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Three Lady Flames Receive Big South Honors

May 6, 2009  Radford, Va.  RSS
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(L-R) Kelly Strickland, Tiffani Smith and Beth Bennett each received all-conference honors at the Big South Championship banquet, Wednesday night, in Radford, Va.

(L-R) Kelly Strickland, Tiffani Smith and Beth Bennett each received all-conference honors at the Big South Championship banquet, Wednesday night, in Radford, Va.

Tiffani Smith, Kelly Strickland and Beth Bennett were each honored with all-conference accolades, the Big South Conference announced today. Smith was named first-team all-conference as a pitcher, while Strickland was named second-team all-conference at shortstop, and Beth Bennett picked up an academic all-conference honor.

Smith, a sophomore pitcher from Hanover, Pa., leads the Big South with a 2.03 ERA and ranks second in the conference with 155 strikeouts (which ties her for fourth in Liberty history for single-season strikeouts). She also leads the Big South with a 2.11 ERA in conference play, and was named the Big South New Balance Pitcher of the Week twice this year, on March 3 and April 13. Smith is
Liberty's first pitcher selected to the first-team all-conference roster since Ali Thompson in 2001.

Strickland, a freshman from Tabor City, N.C., closed out the regular season with a bang, recording back-to-back two-homer performances as Liberty swept Coastal Carolina in Conway, S.C. She is tied for the conference lead with seven of her eight home runs coming in Big South games. Strickland is hitting .356 in conference play, and was named the Big South Choice Hotels Player of the Week on May 4. Strickland is the first Liberty freshman to make the all-conference team since Ashley Williams in 2005.

Bennett, a senior infielder from Powhatan, Va., was named to the Big South All-Academic team for the second consecutive year. She has made the most career starts in Liberty history (242), as she has started every game for the Lady Flames since her freshman year, all at first base. She is batting .347 in conference play this year, and leads the team in nine statistical categories: overall batting average (.291), slugging percentage (.561), on-base percentage (.387), runs scored (24), RBIs (29), doubles (10), home runs (10), walks (24) and total bases (83). On April 22, Bennett was honored with Liberty's Rock Royer/Mac Rivera Award, the highest honor presented to a Liberty student-athlete.

The No. 3-seeded Lady Flames begin postseason play tomorrow, taking on the No. 6 seed Coastal Carolina Chanticleers in the first round of the Big South Championship presented by Texas Roadhouse, in Radford, Va. First pitch is scheduled for 12:30 p.m.

2009 Big South All-Conference Teams

First-Team All-Conference
OF: Lisa Kingsmore, Winthrop
OF: Leigh Godfrey, Radford
OF: Tessa Thomas, Winthrop
1B: Christa Fullwood, Gardner-Webb
2B: Amy Trenkamp, Charleston Southern
SS: Kristen Shifflett, Radford
3B: Nichole Beall, Radford
C: Sarah Himan, Radford
DP: Jamie Wellons, Charleston Southern
Taylor Wright, Winthrop
UT: Kelsey Witter, Gardner-Webb
P: Chelsea Kelley, Radford
P: Tiffani Smith, Liberty

Second Team All-Conference
OF: Shannon Keefe, Radford
OF: Macaela Ballard, Coastal Carolina
OF: Melissa Adams, Charleston Southern
1B: Megan Hall, Charleston Southern
2B: Kelsey Riffel, Coastal Carolina
      Jenn Everhart, Radford
SS: Melody Harrell, Gardner-Webb
      Kelly Strickland, Liberty
3B: Michelle Evans, Coastal Carolina
C:  Mandy Ward, Gardner-Webb
UT: Lenny Stoddart, Winthrop
P: Cari Wooldridge, Winthrop
P: Megan Evans, Winthrop

Academic All-Conference
Lisa Kingsmore, Winthrop
Christa Fullwood, Gardner-Webb
Gail Matsushima, Charleston Southern
Kelsey Riffel, Coastal Carolina
Kellie Snooks, Radford
Erin Stewart, Presbyterian
Beth Bennett, Liberty

Player of the Year
Lisa Kingsmore, Winthrop

Pitcher of the Year
Chelsea Kelley, Radford

Freshman of the Year
Leigh Godfrey, Radford

Scholar-Athlete of the Year
Lisa Kingsmore, Winthrop

Coach of the Year
Mickey Dean, Radford