Autumn Bishop celebrates after scoring the game's lone run in a 1-0 win over Lipscomb.
Liberty left-hander Emily Kirby tossed a four-hitter and Amber Bishop-Riley hit a fifth-inning RBI single, as Liberty opened the 2021 ASUN Softball Championship with a 1-0 win over Lipscomb on Friday at Kamphuis Field at Liberty Softball Stadium.
The Lady Flames (38-12) extended their overall winning streak to 17 games with the win. Meanwhile, defending ASUN champion Lipscomb (17-17) is one game away from being eliminated from the 2021 ASUN Softball Championship. Liberty, the No. 1 seed in the North Division, can eliminate the fourth-seeded Bisons with a win in today's second game. There would be an elimination game, game three tomorrow at 1 p.m. should Lipscomb win today's nightcap.
Scoring Summary Liberty – 5th INNING – Bishop-Riley singles, Bishop scores, 1-0
Notable Numbers - Liberty outhit the Bisons 7-4, with the Lady Flames committing the game's only two errors. The Lady Flames left eight runners on base, while Lipscomb stranded five.
- Liberty is 4-0 against the Bisons this season, shutting them out all four games.
- Emily Kirby (12-4) tossed her ASUN-leading eighth shutout of the season, allowing four hits and striking out six. It was her third shutout against Lipscomb this season.
- Breana Burke (12-8) drew the loss, allowing one run on seven hits, walking three and striking out three.
- Amber Bishop-Riley batted 2-for-3 with one RBI, while Madison Via (2-for-3) hit two doubles. Emily Sweat hit her 14th double of the season.
- Presley Leebrick batted 2-for-3 for the Bisons.
Turning Point - A series of fine defensive plays by the Bisons outfielders kept the visitors in the game. Liberty finally broke through in the fifth. Bishop drew a two-out walk, and then scored when Bishop-Riley hit one off the wall in right center. Canetto then hit a single, but Liberty left two runners on when right fielder Caitlin Turner robbed Sweat of extra bases for the third out.
- The Bisons' leadoff batter reached base in both the sixth and seventh innings, but Kirby retired the final three batters in both innings.
Beyond the Box Score - Liberty has outscored opponents 83-13 during its current 17-game winning streak.
- Liberty is tied with Clemson (17) and LIU Brooklyn (17) for the third longest active winning streak in NCAA Division I, trailing James Madison (21).
- The Lady Flames lead the all-time series 7-2 against Lipscomb, including 4-0 this season.
- At 38-12, Liberty has tied its best record through 50 games, as the 2018 Lady Flames went 38-12 on the way to a program-record 49-14 season.
- The Lady Flames have opened the conference tournament with a victory for the seventh time in the last eight seasons.
- This was the fourth time in program history that Liberty has posted a shutout in its conference tournament opener (also 1999, 2010 and 2016). Liberty has now tossed 10 conference tournament shutouts all-time.
- Liberty has tossed 17 shutouts this season, its most since throwing 19 shutouts in 2019.
- Autumn Bishop passed Jessica Moore (2005-07) for the most career walks in program history, drawing her 101st and 102nd career walks today. She is also the program record holder for career doubles (70) and sacrifice flies (16).
- Kirby's eight shutouts this season are tied with Leslie Inge (1999) for the second most in a single season in program history. Julia DiMartino holds the single-season program record of 10, set in 2019.
- The Lady Flames are 31-4 when scoring first this season and 11-4 in one-run games.
- Kirby is the first Liberty left-handed pitcher to start a conference tournament game since May 14, 2000, when Leslie Inge went the distance in a 4-2, eight-inning loss to Coastal Carolina in the title game of the 2000 Big South Softball Championship.
- Liberty is now 48-47 all-time in conference tournament play, including 11-10 in conference tournament games under Head Coach Dot Richardson.