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    May 20, 2022 Durham, N.C. RSS | | Box Score Box Score

    Caroline Hudson and Emily Kirby Press Conference

    Coach Richardson Press Conference

    NCAA Feature

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    Liberty senior Emily Kirby tossed a three-hit, 13-strikeout gem in a 2-0 Lady Flames win over No. 19 Georgia, Friday in the first game of the NCAA Durham Regional at Duke Softball Stadium.

    Liberty (44-16) advances to play tomorrow at 1 p.m. against the winner of today’s game between No. 12 national seed Duke and UMBC. The Bulldogs (40-17) face an elimination game tomorrow at 3:30 p.m. against the loser of today’s Duke-UMBC contest.

    This was Liberty’s fifth-ever NCAA Regional game victory, and this is the second time that the Lady Flames have won their Regional opener. In 2018, Liberty earned its first-ever NCAA postseason victory over No. 24, 2-0 in 10 innings to begin the 2018 Columbia Regional.

    Scoring Summary
    Liberty – 1st INNING – Hudson homers to left, Hudson and Howard score, 2-0

    Notable Numbers
    – Liberty outhit Georgia 5-3 for the game, with the Lady Flames recording three errors. The Bulldogs batted 1-for-13 with runners on base and 0-for-8 with runners in scoring position, leaving 10 runners on base.

    -This was just the second time Georgia has been shut out this season. The other was April 4, when No. 4 Alabama and pitcher Lexi Kilfoyl no-hit the Bulldogs 9-0 in six innings.  

    – Two-time ASUN Pitcher of the Year Emily Kirby (14-5) tied her season high with 13 strikeouts, the most times Georgia has been struck out in the single game this season. She allowed three hits and four walks, hitting two batters.

    – Madison Kerpics (18-10) drew the loss, allowing two runs on five3 hits, walking two and striking out 10.

    – Five different Lady Flames had one hit apiece, with Caroline Hudson’s two-run homer in the first inning being the difference.  

    – Savana Sikes went 2-for-3 with a double for the Bulldogs.

     Turning Point
    – Just two batters into the game, all of the scoring was complete. Howard singled to lead off the game and Hudson followed with a towering two-run blast to left.   

    – Kirby struck out three batters in the first, setting the tone for her 13-strikeout blanking of Georgia.

    Beyond the Box Score
    – This was the first all-time meeting between Liberty and Georgia in softball. Georgia was the only SEC opponent Liberty had not faced all-time coming into Regionals.  

    – Liberty and Georgia both made their NCAA Regional debut at the 2002 Columbia Regional. Today was Georgia’s first-ever first-round loss at Regionals, as Georgia had been 19-0 in first-round games coming into the game. 

    – Today began Liberty’s fifth appearance in NCAA Regional play, twice appearing in the Knoxville Regional (2011, 2021) and twice appearing in Columba (2002, 2018).

    – The Durham Regional is the toughest in this year’s tournament based on combined winning percentage (.756).

    – Six Liberty starters, including freshman KC Machado, Raigan Barrett, Rachel Roupe and Paige Bachman, made their NCAA Regional debut.

    – The Lady Flames are 6-1 in two-run games this season, 26-1 when scoring in the first inning and 38-1 when scoring first.

    – Liberty is 3-10 against Top 25 opponents this season, tying the 2007 and 2021 Lady Flames for the program’s most wins over nationally-ranked opponents in a single season.

    – This was the 17th Top 25 win in program history, with four of them coming in NCAA Regional play.

    – Roupe has reached base safely in 19 straight games, while Hudson stretched her hitting streak to 10 and Lou Allan reached for the 14th game in a row.

    – Kirby tossed the second NCAA postseason shutout in program history.

    – Kirby has struck out 10 or more batters five times this season and eight times in her career.

    – Kirby pitched her sixth shutout of the season and 16th for her career. She has two shutouts all-time against SEC teams, including a 10-inning, five-hit shutout of Arkansas on March 16, 2021.

    – This was Liberty’s 17th shutout of the year, including second in a row. Liberty has now tossed six shutouts all-time against Top 25 opponents.

    – Hudson’s 17 homers this season are tied with Shannon Tanski (1997) for the most by a Liberty catcher in program history.