Liberty softball is in Kennesaw, Georgia where the Lady Flames are seeking the program’s first ever ASUN conference championship and fourth conference title of all-time. Liberty advanced to the final four of the championship following the team’s best of three series win over Lipscomb at Liberty Softball Stadium last weekend. The No. 1 seed in the North Division Liberty will join No. 2 seed in the North Kennesaw State, No. 1 seed in the South FGCU, and No. 3 seed in the South Jacksonville for a double elimination tournament this weekend.

We will be providing updates throughout the weekend on all the action in Kennesaw, so check back here for the updates every day this weekend.

Thursday, Day One, May 13, 2021

#1N Liberty 1, #3S Jacksonville 0

Liberty’s Karlie Keeney and Jacksonville’s Alyssa Bilodeau had a pitcher duel to open play this weekend in Kennesaw, Georgia. Bilodeau, who leads the ASUN in ERA, had nine shutouts this season including a no-hitter against Boston College.

Keeney and Bilodeau went toe-to-toe through the first four innings without much damage done on either side. In the bottom of the 5th, the Lady Flames laded the bases with one out for Amber Bishop-Riley and Kara Canetto who each popped up to end the threat. Keeney would get a huge boost from Madison Via’s diving catch moving to her left in right field which robbed what was likely a triple for Jacksonville in the top of the 6th.

Liberty’s ace, Emily Kirby, would come on in relief of Keeney in the top of the 7th after a leadoff walk with the score still tied at 0. The Lady Flames would throw out the runner attempting to steal at 2nd and then Kirby struck out two Dolphins to end the inning.

With two outs in the bottom of the 7th, Caroline Hudson came through in the clutch once again with a double to right field. Mary Claire Wilson would pinch-run for Hudson, and she would score the winning run easily on Autumn Bishop’s single.

 #2N Kennesaw State 8, #1S FGCU 1

After the Eagles took a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the 1st, Kennesaw State took control of the game and advanced to the winner’s bracket of the ASUN Tournament. Taylor Cates’ grand slam in the 3rd inning changed the game as it put the Owls ahead 5-1. KSU would add insurance runs in the 4th, 5th, and 6th.

Friday, Day Two, May 14, 2021

#3S Jacksonville 3, #1S FGCU 1 (elimination game)

The Eagles and Dolphins entered the bottom of the 4th inning still scoreless. Jacksonville’s Alyssa Bilodeau held a no-hitter until the 4th when FGCU finally scraped together one run following Allison Bratek’s two-out single and Reedy Davenport’s double which gave the Eagles a 1-0 lead. That lead wouldn’t last long as Caroline Watson sent a ball over the left field fence in the top of the 5th to tie the game at 1. Neither team could break the tie before the game went to extra innings. In the top of the 8th, Jacksonville’s Hannah Roberts blasted a pitch that would land beyond the left field wall, a two-run shot to give the Dolphins the lead. FGCU is eliminated. Bilodeau gets the win and has allowed just two runs in 15 innings pitched in two games this weekend.

#1N Liberty 4, #2N Kennesaw State 1

Autumn Bishop got the Lady Flames on the board in the bottom of the third. Her bomb shot to right field went over the fence and gave Liberty a 1-0 lead. Liberty did leave two runners on base in the 3rd inning as Emily Sweat smoked a line drive down the first base line which was snagged by the first baseman. Denay Griffin’s RBI double in the 4th inning gave Liberty a 2-0 lead. Savannah Channell added an RBI single and Devyn Howard’s sacrifice fly brought across two more runs in the 5th as the Lady Flames added some separation.

Meanwhile, Liberty ace Emily Kirby held the Owls’ bats in check throughout the afternoon. She pitched a complete game and picked up the win, her 2nd win in as many days. She was riding a shutout with two outs in the 7th inning before KSU had a home run. It’s Kirby’s 12th complete game of the season. With the win, Liberty advances to Saturday’s championship game and will have to be defeated twice by whoever advances.

 #2N Kennesaw State 5, #3S Jacksonville 1 (elimination game)

The Owls scored two runs in the first and never trailed as they staved off elimination and will play for the championship on Saturday. Kennesaw State would add additional runs in the 5th before coasting to the victory over the Dolphins.

Saturday, Day Three, May 15, 2021

#1N Liberty vs #2N Kennesaw State, 1 pm
Second game, if necessary

*all photos courtesy ASUN Sports