JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Top-seeded Liberty built an 8-0 lead over No. 3 seed North Florida on Friday, earning a spot in the 2022 ASUN Softball Championship final with a 9-1, six-inning win at UNF Softball Complex.
Liberty (42-16) advances to tomorrow’s final, which is scheduled for a 1 p.m. first pitch. UNF (41-16) played their way back through the losers’ bracket, and will get a rematch with the Flames. The Ospreys would have to beat Liberty twice tomorrow to win the title.
Liberty – 1st INNING – Canetto reaches on error, Hudson advances, Howard scores, 1-0
Liberty – 1st INNING – Wilson singles to left, Canetto advances, Hudson scores, 2-0
Liberty – 1st INNING – Machado singles to left, Wilson advances, Canetto scores, 3-0
Liberty – 1st INNING – Roupe grounds out the first, Machado advances, Wilson scores, 4-0
Liberty – 2nd INNING – Bachman homers to left, 5-0
Liberty – 2nd INNING – Machado singles to center, Wilson and Allan advance, Canetto scores, 6-0
Liberty – 2nd INNING – Roupe singles to left, Machado advances, Wilson and Allan score, 8-0
UNF – 5th INNING – Jackson singles up the middle, Bejarano scores, 8-1
Liberty – 6th INNING – Wilson singles to left, Heidorn scores, 9-1
- Liberty outhit UNF 13-4 for the game, with the Lady Flames recording three errors compared to one for the Ospreys. Both teams stranded six runners.
- Two-time ASUN Pitcher of the Year Emily Kirby (13-5) earned the win, allowing one run on four hits, striking out two in 4 1/3 innings. Karlie Keeney pitched 1 2/3 hitless innings with two strikeouts.
- 2021 ASUN All-Conference first team pitcher Morgan Clausen (14-5) drew the loss, allowing four runs (two earned) in one inning. Izzy Kelly yielded four runs on five hits in 2/3 of an inning before Erin Kyle pitched four innings and allowed just one run on five hits.
- Five different Lady Flames recorded two hits each. Mary Claire Wilson went 2-for-3 with two RBI and two runs scored, while KC Machado batted 2-for-3 with two RBI. Paige Bachman (2-for-3) homered, while Lou Allan and Devyn Howard both went 2-for-4. Rachel Roupe batted 1-for-3 with three RBI.
- UNF’s Hayley Bejarano went 1-for-3 with a triple and one run scored.
- The Lady Flames scored four runs in the first and doubled their lead with a four-run second which Bachman started with a solo home run.
- UNF broke up the shutout bid with back-to-back hits in the top of the fifth, but didn’t manage any offense against reliever Keeney. In the bottom of the sixth, Wilson’s RBI single ended the game.
Beyond the Box Score
- Liberty’s 42 wins are the fourth most in a single season in program history and most since going 44-15 last season.
- The Lady Flames are 8-3 all-time in ASUN Softball Championship play, including 2-1 against North Florida. These two teams split a pair of conference tournament games in 2019.
- Defending champion Liberty will be making its 10th appearance all-time in a conference tournament final. The Lady Flames are looking for their fifth-ever conference tournament title, and first instance of back-to-back titles.
- Liberty is looking to be the first team to win back-to-back ASUN Softball Championships since USC Upstate won three straight from 2015 through 2017.
- Liberty is 8-0 all-time at UNF Softball Complex.
- Roupe has reached base safely in 17 straight games, the longest active consecutive games reaching base streak on the team.
- Liberty’s nine runs scored today were the most that the Lady Flames have scored in a single ASUN Softball Tournament game.
- Paige Bachman is the first Liberty freshman to hit a conference tournament home run since Amber Bishop in the 2017 Big South Softball Championship.
- Kirby is 5-1 all-time in ASUN Softball Championship games.
- Liberty has posted 11 run-rule victories this season, and today was the first conference tournament run-rule win for the Lady Flames since beating Lipscomb 8-0 in five innings, May 8, 2021.