LYNCHBURG, Va. -- The Liberty softball team will make its third postseason appearance in a row, as the Lady Flames have been selected to compete in the 2019 National Invitational Softball Championship (NISC). Liberty will host a six-team NISC Regional, Thursday through Saturday at Kamphuis Field at Liberty Softball Stadium.
Liberty will serve as a host site for the NISC for the second time in the last three years. In 2017, Liberty hosted both the Regional and National levels of the tournament, capturing the title.
The Lynchburg Regional will include the host Lady Flames (37-20), along with Appalachian State (31-23), George Washington (42-16), Kent State (27-24), Marshall (39-20) and Rutgers (28-24).
Liberty has the region's best RPI, at 57. The Lady Flames finished second in the ASUN standings at 16-5 during this their inaugural season in the conference before placing third at the ASUN Championship. Liberty went on a program-record 12-game conference winning streak this season.
Directed by two-time Big South Coach of the Year Dot Richardson, last year's Lady Flames went a program-best 49-14, making it to the NCAA Columbia Regional final after posting their first two NCAA postsason victories. Liberty finished last season with an RPI of 29 and opened this year at No. 22 in the Softball America Top 25 Poll.
Liberty (1.55 ERA) is currently ranked fourth in the nation in team ERA, and the Lady Flames have tossed 16 shutouts. Liberty has thrown two no-hitters, including a perfect game from Julia DiMartino versus Princeton and a four-pitcher no-hitter versus Quinnipiac.
Liberty's Julia DiMartino, Amber Bishop and Autumn Bishop were all named to the NFCA All-Mid-Atlantic Region in both 2017 and 2018. This year, Liberty led all league schools with six ASUN All-Conference selections, led by four first-teamers: Autumn (1B) and Amber Bishop (2B), Jaclyn Amader (UTL) and Julia DiMartino (P)
DiMartino, two-time Big South Pitcher of the Year, is 18-10 with a 1.19 ERA, .204 opponents batting average, five shutouts and six saves. Chase Cassady is 13-3 with a 1.34 ERA and a .208 opponents batting average. DiMartino (12th nationally) and Cassady (21st) are ranked second and third in the ASUN in ERA. Liberty, UCLA, Alabama and Oklahoma are the only teams in NCAA Division I softball to have multiple pitchers ranked in the top 25 nationally in ERA.
Amber Bishop (.369) leads the ASUN in hits (69) and home runs (12) also leading the team in runs (38), doubles (14) and RBI (36). Her twin sister, Autumn Bishop, hits .345 and leads the ASUN with a .451 on base percentage. Madison Via (.322) leads the team with 17 stolen bases and five triples (first in the ASUN). Jaclyn Amader (.315) is second on the team with 27 RBI, while Sarah Robertson (.311) carries a .403 on base percentage.
- Liberty has played in 14 postseason games over the last two seasons (10 NISC, 4 NCAA)
- In two years of the NISC, only 50 percent of Regional hosts (5-of-10) have won Regionals.
- The Lady Flames are 28-1 when scoring four or more runs, and 2-9 when allowing four or more.
- Liberty has received votes in national polls five different weeks this season.
- Amber Bishop has hit two walk-off homers this season (vs. Stetson and Radford).
Liberty Softball Stadium
Thursday, May 16
Game 1: Appalachian State vs. Rutgers – 10 a.m. - Live Stats
Game 2: George Washington vs. Marshall – 1 p.m. - Live Stats
Game 3: Liberty vs. Game 1 Winner – 4 p.m. - Live Stats
Game 4: Kent State vs. Game 2 Winner - 7 p.m. - Live Stats
Friday, May 17
Game 5: Game 1 Loser vs. Game 4 Loser – 10 a.m. (loser eliminated) - Live Stats
Game 6: Game 2 Loser vs. Game 3 Loser – 1 p.m. (loser eliminated) - Live Stats
Game 7: Game 3 Winner vs. Game 4 Winner – 4 p.m. - Live Stats
Game 8 : Game 5 Winner vs. Game 6 Winner - 7 p.m. (loser eliminated) - Live Stats
Saturday, May 18
Game 9: Game 8 Winner vs. Game 7 Loser, 10 a.m. (loser eliminated) - Live Stats
Game 10: Game 7 Winner vs. Game 9 Winner, 1 p.m. - Live Stats
Game 11: if necessary, 4 p.m. ** Live Stats
** - Game 11 will be necessary if the winner of Game 9 defeats the winner of Game 7, with the winner of Game 11 declared the champion.