Game Notes The Liberty softball team (22-12, 4-2 ASUN) makes its first trip to Virginia's Palmer Park, taking on the Cavaliers (11-18, 7-14 ACC) on Tuesday at 4 p.m. Liberty salvaged game three of its home series against Kennesaw State with a walk-off, 3-2 win on Saturday. Virginia went 3-1 during a home series with Boston College, capped by a 2-1, 12-inning victory, Saturday at Palmer Park.
Liberty at Virginia Charlottesville, Va. Palmer Park Tuesday, April 6 - 4 p.m. (ACC Network) Live Video | Live Stats
The Lady Flames have received votes in every USA Today/NFCA Top 25 Poll this season, including 12 votes last week. Additionally, Liberty received 12 votes in last week's ESPN/USA Softball Top 25 poll.
Liberty has had a flair for the dramatic this season, with five walk-off wins. Also, nine times this season, the Lady Flames have gotten a game-winning hit in the seventh inning or later. Autumn Bishop hit a walk-off sacrifice fly on Saturday against Kennesaw State, the latest heroic play.
Amber Bishop-Riley hit her 10th home run of the season on Friday against Kennesaw State. She became the first NCAA softball player with five 10-homer seasons, and also passed Jessica Moore (2005-07) for the program's career home run record (59).
Devyn Howard batted 4-for-5 with three doubles during the Kennesaw State series, while Madison Via went 5-for-8 (.625) with a double and three RBI. Savannah Channell and Autumn Bishop (one homer) both batted .400 against the Owls.
Liberty's pitching did not give up a single run in its first 25 innings of ASUN play before Kennesaw State's three-run seventh inning on Friday. Last Tuesday at Tennessee, Liberty had its overall shutout innings streak snapped at 33 1/3 innings.
For the third year in a row, Liberty was voted the favorite in the ASUN Preseason Coaches' Poll. Senior Amber Bishop-Riley was voted the ASUN Preseason Player of the Year and was joined on the ASUN Preseason All-Conference Team by sophomore Kara Canetto.
Three-time NFCA All-Region player Amber Bishop-Riley bats .375 with an ASUN-leading 11 home runs, 24 runs scored and 26 RBI.
Kara Canetto (.376) ranks third in the ASUN in batting average. Two-time NFCA All-Region player Autumn Bishop (.333) ranks in the top five nationally with 13 doubles, while Savannah Channell bats .267. Madison Via (.286) has batted .500 (6-for-12) in her last five games. Emily Sweat (.224) is fourth in the ASUN with 22 RBI including a Liberty Softball Stadium-record six against Villanova. Mary Claire Wilson (.261) has stolen nine bases. Devyn Howard (.333), the 2020 NJCAA national leader in RBI, has hit seven doubles in just 33 at bats this season.
Liberty has fashioned seven shutouts, including a 10-inning shutout by Emily Kirby at Arkansas that snapped the Razorbacks' 19-game winning streak. Karlie Keeney (8-4, 3.01, two shutouts) is tied for fourth in the ASUN in wins. Emily Kirby (6-4, 2.58) has tossed four shutouts, the most shutouts by a Liberty left-hander since Leslie Inge's five in 2000. Kirby ranks third in the ASUN with 8.20 strikeouts per seven innings. Megan Johnson (2-2, 3.54) posted a 1.17 ERA in Liberty's last five games. McKenzie Wagoner (3-2, 3.27) was the 2020 Oklahoma Gatorade Player of the Year.