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Rivals LU and RU Clash for Weekend Series

April 18, 2008  Lynchburg, Va.  RSS
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Beth Bennett and the Lady Flames return to Big South action this weekenen when Liberty faces arch rival Radford for three games.

Beth Bennett and the Lady Flames return to Big South action this weekenen when Liberty faces arch rival Radford for three games.

Game 1
Liberty at Radford
Saturday - Noon
Live Stats - Live Video

Game 2
Liberty at Radford
Saturday - 2 p.m.
Live Stats - Live Video

Game 3
Radford at Liberty
Sunday - 2:30 p.m.
Live Stats - Live Audio

The Lady Flames will continue their Tour de Commonwealth this weekend, facing their third of five-straight in-state opponents when they take on arch rival Radford for a three-game set.

A new feature to the Big South schedule this year, Liberty and Radford will split the series over two locations. The two squads will square off for two games at the Dedmon Center Softball Field on Saturday, starting at Noon.

The three-game series will wrap up Sunday in Lynchburg with a single game at the Liberty Softball Field at 2:30 p.m.

Liberty is looking to regroup after back-to-back doubleheaders sweeps against Longwood and No. 19 Virginia Tech early this week.

On Tuesday, the Lancers continued the dominance over the Lady Flames, claiming two wins to push their winning streak against Liberty to nine straight. During the nightcap, Briana Wells held Liberty's bats in check by tossing her first career no-hitter, breaking a string of 102 games where the Lady Flames have recorded at least one hit.

The following day, Liberty squared off against its third nationally ranked opponent this season, taking on the Hokies on the one-year anniversary of its campus tragedy. An Ashley Williams two-run home run during the sixth inning, helped Liberty tie the game against national player of the year candidate Ashley Tincher.

However, Virginia Tech came storming back with five runs in the bottom half of the frame, thanks in part to five Liberty walks, following by three strikeouts in the seventh to give the senior pitcher 17 in the contest and the game-one victory. During the nightcap, the homestanding Hokies scored nine runs over the first two innings en route to a 9-1, five-inning victory to complete the sweep.

The Rap Sheet on Radford
The Highlanders enter the weekend fresh off a doubleheader sweep over Appalachian State on Thursday, upping Radford's record to 32-12 overall and 5-4 at Radford. The home team for the first two games of the series enters with a 4-2 Big South record, putting the squad in a tie with Coastal Carolina for second place in the latest Big South standings.

Radford boasts five players with a batting average about the .300 mark, starting with catcher Sarah Himan. The sophomore is batting .380, which ranks second in the Big South, helping the Highlanders lead the league with a .293 team batting average.

Vicky Madden (.363) and Hope Creasy (.355) follow directly behind Himan, giving Radford three of the top six hitters in the Big South.

Big South Preseason Pitcher of the Year Ashley Taylor leads the Big South with a 1.22 ERA and is the league's only 20-game winner. The senior has fanned 168 batters over 177.2 innings of work, while also leading the league with six saves.

Series with the Highs
Living up to their billing as arch rivals, Liberty and Radford have faced each other more times than any other opponent in Lady Flames' program history. The Highlanders currently lead the overall series, 28-20, since 1994, which means Liberty and Radford will meet for the 50th time since Liberty's program was reinstated 15 years ago.

Early Season Preview
In a rare opportunity, Liberty and Radford crossed paths at an early season tournament, playing a non-conference game at East Carolina's Pirate Clash on March 2. Radford broke a scoreless tie in the third with three runs, while leaving the rest in Ashley Taylor's hands. The senior fanned 12 batters over seven innings, while holding Liberty to singles by Beth Bennett and Jenna Eatmon.

Taylor's Career Tally against Liberty
With her two-hit shutout over Liberty on March 2 earlier this year at the Pirate Clash, Radford's Ashley Taylor pushed her career record to 5-3 against Liberty. During the contest, the senior fanned 12 batters, giving her 63 career strikeouts over 46 total innings of work versus the Lady Flames.

Tied Atop the List
With her game-tying, two-run home run off of Virginia Tech's Angela Tincher on Wednesday, Ashley Williams tied Jessica Moore for the program's all-time career hits chart. The senior has tallied 229 hits during her four-years at Liberty, becoming one of three players to post 200 or more hits during their days as a Lady Flames (other was Stacy Radulovich with 226 hits).

Bam Bam Comes up Big
Freshman Amber DePasquale currently leads the Lady Flames with a .467 batting average through six Big South games this year. The rookie is 7-for-15, having hit safely in five out of six league contests. The outfielder has also knocked in three RBIs, to go along with a home run and a stolen base during her first go around against Big South foes.

Better against the Big South
Both of Tiffani Smith's victories this year have come against the Big South, as the rookie has posted a 2-0 record and a 1.26 ERA during four conference appearances this year. Smith, who is 2-9 overall with a 4.48 ERA, has posted a 5-to-1 strikeout-to-walk ratio during 16.2 innings of work against Big South foes, as compared to 48 walks and 42 strikeouts during 59.1 overall innings inside the pitcher's circle this year.

Streaming Sensation
Fans unable to travel to Radford, Va., this weekend for the first two games of Liberty's three-game set with arch rival Radford can enjoy watching the game live online. The Big South EDGE, the conference's video streaming utility, will be airing both games live. For more information about the Big South EDGE or to purchase a subscription to the contest, please click here or visit www.BigSouthSports.com and click on the Big South EDGE links.

Back on the Airways
Following the video streaming of two games on the Big South EDGE, Liberty's Big South series finale against Radford on Sunday in Lynchburg will be covered by the Flames Sports Network. Nick Pierce will be providing play-by-play action from the Liberty Softball Field, which will be broadcast over the radio airways on WWMC 90.9 FM "The Light" or via the internet at www.TheLightOnline.com.