Liberty (19-13, 3-3 ASUN) steps outside of conference play on Wednesday, heading to Durham, N.C., to take on Duke (14-18, 5-4 ACC).
Live Video (ACC Network Extra) The Lady Flames will look to avenge a 3-1 loss to the Blue Devils, Feb. 9 in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico. In that meeting, Liberty left 13 runners on base, leaving the bases loaded three times. Madison Via (4-for-4, double) and Jaclyn Amader (3-for-4, double), combined to go 7-for-8 at the plate for Liberty, while Duke's Caroline Jacobsen went 2-for-3 with a homer and two RBI.
The Lady Flames held the high-powered No. 5 Tennessee Lady Vols to one run on five hits in a 1-0 loss in front of a Liberty Softball Stadium record 1,202 fans last Tuesday. Julia DiMartino fanned a season-high 12 batters, and Amber Bishop went 2-for-3 with a double.
That loss snapped a 28-game home winning streak for Liberty, which began March 10, 2018.
Liberty rebounded by winning a home ASUN series, 2-1, over Lipscomb this past weekend. Amber Bishop became the ninth player in program history with 200 or more career hits, joining teammate Sarah Robertson in the 200-hit club.
Liberty's 1.83 ERA ranks 16th in the nation and Liberty has tossed 10 shutouts. Liberty has tossed two no-hitters, including a perfect game from Julia DiMartino and a four-pitcher no-hitter versus Quinnipiac. Liberty's top win so far this year came on Feb. 15, when the Lady Flames downed then No. 19 Texas A&M 4-2.
Liberty returns eight all-conference players from last year's team, led by two-time Big South Pitcher of the Year Julia DiMartino, 2019 ASUN Preseason Player of the Year Autumn Bishop and Amber Bishop. All three were named to the NFCA All-Region team each of the last two years. Autumn Bishop was named to the 2019 USA Softball Collegiate Player of the Year Top 50 Watch List.
DiMartino, a two-time NFCA All-Region pitcher, has been named ASUN Pitcher of the Week three times. She is 10-6 with a 1.19 ERA (15th nationally) .181 opponents batting average and three shutouts. Freshman Braelyn Cooper has posted a 1.09 ERA in seven appearances, while Chase Cassady is 5-1 with a 1.83 ERA and 7.5 strikeouts per seven innings.
Amber Bishop leads the team in batting average (.371), runs (21), doubles (8), homers (6) and RBI (16). Her twin sister, Autumn Bishop (.369), leads the ASUN with a .496 on base percentage. Madison Via (.338) is second on the team with 20 runs scored. Sarah Robertson (.313 avg., .452 OBP) and Alexis Erich (.410 OBP) are second and third on the team in on-base percentage, while Kara Canetto (.290 avg.) is tied for the team lead with nine stolen bases.
Quick Hits - Julia DiMartino has appeared in more games (153) than any active NCAA Division I pitcher.
- Liberty is 1-2 against ACC opponents this season, and 12-4 versus the ACC since 2017.
- On Saturday, Autumn Bishop set a new program record with her 11th career sacrifice fly, while Julia DiMartino set a program record for career innings pitched (707.1), her fifth program career record.
- Liberty is 15-2 when scoring first, and 4-11 when its opponents score first.
- The Lady Flames are 16-1 when scoring four or more runs, and 0-8 when allowing four or more.
- ASUN newcomer Liberty was voted first in this year's preseason coaches' poll, while Duke was picked sixth in the ACC preseason poll.
Team Notes - Amber Bishop hit her 40th career double last Tuesday against Tennessee, making Liberty the only team in NCAA Division I softball with three active players with 40+ doubles (also Sarah Robertson - 44, Autumn Bishop - 42). All three players are closing in on the program record of 52 career doubles, set by Ashley Williams (2005-08).
- Amber Bishop joined Sarah Robertson in the 200-hit club last weekend. This is the first time in program history that two active Lady Flames have had 200 or more career hits.
- Julia DiMartino's 12 strikeouts against No. 5 Tennessee last Tuesday were the most strikeouts ever by a Lady Flame against a Top 25 team.
- Liberty's 28-game home winning streak was the nation's second longest active home winning streak (Oklahoma, 41) when it was snapped last Tuesday by No. 5 Tennessee.
- Liberty is currently ranked in the top 25 nationally in ERA (16th, 1.83) and strikeout-to-walk ratio (18th - 3.35).
- Liberty is 6-0 this season in run-rule games, and 2-6 in one-run ballgames.
- Liberty posted program record streaks of nine consecutive shutout games (Feb. 21-March 8) and 60 straight shutout innings (Feb. 21-March 8), scoring 75 unanswered runs during that span.
- On Feb. 28 against Quinnipiac, Julia DiMartino (4 IP), Elizabeth Engler (1 IP), Chase Cassady (1 IP) and Emily Kirby (1 IP) pitched the second combined no-hitter in program history, and first since April 20, 2011, when Kat Johnson and Grace Nordan no-hit Norfolk State.
- Liberty defeated No. 19 Texas A&M 4-2 on Feb. 15. It was the program's ninth win over a Top 25 team. The Lady Flames are 1-5 against nationally-ranked opponents this season and 9-65 all-time.
- Liberty went 2-7 against Top 25 teams last year. The team defeated No. 24/24 Hofstra and No. 11/10 South Carolina to start the 2018 NCAA Columbia Regional. Those were Liberty's first wins over nationally-ranked opponents since 2007, when the Lady Flames knocked off No. 23 Hawai'i, No. 10 Baylor and No. 6 Michigan.
- Jaclyn Amader (4-for-4 vs. BYU), Madison Via (4-for-4 vs. Duke) and Amber Bishop (4-for-4 vs. Sacred Heart all have one four-hit game this season. The last time three Lady Flames had a four-hit game in the same season was 2012, when Amber Donovan, Kaylee West and Katie Zavodny did so.
- Liberty's record has improved each season under Coach Richardson (11-46 in 2014, 29-30 in 2015, 31-28 in 2016, 46-24 in 2017, program-record 49-14 in 2018).
- Current Lady Flames Deidra See (4/23/16 vs. CSU), Emily Sweat (3/25/17 vs. Radford), Jasmeen Click (4/26/17 vs. Longwood) and Jaclyn Amader (2/16/18 vs. Central Michigan) all have recorded a game-winning walk-off hit in their career.
- Autumn (80th) and Amber (84th) Bishop were both named to the Softball America list of Top 100 NCAA Division I Softball Players. They are the top two rated players in the ASUN, as Lipscomb's Jordan Fortel is listed 92nd and North Florida's Navia Penrod 96th.
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