No. 1 Seed Lady Flames Top No. 4 Seed Lions 6-4

Liberty University basketball (WSLS)

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – No. 1 seed Liberty began its title defense with a 6-4 win over No. 4 seed North Alabama in the ASUN Softball Championship quarterfinal, Thursday at UNF Softball Complex.

With the win, Liberty (41-16) advances to tomorrow’s semifinal against tournament host, No. 3 seed North Florida. The Lions (38-17) fall into an elimination game today at 5:30 p.m. against No. 2 Central Arkansas.

Scoring Summary

North Alabama – 1st INNING – Land reaches on error, Harper scores, 1-0

Liberty – 1st INNING – Allan singles to left, Canetto scores, 1-1

Liberty – 3rd INNING – Canetto singles to left, Hudson scores, 2-1

Liberty – 3rd INNING – Allan singles to left, Canetto scores, 3-1

Liberty – 6th INNING – Soto singles on bunt, Wilson and Roupe score, 5-1

Liberty – 6th INNING – Hudson singles to left, Howard advances, Barrett scores, 6-1

North Alabama – 7th INNING – Land walks with bases loaded, Jones and Bevis advance, Harper scores, 6-2

North Alabama – 7th INNING – Broadfoot singles to right center, Land advances, Jones and Bevis score, 6-4

Notable Numbers

- Liberty and North Alabama came into the game as the top two hitting teams in the ASUN. The Lady Flames outhit the Lions 10-8, with both teams committing one error. UNA left 10 runners on base, compared to six runners stranded for Liberty.

- Karlie Keeney (18-7) earned her 18th win of the season, allowing four runs (three earned) on seven hits, walking three and striking out five. Emily Kirby pitched 1/3 of an inning of relief, walking one and allowing one hit. Megan Johnson pitched a one-out save.

- Maci Birdyshaw (18-4) drew the loss, allowing three runs on five hits in three innings. Elena Escobar yielded three runs on five hits, walking one and fanning one in 2 2/3 innings.

- Kara Canetto batted 3-for-4 with a triple, two runs scored and one RBI. Caroline Hudson batted 2-for-4 with one RBI and one run scored, while Lou Allan went 2-for-3 with two RBI. Alexis Soto went 1-for-1 with two RBI.

- UNA’s Lexi Harper batted 2-for-3 with two runs scored. Emma Broadfoot (1-for-3) drove in two runs.

Turning Point

- Both teams scored a two-out run in the first.  Liberty then went ahead with a two-out rally in the third on RBI hits from Canetto and Allan.

- Liberty built a 6-1 cushion with three runs in the sixth. UNA loaded the bases with one out against Keeney in the top of the seventh. Kirby then came in, yielding a bases-loaded walk and a two-run single. Megan Johnson entered with runner on the corners and got the final out.

Beyond the Box Score

- Liberty is 5-2 all-time against North Alabama in softball, including 4-0 this season. North Alabama’s four runs scored today are the most the Lions have scored in a game against Liberty.

- Liberty has won its first game at the conference tournament in each of the last six seasons.

- The Lady Flames are 7-3 all-time in ASUN Softball Championship play after winning their first conference tournament meeting all-time against UNA.

- Canetto now leads Liberty with 22 multiple-hit games, including three three-hit contests. She has gone 9-for-15 in four games played at UNF Softball Complex this season.

- Liberty is 7-0 all-time at UNF Softball Complex.

- Roupe has reached base safely in 16 straight games, the longest active consecutive games reaching base streak on the team.

- Keeney became the ninth player in program history with 40 career wins. Her 18 wins this season are a career high and the eighth most in a single season in program history.

- Howard’s 36 walks are tied with Ashley Bensinger (2010) for the second most in a single season in program history.

- Hudson’s 15 RBI this season are tied with Jessica Moore (2005) for the eight most in a single season in program history.

- Liberty is 5-1 this season in games decided by two runs, and 23-1 when scoring in the first inning.