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Midweek SB Preview: Radford, Virginia

March 22, 2010  Lynchburg, Va.  RSS
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Jenna Eatmon and the Lady Flames will host Radford on Tuesday, before traveling to Charlottesville, Va., to play a doubleheader at Virginia on Wednesday.

Jenna Eatmon and the Lady Flames will host Radford on Tuesday, before traveling to Charlottesville, Va., to play a doubleheader at Virginia on Wednesday.

The Lady Flames will conclude their three-game series with Radford in their 2010 home opener, Tuesday afternoon, at Liberty Softball Field. First pitch is scheduled for 2 p.m. Liberty is back in action the following day, traveling to Charlottesville, Va., for a doubleheader against Virginia. Game 1 is slated to begin at 4 p.m.

Liberty (13-8, 0-2 Big South) dropped its first two conference games to the 2009 Big South Champion Highlanders, Thursday afternoon, in Radford, Va. Radford won Game 1 by a score of 8-2, before completing the sweep with a 7-6 victory in Game 2.

The Liberty offense is swinging a solid bat, with four players batting over .300. Sophomore Kelly Strickland leads the team, batting .400 with seven home runs and 23 RBIs, while sophomore Kaylee West batted .471 with six RBIs last week alone, and has driven in 13 total runs this season.

On Saturday, the Lady Flames recorded a season-high 16 hits in a 12-3 victory over North Carolina A&T, and West tied a program best with four hits in the contest. Liberty has tallied six or more hits in each of the last five games.

Junior pitcher Tiffani Smith (6-3) has posted 73 strikeouts in 55 2/3 innings of work, leading the staff.

The Highlanders (13-8, 2-0 Big South) are led by Shannon Keefe, who is batting .392 with 12 RBIs, and Sarah Himan, who is batting .379 and has also driven in 12 runs on the year. Himan hit two doubles in Game 2 of last week's doubleheader against Liberty. Kristen Shifflett, last week's Big South Player of the Week, was 2-for-3 with two RBIs and a home run in Game 1.

Radford pitcher Chelsea Kelley (9-3) picked up both wins over the Lady Flames on Thursday. She posts a 3.57 ERA with 50 strikeouts in 62 2/3 innings pitched.

The Lady Flames have won one game against Radford in the last seven meetings. That win came in the 2009 Big South Championship, when Liberty's 5-3 win forced a second game to decide the tournament champion. The Highlanders won that game, 10-1.

When the Lady Flames travel to Charlottesville on Wednesday, they will face the 14-12 Cavaliers, who most recently upset No. 2 Arizona at the Judi Garman Invitational in Fullerton, Calif. Virginia also beat No. 23 Louisiana-Lafayette in the tournament, 10-4.

The Cavaliers, 2-0 in ACC play, are led by Sarah Tacke, who is hitting .471 with 19 RBIs, and Nicole Koren, who is batting .321 with a team-high seven home runs.

The Lady Flames have defeated Virginia four times in 24 total meetings between the two squads, with the last victory coming as a 9-6 decision on April 9, 2008, at Liberty Softball Field. The Cavs swept the 2009 doubleheader in Virginia, 2-1 and 7-6.