Back-to-Back! Liberty Earns 2nd Straight ASUN Title, Wins Final 9-0 at UNF
No. 1 seed Liberty earned its second straight ASUN Softball Championship title, downing third-seeded North Florida 9-0 in five innings, Saturday at UNF Softball Complex.
The Lady Flames (43-16) earned the ASUN’s automatic qualifying berth to the 2022 NCAA Division I Softball Championship, whose field will be announced tomorrow at 7 p.m. on ESPN2. North Florida, making its second appearance in the ASUN final, finishes at 42-17, tying its program NCAA Division I record for single-season wins.
Liberty earned its second ASUN title in a row after winning three conference tournament titles (2002, 2011, 2018) while in the Big South. This is the first time in program history that the Lady Flames have claimed back-to-back conference tournament titles. Before this year, USC Upstate (2015-17) was the most recent ASUN team to win consecutive ASUN Softball Championship titles.
Liberty senior Kara Canetto was named the ASUN Tournament MVP, becoming the sixth Liberty player and first since Amber Bishop-Riley to be named conference tournament MVP. She was joined on the all-tournament team by Karlie Keeney, Rachel Roupe and Mary Claire Wilson.
Liberty – 1st INNING – Machado reaches on an error, Wilson and Canetto advance, Hudson scores, 1-0
Liberty – 1st INNING – Roupe triples to right center, Machado, Wilson and Canetto score, 4-0
Liberty – 1st INNING – Barrett singles to right, Roupe scores, 5-0
Liberty – 3rd INNING – Barrett fouls out, Roupe advances to third, steals home, 6-0
Liberty – 4th INNING – Soto walks with bases loaded, Roupe and Plummer advance, Canetto scores, 7-0
Liberty – 4th INNING – Bachman reaches on an error, Roupe and Plummer score, 9-0
– Liberty outhit UNF 9-3 for the game, with the Ospreys committing three errors which led to seven unearned runs.
– Liberty outscored opponents a combined 24-5 this weekend.
– Karlie Keeney (19-7) earned her 19th win, pitching a three-hit shutout with three walks and four strikeouts. Keeney pitched her seventh shutout of the season.
– Halle Arends (20-6) drew the loss, allowing five unearned runs on three hits and walking one in 2/3 of an inning. Morgan Clausen allowed four runs (two earned) on six hits in 3 1/3 innings.
– Kara Canetto batted 2-for-3 with two runs, while Roupe went 2-for-3 with a double, triple, three runs scored and three RBI. Lou Allan went 2-for-3.
– North Florida loaded the bases in the first but was unable to score.
– Liberty scored five runs after two outs in the bottom of the first, capitalizing on two UNF errors. The Lady Flames added one run in the third and three in the fourth.
– After nearly an hour of a lightning delay, Liberty closed out the championship with a scoreless fifth.
Beyond the Box Score
– This was Liberty’s fourth conference tournament final under ninth-year head coach Dot Richardson. In all four instances (2017 at Longwood, 2018 at Radford, 2021 at Kennesaw State, 2022 at North Florida), Liberty faced the host school in the winners’ bracket final before meeting the host again in the final.
– Liberty is the first team to earn a run-rule victory in the ASUN Softball Championship final round since 2017 when USC Upstate defeated FGCU 8-0 in five innings in the title game.
– The Lady Flames are 9-3 all-time in ASUN Softball Championship play, including 3-1 against North Florida. These two teams split a pair of conference tournament games in 2019. That year, UNF fell to Lipscomb in its first ASUN final appearance.
– Liberty is 18-11 in conference tournament games under Coach Richardson.
– This is the eighth straight ASUN Softball Championship in which the champion went 3-0 in the main draw.
– Canetto is the fifth conference tournament MVP in program history, joining Katie Phillips (co-MVP in 1998), Ali Thompson (2002), Tiffani Smith (2011), Autumn Bishop (2018) and Amber Bishop-Riley (2021).
– Liberty is 9-2 all-time against North Florida in softball, including 5-0 this season. All five meetings this year came at UNF Softball Complex.
– Defending champion Liberty made its 10th appearance all-time in a conference tournament final.
– Liberty is 9-0 all-time at UNF Softball Complex, including 6-0 this season.
– Roupe has reached base safely in 18 straight games, the longest active consecutive games reaching base streak on the team.
– Liberty has posted 12 run-rule victories this season, including back-to-back run-rule wins over UNF to finish off the title run. Liberty’s program record for run-rule wins is 13, set in 2017.