Coach Richardson Postgame Interviews In a battle of the top two seeds in the ASUN North Division, No. 1 seed Liberty downed the host Kennesaw State Owls 4-1 on Friday at Bailey Park.
The Lady Flames (41-13) advance to tomorrow's championship game of the 2021 ASUN Softball Championship. They will face the winner of this evening's elimination game between Kennesaw State and Jacksonville, tomorrow at 1 p.m. A win in that game would give Liberty its fourth conference tournament title all-time and the ASUN's automatic qualifying berth to the 2021 NCAA Division I Softball Championship.
Should Liberty lose the 1 p.m. game, a winner-take-all final would take place shortly after its conclusion.
KSU (25-24) suffered its first loss of the 2021 ASUN Softball Championship, and will have to beat No. 3 South Division seed Jacksonville this evening to advance to tomorrow's championship round. The winner of tonight's game would need to beat Liberty twice tomorrow to be crowned champion.
Scoring Summary Liberty – 3rd INNING – Bishop homers, 1-0 Liberty – 4th INNING – Griffin doubles, Channell scores, 2-0 Liberty – 5th INNING – Channell singles, Wilson scores, 3-0 Liberty – 5th INNING – Howard flies out to right, sacrifice fly, 4-0 Kennesaw State – 7th INNING – Greep homers, 4-1
Notable Numbers - Liberty outhit the Owls 10-4. KSU committed two errors while Liberty recorded one error. The Lady Flames left 10 runners on base while the Owls stranded three.
- Emily Kirby improved to 15-5 on the season, allowing one run on four hits and striking out two.
- Lindsey Kyte (5-6) drew the loss, allowing two runs (one earned) on six hits, walking one and striking out three in 3 2/3 innings. Peyton Elzey allowed two runs on four hits, walking two and striking out two in 2 1/3 innings of relief.
- Kara Canetto batted 3-for-4 with a run scored, good for her team-leading 22nd multiple-hit game and fourth three-hit contest of the season. Autumn Bishop batted 1-for-4, recording her 12th homer of the year. Amber Bishop-Riley went 2-for-3, while Denay Griffin went 1-for-1 with two walks, a double and one RBI.
- KSU's Katie Greep batted 2-for-3 with a homer, one run scored and one RBI.
Turning Point - The Lady Flames broke through on Bishop's solo shot in the third inning before adding one run in the fourth and two in the fifth.
- Kirby retired 11 in a row before allowing a two-out solo home run in the top of the seventh which broke up the shutout.
Beyond the Box Score - The Lady Flames lead the all-time series 11-6 against Kennesaw State, including 5-2 this season. Liberty has won all four meetings with the Owls at Bailey Park this year.
- Liberty will aim for its fourth conference tournament championship and first since winning the 2018 Big South title. Tomorrow will be the Lady Flames' ninth appearance all-time in a conference championship final game.
- Liberty is 34-4 when scoring first this season.
- Bishop hit her 26th career home run, and she is currently tied with Sammi Shivock (2011-14) for seventh place in program history in career homers.
- Kirby is the 12th pitcher in program history to record a 15-win season, and first since Julia DiMartino (17) and Chase Cassady (15) in 2019. Five of those 15-game winners have come under the tutelage of eighth-year pitching coach Paige Cassady.
- Liberty is now 51-48 all-time in conference tournament play, including 14-11 in conference tournament games under Head Coach Dot Richardson.
- The Lady Flames, who are ranked No. 25 in both major polls this week, are 20-1 in their last 21 games. That stretch includes 12 shutout wins.