Liberty senior Autumn Bishop hit a two-out, walk-off single to seal a 1-0 win for the No. 1 North Division seed Lady Flames over No. 3 South Seed Jacksonville, Thursday at Kennesaw State's Bailey Field.
The Lady Flames (40-13) advance in the winners' bracket, and will face the winner of today's game between FGCU and the host Kennesaw State Owls, tomorrow at 3 p.m. The winner of tomorrow's 3 p.m. game advances to the ASUN final, which will be held on Saturday at 1 p.m.
Jacksonville (28-19) falls into the losers' bracket and will play in this weekend's first elimination game. The Dolphins will face the loser of today's FGCU/KSU game, tomorrow at 12:30 p.m.
Caroline Hudson lined a two-out double in the bottom of the seventh, and Bishop came through with an RBI single to drive in pinch runner Mary Claire Wilson with the game's lone run.
Scoring Summary Liberty – 7th INNING – Bishop singles, Wilson scores, 1-0
Notable Numbers - Liberty outhit the Dolphins, 4-3, with Jacksonville committing the game's lone error. The Lady Flames left six runners on base, compared to three for the Dolphins.
- This was Liberty's third shutout of the 2021 ASUN Softball Championship, as the Lady Flames blanked Lipscomb twice in the quarterfinal round last weekend.
- Emily Kirby (14-5) earned her 14th win of the season, coming in for one scoreless inning in the seventh during which she struck out two. Starter Karlie Keeney struck out three, walked two and allowed three hits in six innings of work.
- Alyssa Bilodeau (13-8) drew the tough-luck loss, yielding one run on four hits, walking three and fanning six.
- Bishop went 2-for-3 with a walk and one RBI. Meanwhile, Hudson reached base all three plate appearances, drawing two walks and hitting a double.
Turning Point - The Lady Flames had the best scoring chance during the middle innings, loading the bases with one out in the bottom of the fifth. However, Bilodeau got out of it with foulouts by Amber Bishop-Riley and Kara Canetto.
- Jacksonville drew a leadoff walk to start the seventh inning. Kirby then came on in relief of Keeney. Pinch runner Madison Reynolds was caught stealing, and Kirby fanned the next two batters.
- The Lady Flames made the most of their seventh time at bat, earning the win with a two-out rally.
Beyond the Box Score - The Lady Flames lead the all-time series 4-3 against Jacksonville, winning the last four meetings. This was the first meeting between the two teams in ASUN Softball Championship play and first matchup this season.
- Liberty has posted 19 shutouts this season, its most since tossing 19 shutouts in the 2019 campaign. Today was also the 12th conference tournament shutout in program history.
- Liberty is 12-5 in one-run games this season and 33-4 when scoring first.
- Today was Liberty's program-record seventh walk-off win this season, and second walk-off win off the bat of Bishop. It was also the seventh conference tournament walk-off win in program history and first since May 8, 2003 when Lindsay Schwind's two-out RBI single gave Liberty a 3-2 win over Charleston Southern.
- This was Liberty's 11th win this season in which the winning hit came in the seventh inning or later.
- The Lady Flames have now won 40 or more games in each of the last four full seasons (2017-19, 2021), and have posted six 40-win seasons in program history. Liberty, Florida, Louisiana, Oklahoma and Tennessee are the only teams to date to win 40 or more games each full, non-shortened season from 2017 through present.
- Liberty is now 50-48 all-time in conference tournament play, including 13-11 in conference tournament games under Head Coach Dot Richardson.
- The Lady Flames, who are ranked No. 25 in both major polls this week, are 19-1 in their last 20 games. That stretch includes 12 shutout wins.