Liberty softball continues on their hot streak, pushing their win streak to seven straight and having won 21 out of their past 22 games. The Lady Flames picked up a top 25 win at home on Wednesday against Duke and then extended their unblemished ASUN record with a three-game sweep over Jacksonville.
WEDNESDAY: LIBERTY 8, No. 9 DUKE 3
Duke, the defending ACC Champions, entered the week ranked No. 9 in two major top 25 polls riding an 11-game win streak. The Lady Flames were able to end that streak, breaking a 3-3 tie with a five-run sixth inning to secure the win.
Liberty loaded the bases with no outs in the bottom of the sixth. Pinch hitters KC Machado and Alexis Soto added RBI singles and Devyn Howard’s sac fly capped the scoring in the frame. Emily Kirby finished off the win with a perfect seventh inning, recording her ninth strikeout of the day in the process.
SATURDAY GAME 1: LIBERTY 3, JACKSONVILLE 0
Liberty opened its three-game ASUN series with a shutout win over the Dolphins in the first of a two-game doubleheader on Saturday. The game remained scoreless until the fourth inning when Kara Canetto gave Liberty its first hit and run of the game with a solo homer. The Lady Flames added a single run in both the fifth and sixth innings, and Karlie Keeney worked around a leadoff single in the seventh to clinch the shutout.
SATURDAY GAME 2: LIBERTY 8, JACKSONVILLE 0 (5 INNINGS)
The Lady Flames scored four times in the fifth inning, backing up an Emily Kirby two-hitter in an 8-0, run-rule victory in game two of Saturday’s doubleheader. It looked like the Dolphins might strike first as they loaded the bases with two outs to begin the game, however Kirby got out of the top of the first with no damage.
Liberty would score three times in the third and once in the fourth before ending the game with four runs on five stright hits to begin the bottom of the fifth.
SUNDAY: LIBERTY 13, JACKSONVILLE 2 (5 INNINGS)
Senior Megan Johnson pitched a one-hit gem and Liberty’s bats exploded for 13 runs in a second straight run-rule win over Jacksonville to conclude the three-game series sweep. In the first inning, the Lady Flames get an RBI double from Caroline Hudson and a two-run home run from Denay Griffin to start the scoring.
Liberty would build a 13-0 lead after four innings and Johnson held a no hitter to that point. With one out in the fifth, Johnson walked a two, the runners would both move up on a wild pitch before a two-out single broke up the no-hitter and shutout.
PLAYER OF THE WEEK: KARA CANETTO
ASUN Preseason Player of the Year, Kara Canetto’s bat was scorching hot this week. She had exactly two hits in all four games, finishing the week 8 for 10 at the plate with 5 runs scored, two RBIs, and a home run. Canetto is now third on the team this season with a .331 batting average.
PITCHER OF THE WEEK: MEGAN JOHNSON
On Sunday, with Liberty recognizing its seniors, including Johnson, she came within just two outs of a no-hitter in the win over Jacksonville. Johnson would finish the game with a complete game win, tossing five innings while allowing just one hit and two runs as the Lady Flames coasted to the win.
Liberty welcomes Tennessee to Lynchburg for a game scheduled at 1 p.m. The Lady Flames ended the Volunteers’ season last year with a 6-4 win in the Knoxville Regional last May. Tennessee is currently 33-13 overall this year and was ranked No. 15 in the country entering the week.
The Lady Flames then head to Jacksonville to take on North Florida for a three-game ASUN series beginning with a doubleheader on Saturday. The Ospreys are the only team within striking distance of Liberty in the ASUN standings as they enter the week with a 16-5 ASUN record.
Liberty will conclude a challenging slate of games this coming week on Tuesday at Virginia Tech. The Hokies entered the week ranked No. 3 in the country.
North Florida…………….16-5, 39-12
Kennesaw State…………6-12, 14-26
Central Arkansas………12-6, 28-16
North Alabama………….11-7, 32-13
Jacksonville State…….10-8, 26-19
Eastern Kentucky………6-12, 10-32