Liberty to Compete in Durham Regional to Open NCAA Softball Championship
Back-to-back ASUN champion Liberty (43-16) will open competition in the 2022 NCAA Division I Softball Championship on Friday at noon on ESPNU, playing in the Durham Regional against 2021 Women’s College World Series participant Georgia. The No. 12 national seed, Duke, will host the four-team regional, Friday through Sunday, at Duke Softball Stadium. In the other side of the bracket, No. 12 seed Duke will face UMBC, Friday at 2:30 p.m.
Tickets will go on sale at 3 p.m. on Tuesday, May 17.
NCAA Durham Regional Schedule
Duke Softball Stadium
Friday, May 20
Game 1: Liberty vs. Georgia – Noon
Game 2: No. 12 Duke vs. UMBC – 2:30 p.m.
Saturday, May 21
Game 3: Game 1 Winner vs. Game 2 Winner – TBA
Game 4: Game 1 Loser vs. Game 2 Loser – TBA (loser eliminated)
Game 5: Game 3 Loser vs. Game 4 Winner – TBA (loser eliminated)
Sunday, May 22
Game 6: Regional Final – Game 3 Winner vs. Game 5 winner – TBA
Game 7: * if necessary – Rematch of Game 6 – TBA
The winner of this week’s Durham Regional will face the winner of the Los Angeles Regional, next Friday through Sunday.
Liberty will be facing Georgia for the first time in program history. Georgia is the only SEC team that Liberty has never faced in softball.
The Lady Flames defeated then No. 9 Duke on April 20 at Liberty Softball Stadium. Liberty broke a 3-3 tie with a five-run sixth inning, snapping No. 9 Duke’s 11-game winning streak with an 8-3 win. Liberty is 2-1 all-time against Duke in softball.
Liberty is 12-10 versus UMBC, including 0-1 against the Retrievers in the NCAA Division I Softball Championship (2002).
Liberty went posted a 23-1 conference record, earning the No. 1 seed for the ASUN Softball Championship. The Lady Flames opened the quarterfinal round with a 6-4 win over No. 4 seed North Alabama on Thursday. Liberty then run-ruled host North Florida 9-1 in six innings on Friday winning the championship via run rule, 9-0 in five innings over UNF, Saturday.
Junior Kara Canetto was named ASUN Tournament MVP and was joined on the All-Tournament team by sophomores Karlie Keeney and Mary Claire Wilson and freshman Rachel Roupe.
The Lady Flames have gone 29-4 in their last 33 games after starting the season at 14-12. Liberty is one of six NCAA Division I softball programs to win 40 or more games each of the last five full seasons (2017-19, 2021 and 2022), joining Florida, Florida State, Louisiana, Oklahoma and UCLA.
This will be Liberty’s fifth appearance all-time in the NCAA Division I Softball Championship and second in a row. Competing in the NCAA Softball Championship for the fourth time, Liberty made its second appearance in a Regional final in 2021. The Lady Flames served as the No. 2 seed for the Knoxville Regional, eliminating Eastern Kentucky and the host No. 9 national seed Tennessee Lady Vols. Liberty fell to eventual Women’s College World Series semifinalist James Madison twice at the Regional.
The team made its first postseason appearance in 2002, competing in the Columbia, S.C., Regional against No. 1 UCLA and UMBC. The Lady Flames next qualified for the NCAA Knoxville Regional in 2011, falling to No. 5 Tennessee and No. 19 Georgia Tech.
This is the fifth full season in a row in which Liberty will compete in the postseason, as the Lady Flames won the inaugural Postseason National Invitational Softball Championship in 2017. Following its 2018 NCAA Columbia Regional Final appearance, Liberty won the 2019 NISC Lynchburg Regional to advance to the NISC National round for the second time.
The Lady Flames went 4-12 against teams who qualified for the 2022 NCAA Division I Softball Championship, including a win over national seed Duke, Notre Dame, Ohio State and Lehigh. Liberty posted a 2-10 record against Top 25 teams, defeating then No. 23 Notre Dame on March 5 before topping No. 9 Duke 8-3 on April 20.