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Liberty to Host Winthrop in Three-Game Series
Prior to Saturday's contest, the players and coaches from both teams will host a hitting skills clinic at Liberty Softball Field, to benefit the Friends of Jaclyn organization, a program that provides support to families with children suffering from brain tumors. This year's Liberty squad has officially adopted sisters Kayla and April Jace as honorary members of the team, and the pair will be honored during a special ceremony on the field just before Saturday's matchup.
The Lady Flames, 15-9 overall and 1-2 in Big South play, are coming off a 2-1 week, defeating 2009 Big South champion Radford, 9-1, before splitting a doubleheader against Virginia on March 24. The win over Radford marked the Highlanders' first and only conference loss so far this season, and the Cavaliers had recently upset No. 2 Arizona State.
Liberty's offense continues to surge, as the Lady Flames have recorded at least nine hits in four of the last five contests, including a season-high 16 hits in a 12-3 win over North Carolina A&T on March 20.
The Liberty bats are paced by Kelly Strickland, who is hitting .387 with 26 RBIs, and her nine home runs ties her for first place among all Big South players. Amber DePasquale hit .500 last week and is batting .344 on the year with two doubles and two home runs.
The Liberty pitching staff is led by last week's Big South Pitcher of the Week, junior Tiffani Smith. Smith is 8-3 on the year, and ranks third in the conference with 85 strikeouts. She boasted a 0.82 ERA last week, picking up wins over Virginia and Radford.
The Eagles are 20-11 overall and 3-0 in conference play after sweeping Presbyterian earlier this week, 9-2, 2-1 and 4-3. Winthrop is led by Pearl Coleshill, who is batting .340 with 10 RBIs, while Taylor Wright has recorded 27 hits and driven in 12 runs this season.
Pitcher Cari Wooldridge leads the Eagles in the circle, posting a 1.70 ERA, leading the Big South in the statistical category, and is 11-7 on the year with 124 strikeouts.
Winthrop enters the series on a five-game winning streak. The Eagles' last loss came at home on March 25, when the squad fell to Charlotte, 2-1.
Liberty is 21-22 all-time against Winthrop. After being swept by the Eagles during the 2009 regular season, the Lady Flames defeated the No. 2 seed in the second round of the Big South Championship, 5-1, before Winthrop was eliminated from the tournament by Charleston Southern.
All three games will be available via live stats, and Friday's doubleheader marks the first live video stream of the year from Liberty Softball Field.