ASUN Tournament Central Championship Bracket Game Notes
No. 25 Liberty (39-13), the No. 1 seed in the ASUN North Division, opens play in the 2021 ASUN Softball Championship semifinal on Thursday at 3 p.m. against No. 3 South Seed Jacksonville (28-18) at Kennesaw State's Bailey Park. The Lady Flames aim for their fourth conference title. 2021 ASUN Softball Championship May 13-15 Kennesaw, Ga. Bailey Park Thursday, May 13 Game 1: No. 1N Liberty vs. No. 3S Jacksonville - 3 p.m. Live Stats | Live Video Game 2: No. 1S FGCU vs. No. 2N Kennesaw State - 5:30 p.m. Friday, May 14 Game 3: Loser Game 1 vs. Loser Game 2 - 12:30 p.m. (loser eliminated) Game 4: Winner Game 1 vs. Winner Game 2 - 3 p.m. Game 5: Winner Game 3 vs. Loser Game 4 - 5:30 p.m. (loser eliminated) Saturday, May 15 Game 6: Winner Game 4 vs. Winner Game 5 - 1 p.m. Game 7 (if necessary) - 3:30 p.m. All games will stream live on ESPN+
The Lady Flames received their first-ever NFCA Top 25 national ranking on Monday, cracking the Top 25 after appearing among "Others Receiving Votes" 12 times this season. Liberty is also ranked No. 25 in this week's USA Softball Collegiate Top 25, its first ranking in that poll as well.
Liberty is 49-48 all-time in conference tournament play at the Division I level, winning the Big South title in 2002, 2011 and 2018 and placing second in 1998, 2000, 2008 and 2017.
Liberty and Jacksonville took similar paths in last weekend's conference quarterfinal round. Liberty shut out Lipscomb 1-0 in game one before falling in extra innings in game two. The Lady Flames then blanked the Bisons 8-0 on Saturday to advance. Similarly, the Dolphins tossed shutouts over North Florida in games one and three to make it to the semifinals. Liberty will meet Jacksonville for the first time this season, as the Lady Flames did not take on any South Division schools this year.
Emily Kirby tossed a pair of shutouts last weekend, becoming the first Lady Flame in program history to toss multiple conference tournament shutouts in the same season. Amber Bishop-Riley had a monster weekend, batting .636 (7-for-11) with three doubles, one homer and six RBI. Madison Via batted .444 in the Lipscomb series, while Autumn Bishop (.429) and Emily Sweat (.400) both homered for the Lady Flames.
These are the top two pitching teams in the ASUN. Liberty is tied for third nationally with 18 shutouts, while Jacksonville has tossed 16 shutouts. Liberty's Emily Kirby and Jacksonville's Alyssa Bilodeau are currently tied for the ASUN lead with nine shutouts apiece.
Liberty posted an ASUN-best 0.76 ERA in conference play, tossing 12 shutouts in league games. The Lady Flames are 18-1 in their last 19 games, with 11 of those wins coming via shutout.
Three-time NFCA All-Region player Amber Bishop-Riley bats .377 with an ASUN-leading 16 home runs, 39 runs scored and 45 RBI. Kara Canetto (.379) is ranked second in the ASUN in batting average and has two double-digit hitting streaks to her credit this season.
Two-time NFCA All-Region player Autumn Bishop (.342) is tied for second nationally with 19 doubles and tied for 10th all-time in NCAA Division I softball history with 72 career doubles. Madison Via (.283) hit .341 in ASUN play. Emily Sweat (.284) is ranked second in the ASUN in both doubles (16) and RBI (35). Devyn Howard (.292) has hit nine doubles and one triple. Caroline Hudson has game-tying hits in the seventh inning against No. 18 Virginia Tech (homer) and Lipscomb (two-run single, May 7), and hit a walk-off two-run homer in the ninth inning against Virginia Tech on April 28.
Karlie Keeney (14-4, 2.39, five shutouts) is third in the ASUN in wins. Emily Kirby (13-5, 1.79) needs one more shutout to tie Julia DiMartino's (2018) single-season record of 10. Kirby leads the ASUN in strikeouts per seven innings (7.88). Megan Johnson (3-2, 3.15) posted a 0.81 ERA in conference play this year. McKenzie Wagoner (5-2, 3.15) has had a strong freshman campaign, while classmate Naomi Jones (4-0) one-hit Bellarmine on April 25.
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