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Liberty Hosts Coastal to Conclude Regular Season
The Liberty Lady Flames will wrap up the 2010 regular season this weekend by hosting Big South opponent Coastal Carolina in a three-game series at Liberty Softball Field.
A doubleheader is scheduled to begin at 2 p.m. tomorrow, followed by a single game at 1 p.m. on Saturday.
Saturday also marks Liberty's annual Senior Day, and the 2010 graduating class will be recognized prior to the first pitch. Those recognized will be J'nae Jefferson, student assistant coach Dana Wheeler and student assistant athletic trainer Kayla Zambanini.
Liberty has already clinched a second-place finish in the regular-season conference standings, and will enter next week's Big South Championship as the No. 2 seed, behind the top-seeded Radford Highlanders. The Lady Flames were chosen to finish third in the league's preseason poll. This weekend's series will determine the remaining seeds in the tournament, as there is currently a three-way tie for third place between Winthrop, Gardner-Webb and Charleston Southern.
The Lady Flames (34-16, 10-5 Big South) are coming off of a 1-2 series at Presbyterian last weekend in Clinton, S.C.
This year's Liberty squad is ranked No. 39 in the nation in scoring, averaging 5.54 runs per game, and the 2010 team has scored 277 runs through 50 games, compared to 124 runs through the first 50 games in 2009. Cassie Hendrix leads the team with a .373 overall batting average, and she is hitting .512 against conference opponents. Kelly Strickland leads all Big South players with 54 RBIs, and is tied for first with Radford's Nichole Beall with 15 home runs on the year.
Pitcher Tiffani Smith (18-6) is also among the top pitchers in the conference, and has recorded the most strikeouts (192) while having the lowest opposing batting average (.193). Freshman Kat Johnson (8-4) is ranked second in the Big South with a .223 opposing batting average and a 2.16 overall ERA.
Coastal Carolina enters this weekend's series with a 25-26 overall record 6-9 in the Big South. The Chanticleers are also 6-11 on the road, while the Lady Flames post a 13-2 record in games played at Liberty Softball Field this season.
Coastal Carolina is led by Jazmin Daigle, who is batting .391 with 27 RBIs and seven homers, while Cacia Pierre is hitting .350 with five home runs and 21 RBIs. Ashley Frederick (14-15) leads the pitching staff, posting a 2.62 ERA with 133 strikeouts in 184 complete innings of work.
The Chanticleers are currently on a two-game winning streak after taking two of three games from Winthrop last week in Rock Hill, S.C.
The Lady Flames swept the Chanticleers during last year's regular-season series, 8-1, 8-3 and 11-9, before defeating them again in the first round of the 2009 Big South Championship, 4-2. Liberty has won the last five head-to-head meetings, and the Lady Flames are 21-26 all-time against Coastal Carolina. During last year's series, Liberty recorded 31 hits and scored 27 runs in three games.
The last Chanticleer victory against the Lady Flames came on April 13, 2008, when Coastal beat Liberty, 5-2, in Conway, S.C., during the 2008 regular season.