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Liberty Set to Continue Conference Play
After five consecutive non-conference doubleheaders, the Lady Flames will resume Big South Conference play this weekend, traveling to Clinton, S.C., to take on the Blue Hose of Presbyterian College in a three-game series on Saturday and Sunday.
The first two games will be played as a doubleheader on Saturday at 2 p.m., followed by a single game on Sunday at 1 p.m.
The Lady Flames (33-14, 9-3 Big South) are enjoying their winningest season since 2006. They come into the series with Presbyterian after being swept in a doubleheader by Virginia Tech, 11-4 and 1-0, Wednesday evening. That sweep marked only the third time this season Liberty has dropped back-to-back games. The first was against No. 23 Kentucky and No. 10 Alabama on March 7 and 9, and the other was to Big South regular season champion Radford on March 18, 8-2 and 7-6.
Cassie Hendrix leads the team with a .365 batting average, while Kelly Strickland sits atop all Big South players with 53 RBIs, and is tied for first in the conference with 15 home runs on the year. Her 15 bombs also ties her with Dawn Jeffs for the fifth-most home runs in a single season. Current assistant coach Jessica Moore holds the program record with 21 homers in 2006.
Tiffani Smith is 18-5 in the circle this season, posting a 2.43 ERA with 186 strikeouts in 141 innings of work. She has the most strikeouts this season among Big South pitchers, and also boasts a league-best opposing batting average (.191).
The Blue Hose (18-24, 2-13 Big South) are on a two-game losing streak after falling to Coastal Carolina in the final two games of a three-game series in Conway, S.C., on April 24 and 25. Presbyterian picked up the win in the first game, 6-2, but the Chanticleers claimed the second two contests, 4-2 and 3-0.
Presbyterian's other Big South victory came on March 27, as the Blue Hose defeated Gardner-Webb, 6-5, in Boiling Springs, N.C.
Taylor Staten is batting .325 to lead the Blue Hose, and has recorded seven home runs and 25 RBIs this season. Leslie Hensley leads the pitching staff, posting a 2.70 ERA and an 8-11 overall record in the circle, with 95 strikeouts in 114 innings of work.
Liberty is 4-1 all-time against the Blue Hose after sweeping last year's series, 3-1, 10-0 and 2-1, on April 24 and 25 in Lynchburg. This weekend's trip marks the Lady Flames' first trek to Clinton, S.C.