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Lady Flames to Open 10-Game Homestand, Friday Against Winthrop
The Liberty softball team opens a 10-game homestand with a Big South weekend series against Winthrop, Friday and Saturday. Friday's doubleheader begins at 4 p.m., and the teams will meet on Saturday at 1 p.m.
Liberty (9-17, 3-3 Big South) swept Gardner-Webb this past weekend, before falling twice to Radford on Wednesday. Winthrop (11-21, 0-4) has lost its last 11 contests, but faced five nationally ranked opponents during that span.
The Lady Flames and Eagles met five times last season, with Liberty going 3-2 against Winthrop. These two teams met to open the 2011 Big South Softball Championship, with Winthrop downing Liberty, 5-1, May 12. The following day, the Lady Flames eliminated the Eagles with a no-hit, 3-0 shutout which saw Liberty hit three solo home runs.
How to Follow the Lady Flames
Fans can follow this weekend's action through Gametracker, provided by the Liberty Athletics Communications Department. Live stats can be accessed through the Live Stats link on LibertyFlames.com. Friday's doubleheader will be available for viewing through a live video stream, for a nominal charge, through the Big South Network. Jamie Hall will provide the call on the video stream.
- Liberty opens a 10-game homestand, its longest since a 10-gamer, April 3-17, 2002.
- The Lady Flames fell to Radford, 4-3, in 10 innings in most recent game, Wednesday.
- Jill Stephens led off Wednesday's first game at Radford with a home run.
- Kaylee West set a new program record with 17 putouts during game two, Wednesday.
- Amber Donovan hit a game-winning home run in 7th inning, Sunday at Gardner-Webb.
- 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, March 24-25.
- Liberty overcame a 10-run deficit, defeating ETSU, 14-13, March 6.
- Liberty is the defending Big South Champion, posting a 30-30 record in 2011.
Liberty vs. Winthrop
All-Time Series: Liberty leads, 27-26
Current Streak: Liberty W1
Last Meeting: Liberty 3, Winthrop 0 (5/13/11 in Rock Hill, S.C.)
Last Meeting in Lynchburg: Liberty 3, Winthrop 2 (4/3/10)
Last Winthrop Win: Winthrop 5, Liberty 1 (5/12/11 in Rock Hill, S.C.)
All-Time Series in Lynchburg: Liberty 10, Winthrop 8
Winthrop (11-21, 0-4 Big South) is in search of its first conference win, and has lost 11 games in a row. The Eagles defeated then No. 9 Tennessee, 2-1, Feb. 24. Chelsea Schoenfeldt has hit .356 this season, with three homers and 21 RBIs, while Megan Chapman has a .345 average. Natalie Becker has a 3.60 ERA, going 5-8 so far in 2012.
Liberty holds a slight, 27-26 edge in the all-time series, including 3-2 last season. Winthrop defeated the Lady Flames, 5-1, in both teams' first game of the 2011 Big South Softball Championship, May 12. Liberty then posted a 3-0 blanking to eliminate the Eagles, with Tiffani Smith pitching a no-hitter to keep the Lady Flames' championship run alive.
Liberty Head Coach: Paul Wetmore
Record at Liberty (Seasons): 517-561-1 (19)
Record vs. Winthrop: 27-26
Radford Head Coach: Mark Cooke
Record at Radford (Seasons): 622-616-3 (23)
Record vs. Liberty: 26-27
Liberty knocked off Winthrop, 3-0, May 13, in the elimination round of the 2011 Big South Softball Championship. Tiffani Smith fashioned a no-hitter, the first blanking by a Liberty pitcher in conference tournament history. All three of Liberty's runs came via the long ball, with Meredith Crisante hitting two homers and Kelly Strickland going yard once.
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 272-240 (.531) when playing in its home state since 1994.
Liberty holds a 186-144 (.564) all-time record at Liberty Softball Field, including 1-4 this season.
Lynchburg Launching Pad
Since the start of the 2005 season, the Lady Flames have hit 170 home runs in 129 games played at Liberty Softball Field, an average of 1.32 home runs per game. During that same span, opponents have hit just 82 homers, less than half the total registered by the Lady Flames. Thanks in part to this stat, Liberty is 82-47 (.636) at home since 2005.
Notes from Radford Doubleheader
Liberty fell to Radford twice on Wednesday, with the Highlanders winning game one, 9-1, before escaping with a 4-3, 10-inning victory in the nightcap.
Jill Stephens led off game one with a home run. Stephens is the first Lady Flame to homer as the team's first batter in a game since Ashley Bensinger did so in an 8-0 win over Virginia, May 3, 2011.
Kaylee West set a program record with 17 putouts in game two, breaking the existing mark of 16. Beth Bennett had 16 putouts versus Birmingham-Southern, April 4, 2008.
Alyssa DiMartino pitched a career-high nine innings during the nightcap at Radford, the most innings by a Liberty hurler since Katrina Johnson went the distance in a 10-inning setback to Presbyterian College, April 30, 2011.
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.
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.
In the most recent NCAA Division I softball statistical rankings (March 26):
- 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)
One a Game
The Lady Flames average one home run per game during conference play so far this season, with six home runs in as many Big South contests. Those six home runs have all been hit by different players, and include two solo shots, one two-run homer and three three-run bombs.
Last season, Liberty hit 17 home runs in 18 league contests, with seven different Lady Flames going deep.
Double the Fun
Liberty averaged nearly two doubles per game in six games last 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 10 base hits were of the extra-base variety.
We'll Be Here For Awhile
The next 10 games on Liberty's softball schedule will be played at Liberty Softball Field. It will tie the record for the longest homestand in the program's NCAA Division I history (since 1994). The Lady Flames' last 10-game homestand took place April 3-17, 2002, during the same season in which Liberty captured its first Big South softball title.
The overall program record for longest stretch of home games is 12, March 30-April 6, 1985.