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Lady Flames Open Conference Play with Radford, Wednesday

March 20, 2012
|  Lynchburg, Va.
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Alyssa DiMartino held No. 15 Baylor to two hits on Friday.

Complete Game Notes

Liberty opens the 2012 Big South Conference softball schedule, playing host to rival Radford on Wednesday at 4 p.m. The Highlanders and Lady Flames, who met in the Big South Championship final in both 2009 and 2011, were predicted to finish first and second, in that order, in this year's preseason Big South Softball coaches' poll. The Lady Flames then host Cornell of the Ivy League in a doubleheader, Thursday, starting at 2 p.m.

Storylines
Liberty (6-12) returns following an eight-game Spring Break trip to Texas, facing Radford (12-8) in the conference opener for the third season in a row. The Lady Flames have gone 11-7 in their first conference home game all-time. Liberty hosts Cornell (6-6) for the second straight year, after going over 13 years in between meetings (1998-2011).

How to Follow the Lady Flames
Fans can follow this week's home games through Gametracker, provided by the Liberty Athletics Communications Department. Live stats can be accessed through the Live Stats link on LibertyFlames.com. All three games will be available through a live audio stream provided by Flames Sports Network, with Alan York providing play by play on Wednesday and Nick Pierce calling Thursday's doubleheader.

Quick Hits
- Liberty opens Big South play against Radford for the third season in a row.

- The Lady Flames are 7-11 all-time in conference openers.

- Liberty will look to reverse fortunes, having sustained eight straight defeats.

- Liberty overcame a 10-run deficit with a 10-run inning in its 10th game of 2012, winning game two, 14-13. The game was Liberty's first home night game in program history.

- Meredith Crisante was named Big South Softball Player of the Week, Feb. 27.

- The Lady Flames are 186-141 all-time at Liberty Softball Field

- Amber Donovan tied a Division I record with three doubles, Feb. 24, vs. Savannah St.

- Liberty posted a five-game winning streak, Feb. 11-25, averaging 9.2 runs and 13 hits.

- The Lady Flames went 30-30 in 2011, winning the Big South Championship.

Liberty vs. Radford
All-Time Series:
Radford leads, 40-25
Current Streak: Liberty W1
Last Meeting: Liberty 3, Radford 1 (5/14/11 in Rock Hill, S.C. - conference final)

Radford enters conference play with a 12-8 overall record, having won all four games at its home invitational this past weekend. The Highlanders are led by Nichole Beall, who shared Big South Co-Player of the Year honors with Kelly Strickland in 2011. Beall hits .421 with five homers and 11 RBIs this season. Jackie Jenkins paces Radford's four-pitcher staff with a 4-2 record and 1.91 ERA.

Radford leads the all-time series, 40-25, over Liberty. These two teams split four games last season, with the Lady Flames claiming the most important one, a 3-1 win over the Highlanders, May 14, in the Big South Softball Championship final. In four meetings with Radford last season, Liberty hit .304, while the Highlanders had a .182 average.

Liberty vs. Cornell
All-Time Series:
Cornell leads, 4-2
Current Streak: Liberty W1
Last Meeting: Liberty 9, Cornell 1 (03/24/2011 in Lynchburg, Va.)

Cornell (6-6) has alternated wins and losses during the early portion of the season. The Big Red is on a Spring Break trip, playing games in Virginia and Delaware. Erin Keene leads Cornell with a .382 batting average, while Alyson Onyon has a 1.71 ERA.

Cornell holds a 4-2 lead in the all-time series, and is one of eight teams on this year's schedule that the Lady Flames faced during their inaugural Division I season, 1994. Liberty and Cornell split a doubleheader, March 24, 2011 in Lynchburg.

Liberty is 9-19 all-time against Ivy League opponents, including 2-1 last season, as the Lady Flames split with Cornell and downed Princeton, 8-2, on March 5.

Conference Openers
Liberty is 7-11 in conference openers since starting competition in the Big South in 1994. The Lady Flames are 11-7 in conference home openers all-time.

Liberty opens the conference schedule against Radford for the fourth time, and third year in a row. The Lady Flames' most recent conference-opening victory came April 4, 2008 against Birmingham Southern.
Radford downed Liberty, 5-4, March 26, 2011 in Lynchburg to begin league play. Jill Stephens led off the seventh inning with a home run, trimming the deficit to one run.

Commonwealth of Success
The Lady Flames will play at least 31 games in the Commonwealth of Virginia this season, including 21 home games. Liberty went 11-12 in games played in Virginia last season, and is 272-235 (.536) when playing in its home state since 1994.

Liberty holds a 186-141 (.569) all-time record at Liberty Softball Field, including 1-1 this season.

Turn Two
Liberty's defense provided a spark during the Texas trip, turning seven double plays over the eight-game stay in the Lonestar State. The Lady Flames registered two double plays against Texas State on Tuesday, and then added two more double plays on Friday versus No. 15 Baylor. For the season, the Lady Flames rank 35th in NCAA Division I softball in double plays per game, at 0.41.

Take One For the Team
Liberty batters were hit by a pitch three times against Buffalo, March 16, as Kelly Srickland, Meredith Crisante and Megan Robinson were all plunked. The last time the Lady Flames reached base three times via hit by pitch was Feb. 14, 2010 at St. John's.

Lynchburg Launching Pad
Since the start of the 2005 season, the Lady Flames have hit 168 home runs in 126 games played at Liberty Softball Field, an average of 1.33 home runs per game. During that same span, opponents have hit just 79 homers, less than half the total registered by the Lady Flames. Thanks in part to this stat, Liberty is 82-44 (.651) at home since 2005.

Last season, the Lady Flames slugged 28 homers in 18 home games, averaging 1.6 home runs per contest at Liberty Softball Field. Opponents hit just eight round trippers in Lynchburg during the 2011 season.

What a Comeback!
The Lady Flames battled back from a 12-2 deficit during a 14-13 victory over East Tennessee State, March 6. Liberty scored 10 runs on 11 hits in the bottom of the fourth to tie the game at 12-all, and won on a sixth-inning sacrifice fly by Hanna Nichols.

Liberty's 14-13 win over East Tennessee State:
  - Marked the largest deficit overcome in Liberty's NCAA Division I softball history.
  - Was the first game ever played under lights at Liberty Softball Field.
  - Saw the Lady Flames post a 10-run inning for the first time since April 1, 2006.
  - Included a Liberty Softball Field-record 18 base hits by the Lady Flames.
  - Tied Liberty's season high for runs scored in a single game.

Marquee Matchup
Liberty and Radford have been the top two teams in the Big South over the past few seasons, with Radford winning the conference title in 2009 and 2010 and the Lady Flames claiming the championship last season.

Also, Wednesday's game features the 2011 Big South Co-Players of the Year, in Liberty's Kelly Strickland and Radford's Nichole Beall. Strickland paced the conference in homers last season and finished second in four additional categories, while Beall lead the league in five offensive statistics.