 16 sac flies for the season, tying the program single-season team record (2010, 2017).

Led by 2017 Big South Coach of the Year Dot Richardson, the defending NISC and Big South regular-season champion Lady Flames bat .290 as a team, averaging 4.8 runs per game. The Lady Flames hold a 2.45 team ERA, tossing a Big South-best 11 shutouts. Liberty also leads the conference with a .973 fielding percentage.

Junior Julia DiMartino, reigning Big South Pitcher of the Year, is 19-7 with a 2.14 ERA, leading the Big South in wins (19), strikeouts (167), shutouts (6), saves (5 - program record) and innings pitched (163.2). Elizabeth Engler is 6-2 with a Big South-best 1.76 ERA, while Chase Cassady holds a 7-2 record with a 2.75 ERA. Cassady was named Big South Pitcher of the Week on Monday, going 2-0 with a 0.75 ERA and .121 opponents batting average in the Radford series.

Autumn Bishop bats .385 and leads the league and is second nationally with 19 doubles. Autumn Bishop's 20-game hitting streak earlier this season was the third longest in program history. Amber Bishop sports a .361 batting average, with a team-leading seven homers and 30 RBI. Jaclyn Amader (.301) leads the Big South with five triples, while Sarah Robertson (.298) is third on the team in doubles (10) and RBI (25).

Quick Hits
- Liberty was the first non-Power 5 Division I softball team to reach 30 wins this 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.

- Head coach Dot Richardson earned her 150th career win, Tuesday against Virginia Tech.

- Julia DiMartino has not allowed a run in 9 2/3 relief innings over the last three games.

- Liberty has won its last nine home games in a row.

Liberty vs. Charleston Southern
Charleston Southern (25-24, 6-9 Big South) went 5-4 during its first three conference series, but has lost five out of its last six league games, and enters the weekend on a six-game losing streak.

The Buccaneers have connected for 55 homers, led by Jade Gandara (.390, 13 HR, 48 RBI) and Mallory Kasinger (.300, 12 HR, 41 RBI). CSU has the top two basestealers in the Big South, in Meghan Gagliano (22) and Kendall Anderson (20).

Liberty is 48-21 all-time against Charleston Southern, and the Lady Flames have won five in a row and nine out of the last 12 meetings. Dot Richardson holds a 9-5 record against CSU.

Liberty vs. Charleston Southern Recap - 2017       
Liberty won all four meetings against CSU in 2017, outscoring the Buccaneers, 40-14.

The Lady Flames scored 29 runs in the regular-season series, winning 12-0, 5-3 and 12-8.

Amber Bishop went 3-for-4 with two homers and six RBI in game one of the series, March 17 in Charleston, and Julia DiMartino tossed a five-hitter in a 12-0, five inning win.

The Lady Flames scored five straight runs before holding off CSU, 5-3, in the first game of a doubleheader, March 18. CSU hit five homers in the series finale, but it wasn't enough, as Liberty prevailed, 12-8.

CSU led Liberty, 3-0, early in the Lady Flames' first game of the Big South Softball Championship, May 11, before the Lady Flames scored 11 unanswered runs to prevail, 11-3.

First to 30
With its 3-2 win at Longwood on April 6, Liberty became the 13th NCAA Division I team, and first from a non-Power Five conference, to reach 30 wins (30-8). The previous 12 to make it to 30 wins this year included: Washington, Auburn, Georgia, Texas A&M, Tennessee, Florida, UCLA, South Carolina, Florida State, Arizona State, Oklahoma and LSU.

The program record for most games over .500 at any point in any season is 22, set at the end of the 2017 season (46-24) and April 6, 2018 (30-8).

The Lady Flames have clinched their 13th 30-win season in program history, and third in a row.

Team Notes
- 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.

- The Lady Flames have posted 11 shutouts so far this season, more than 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. Saturday's one-hitter against Radford was Liberty's first combined shutout of the season.

- Liberty is now 8-4 in one-run games during the 2018 season after going 6-8 in such games last year.  That includes two walk-off wins (Feb. 22 vs. North Carolina; March 17 vs. Campbell).

- Liberty has twice won games when trailing entering the seventh inning, and did it in back-to-back games, against Central Michigan (Feb. 16) and versus North Carolina (Feb. 22), both in nine innings. The Lady Flames are 2-0 in extra-inning games this year.

- Autumn Bishop's grand slam on Tuesday against Virginia Tech was the third grand slam in Liberty Softball Stadium history, and first by a Lady Flame. It was also the first grand slam hit by a Lady Flame since Madison Kotchey's grand slam against Coastal Carolina, May 8, 2015.   

- Liberty won its first 10 Big South games this season, setting a new program record with a 10-game conference winning streak.

- Liberty's current nine-game home winning streak is tied for the third longest in program history. The team's longest home winning streak was 13 games, April 12, 1999 through March 22, 2000.

Quick Conference Report
In 15 conference games so far this season, Liberty is batting .320, outscoring opponents 78-27. Liberty leads the league with a 1.71 ERA and .188 opponents' batting average in Big South games.

Autumn Bishop is batting .511 with nine doubles and 12 RBI, while Amber Bishop (.423) has scored 14 runs. Kaitlin McFarland (.342) and Madison Via (.341) have eight RBI each, while Deidra See bats .333. Jaclyn Amader (.318) has driven in 10 runs, and Jasmeen Click bats .300.

Julia DiMartino is 7-1 with a 1.53 ERA and two shutouts, while Chase Cassady is 3-0 with a 1.80 ERA and Elizabeth Engler is 2-2 with a 2.14 ERA. All three pitchers have at least one shutout in conference play, and all three have opponents' batting averages .193 or lower.

Honors All Around
Chase Cassady was named Big South Pitcher of the Week on Monday, joining teammates Elizabeth Engler (March 26) and Julia DiMartino (Feb. 12, March 19), who were honored earlier this season. This is the second year in a row, and third time in program history, that three Lady Flames have been named Big South Pitcher of the Week during the same season.

Autumn Bishop was named Big South Player of the Week on March 26 and April 2, the first Liberty player since Keely McMillon (2011) to receive Player of the Week honors in consecutive weeks.

Sister, Sister
On April 6 at Longwood, both Amber and Autumn Bishop hit home runs in game one of a doubleheader. It marked the first time that both Bishop twins homered in the same game while at Liberty. They repeated the feat on Tuesday against Virginia Tech.

Pitching Spotlight
Liberty's pitching has been strong all season, and may be getting even better lately. In their last five games, the Lady Flames have posted a 0.77 ERA and .196 opponents' batting average. In that span, Julia DiMartino is 1-1 with a 0.69 ERA, two saves and 23 strikeouts, while Chase Cassady is 2-0 with a 1.24 ERA and a .146 opponents' batting average.

Last Saturday, Cassady and DiMartino combined for a one-hit shutout. DiMartino has tossed a conference-best six shutouts this season, giving her 20 for her career. DiMartino is three shutouts shy of Katie Phillips' (1996-99) career program record. DiMartino 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 March 21.

Double-Double
Liberty leads the Big South with 69 doubles, tying for 23rd nationally.

After hitting 15 doubles in 2017, Autumn Bishop is second in the nation with 19 doubles in 2018. She is the first player in program history with 15 or more doubles in back-to-back years.

Sarah Robertson led the Lady Flames with 16 doubles last year, including a program-record-tying three doubles against NC Central on March 11, 2017. Amber Bishop has hit 13 doubles this season, while Robertson is third on the team with 10 two-base hits.

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. Amber Bishop's 141 career hits are already the most by any Liberty player by the end of her sophomore season.

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).

Player Quick Hits
- 2017 Big South Pitcher of the Year Julia DiMartino needs one more win to become the first Liberty pitcher with multiple 20-win seasons, after going 22-10 last year.

- Sophomore Elizabeth Engler (6-2) has gone 4-2 with a 0.85 ERA and a .182 opponents' batting average in her last eight appearances, dating to March 20 at North Carolina A&T.

- Junior Chase Cassady, the reigning Big South Pitcher of the Week, is 3-0 with a 0.86 ERA, one shutout, 16 strikeouts and a .138 opponents' batting average in her last three starts.

- Autumn Bishop's 20-game hitting streak was the longest hitting streak by a Liberty player since Katie Zavodny's program-record 23-game streak in 2013. Her league-leading 19 doubles this season are two shy of Shannon Tanski's single-season program record of 21, set in 1996.

- 2017 Big South Freshman of the Year Amber Bishop has 47 career multiple-hit games, including 20 this season. She is the first player since 2006-07 (Jessica Moore, Dawn Jeffs and Ashley Williams) with 20 or more multiple-hit games in back-to-back seasons.

- Alexia Taylor is the program career record holder with nine career sacrifice flies, and is one of only four players in program history with 200+ hits, 100+ runs, and 100+ RBI.

- Sarah Robertson has been hit a team-high five times this season, including twice with the bases loaded. Her seven multiple-RBI games are good for second on the team.

- Jaclyn Amader scored the winning run in Liberty's first walk-off win of the season, Feb. 22 against North Carolina. She is hitting .500 (5-for-10) in Liberty's last four games.

- Kaitlin McFarland has caught eight out of Liberty's 11 shutouts this season. She is batting .500 (6-for-12) with one double, one homer and two RBI during her current four-game hitting streak.

- Madison Via has two three-hit games to her credit. After entering conference play with a .167 batting average, she has hit .341 with eight RBI in 15 Big South games as a freshman.

- Deidra See went 4-for-4 with a homer, two RBI and two runs scored on March 24 at PC. It was her first multiple-hit game of the season, as she had hit 6-for-22 heading into that game.

- Taylor Hoffman is batting .264 this season and is tied for third on the team with 10 multiple-hit games. She has driven in nine runs this year after posting two total RBI as a freshman.

- Jasmeen Click is batting an even .300 (9-for-30) in 14 conference games after entering league play with a .207 batting average.

- Madi Clarke went 2-for-3 during game two at Radford last Saturday. She has started the last three games, her first three starts since April 27, 2016.