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Lady Flames Head to Radford for Twin Bill, Wednesday

March 27, 2012
|  Lynchburg, Va.
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Liberty and Radford will conclude their Big South Conference regular-season series, with a doubleheader at Radford on Wednesday.

Complete Game Notes

Liberty takes on Big South rival Radford in a road doubleheader, Wednesday at 2 p.m. to complete the regular-season series between the Lady Flames and Highlanders. Radford claimed the first meeting between these two teams in 2012, a 6-3 win on March 21 at Liberty Softball Field.

Storylines
Liberty (9-15, 3-1 Big South) swept Gardner-Webb this past weekend, with Amber Donovan's three-run, seventh-inning home run providing the winning margin in game three. Radford (14-8, 1-0) is currently on a six-game winning streak, with five of those wins coming at home.

The Lady Flames defeated the Highlanders, 3-1, on May 14, 2011, to claim their second Big South Softball Championship. These two teams have been predicted to finish first (Radford) and second (Liberty) in the Big South softball preseason coaches' poll.

How to Follow the Lady Flames
Fans can follow Wednesday's doubleheader through Gametracker, provided by the Liberty Athletics Communications Department. Game one will be aired on 90.9 FM, with live audio for both games available through links on LibertyFlames.com with Nick Pierce providing the call. The game will also be available through a live video stream, for a nominal charge, through the Big South Network.

Quick Hits
- Liberty completes its season series with Commonwealth rival Radford.

- The Lady Flames swept Gardner-Webb this past weekend, winning three straight games.

- Amber Donovan hit game-winning home run in 7th inning, Sunday at Gardner-Webb.

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

- The Lady Flames rank 11th in NCAA Division 1 in double plays turned per game (0.5).

- Liberty had 10 extra-base hits during series sweep of Gardner-Webb.

- Following Wednesday's doubleheader, Liberty's next 10 games will be at home.

- Liberty overcame a 10-run deficit, defeating ETSU, 14-13, March 6.

Liberty vs. Radford
All-Time Series:
Radford leads, 41-25
Current Streak: Radford W1
Last Meeting: Radford 6, Liberty 3 (3/21/12)
Last Meeting in Radford: Radford 4, Liberty 3 (4/28/11)
Last Liberty Win: Liberty 3, Radford 1 (5/14/11 in Rock Hill, S.C. - conference final)

Radford is 14-8, with a 1-0 record in conference play, and has won six games in a row.  The team brings a 14-game home winning streak into Wednesday's action. The Highlanders are led by Nichole Beall, who has hit .397 with five homers and 11 RBIs this season. Jackie Jenkins paces Radford's four-pitcher staff with a 5-2 record and 2.05 ERA.  The Highlanders rank third in the nation, averaging 2.68 stolen bases per game.

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.

Coaching Matchup
Liberty Head Coach:
Paul Wetmore
Record at Liberty (Seasons): 517-559-1 (19)
Record vs. Radford: 25-41

Radford Head Coach: Mickey Dean
Record at Radford (Seasons): 221-103 (6)
Record vs. Liberty: 16-7

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 led the league in five offensive statistics.

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 272-238 (.533) when playing in its home state since 1994.

Last Meeting
The Highlanders downed the Lady Flames, 6-3, on March 21 in the conference opener. Kaylee West and Meredith Crisante both homered during the fifth inning to give Liberty a 3-2 lead, but the Highlanders responded with four in the top of the sixth to gain the victory.

Comeback Kids
The Lady Flames trailed, 5-4, heading into the bottom of the seventh, Sunday at Gardner-Webb. With two runners on and two outs, and facing a 1-2 count, Amber Donovan belted a three-run home run to left, giving Liberty a 7-5 lead, which served as the final score in the game.

Donovan's home run is the latest in a series of comebacks for the Lady Flames, which included a 10-run rally to beat East Tennessee State, March 6. On April 16, 2011, with nobody on and two down in the seventh, Liberty trailed Gardner-Webb, 7-1. The Lady Flames scored seven runs to tie the game and then won, 11-8, in eight innings.

Hit Parade
Liberty is 8-0 this season when registering 10 or more hits, a trend that continued this past weekend. The Lady Flames had 11 hits in their 4-0 win over Gardner-Webb, Saturday, ending an 11-game winless streak, and then recorded 10 base hits in an 8-3 win against the Runnin' Bulldogs in game two.

The team registered nine hits in its 7-5 win at Gardner-Webb on Sunday, its first win this season when totaling fewer than 10 hits.

NCAA Rankings
In the most recent NCAA Division I softball statistical rankings:
  - Liberty is rated 11th in double plays turned per game, at 0.5
  - Amber Donovan ranks 26th in doubles per contest, at 0.33. (leads Big South)
  - The Lady Flames are 64th in doubles per game as a team (1.29)

2X4
On Wednesday against Radford, Liberty scored three runs in the fifth inning to take a 3-2 lead. Kaylee West led off with her first home run of the season. Meredith Crisante then hit a two-run shot to left. It marked the second time this season that Liberty has hit two home runs in the same inning. Crisante and Amber Donovan went yard back-to-back during the fourth inning of a 7-1 win over Savannah State, Feb. 24 in Spartanburg, S.C.

Double the Fun
The Lady Flames averaged nearly two doubles per game in six games this past week, hitting 11 doubles while also adding one triple and five home runs. Out of their 46 hits, 17 (37%) went for extra bases.

In game two against Gardner-Webb, Saturday, Liberty hit four doubles, including two by Meredith Crisante, one triple and one home run, meaning 60 percent of its base hits were of the extra-base variety.

Liberty is slugging at a .517 clip during conference play, raising its season slugging percentage to .392.

Shut the Door
Chandler Ball and Alyssa DiMartino combined to pitch a six-hit shutout, Saturday against Gardner-Webb. Ball pitched the first three innings, allowing just two hits. DiMartino then entered the circle, finishing out the final four innings while striking out a career-high five batters. DiMartino would earn all three victories for the Lady Flames against Gardner-Webb, all in a relief role, as Ball started each game versus the Runnin' Bulldogs.

Ball has a 0.48 ERA as a relief pitcher this season, while DiMartino is 4-0 in relief.