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Lady Flames Set to Open Big South Play

March 27, 2009  Lynchburg, Va.  RSS
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Danielle Howard and the Lady Flames will open 2009 conference play by traveling to Rock Hill, S.C., for a three-game series with Winthrop.

Danielle Howard and the Lady Flames will open 2009 conference play by traveling to Rock Hill, S.C., for a three-game series with Winthrop.

The Lady Flames will travel to Rock Hill, S.C., this weekend to open 2009 conference play, with a three-game series scheduled against two-time defending Big South champion Winthrop. A doubleheader is on tap for Saturday beginning at 1 p.m., with a single game scheduled for Sunday at 1 p.m.

Liberty and Winthrop last faced off on May 10, 2008, in the title game of the Big South Championship, when the Lady Eagles defeated the Lady Flames, 6-1. The Lady Eagles finished the season with a No. 36 national ranking to tie with Auburn, Hofstra and Jacksonville State.

The two-time Big South champions (11-14) returned eight of 10 starters in 2009, including Lisa Kingsmore, who leads the team in hits with 36. The senior is batting .439, with 11 RBIs. Also leading Winthrop is senior outfielder Tessa Thomas, who is .349 on the year with 30 hits, 20 RBIs and six home runs.

In the circle, junior Megan Evans leads the squad with a record of 8-6 with a 3.81 ERA. The left-hander has tallied 76 strikeouts in 89.2 innings of work.

So far this year, the Lady Eagles have posted wins over Elon, UNC Charlotte and N.C. State, and have been defeated by Middle Tennessee State, Purdue and Princeton.

Liberty (11-16) is led by freshman Kaylee West, who is batting .250 with 18 hits and eight RBIs. Senior Beth Bennett leads the team with 11 RBIs, four home runs, and a .493 slugging percentage.

Sophomore hurler Tiffani Smith (6-6) has recorded a 1.88 ERA with 82 strikeouts in 85.2 innings pitched, while senior Sarah Ellis is 5-10 overall, with 70 strikeouts in 87 total innings. Both pitchers have received Big South Pitcher of the Week honors this season.

The Lady Flames have faced tough competition in pre-conference play, matching up against six Top 25 programs. Liberty has posted wins over Purdue, Middle Tennessee State and Stetson, and has fallen to Long Beach State, Texas A&M and Florida Atlantic.

In the last matchup between Liberty and Winthrop, the Lady Eagles were led by Lenny Stoddart, who was 1-for-3 with two RBIs and a run scored. Amber DePasquale batted 2-for-3 for the Lady Flames, while senior Ashley Williams recorded the lone RBI.

Liberty is 20-19 all-time against Winthrop. The Lady Eagles have claimed victory in the last four meetings, and the last time Liberty came out on top was April 7, 2007, when the Lady Flames won, 9-2, at Winthrop.