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Lady Flames Set for Saturday Tilt at Longwood
Coming off eight straight wins, the Liberty Lady Flames will play their last non-conference road doubleheader this weekend, traveling to Farmville, Va., to take on the Lancers of Longwood. The first game is scheduled for 1 p.m.
The Lady Flames (22-18, 8-3 Big South), had a stellar week at home, sweeping both Hampton and Norfolk State in non-conference tilts on Tuesday and Wednesday, amid some historical events. Head Coach Paul Wetmore picked up his 500th career win after the game two victory over the Spartans on Wednesday, becoming the first Liberty coach in any sport to do so.
In Wednesday's first win over Norfolk State, Katrina Johnson and Grace Nordan combined for the first Liberty no-hitter since Feb. 28, 2009, when Tiffani Smith tossed a no-hitter against Delaware State. Wednesday's feat also marked the 13th no-hitter in program history.
On Tuesday against Hampton, Liberty's six home runs tied a program record. The last time a Liberty team recorded six bombs was on March 3, 2007, against Rhode Island. Also, the Lady Flames' 16 runs in the 16-3 win over the Lady Pirates were the most runs the team has scored in a game since March 3, 2003, when Liberty tallied 16 runs in a win over North Carolina A&T.
Two Lady Flames also notched career highs that day, as Sammi Shivock tied a program record with four runs scored, and Kelly Strickland's six RBIs were the most in a single game in her career.
Liberty has been on a home run derby as of late, tallying 13 home runs over the last three games. In addition, Strickland, Ashley Bensinger, Meredith Crisante and Keely McMillon have all recorded grand slams during the month of April.
Strickland leads the team with a .412 batting average, and ranks first in the Big South with 14 home runs on the year. Bensinger, who is batting .353 with 33 RBIs, has homered in the last three straight contests.
Johnson is pacing the pitching staff with a 2.30 ERA and an 11-5 record. The sophomore has struck out 73 batters in 125.0 innings of work.
The Lancers (28-11) are coming off a split with Binghamton on Thursday at home. Longwood won the first game, 8-0, before dropping the second, 11-9.
Longwood, an independent team, has posted some big wins this season. The Lancers defeated Notre Dame, 2-0, on March 4, and posted two wins over South Carolina on April 9. Against Big South teams, Longwood split a doubleheader with Radford, and swept Charleston Southern.
The team is led by Brooke Short, who is batting .410 with 14 home runs and 44 RBIs. Nichole Simmons and Jordan Cox are also hitting over .330, and Simmons leads the team with seven doubles on the year.
Briana Wells is 25-11 in the circle for Longwood, and has thrown 24 complete games and four shutouts this year. She has struck out 150 batters in 228.0 innings, and posts a 2.43 ERA.
The Lady Flames are 11-20 all-time against Longwood, after splitting a doubleheader at home last season.
It was the Lancers who snapped Liberty's 2010 winning streak of 12 games, the longest in program history, with a 7-6 win on April 24. The Lady Flames responded with a 6-3 game two victory.
Live stats for both games will be available via GameTracker on LibertyFlames.com.