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Softball Win Over Virginia Voted Biggest Win

June 28, 2010  Lynchburg, Va.  RSS
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Cast your vote for Best Individual Performance today!

Cast your vote for Best Individual Performance today!

Click here for more information on the Best Individual Performance nominees

The Liberty softball team has earned its first-ever Sparky, after winning the fan balloting in the Biggest Win category. The Lady Flames earned the 2010 Sparky by defeating Commonwealth rival Virginia, 6-4, in the second game of a doubleheader on March 24.

Voting is now open for Best Individual Performance, the second of five award categories in the 2010 Sparkys. The five nominees include outstanding efforts by Karen Blocker, Devon Brown, Mike Brown, Sam Chelanga and Robert Karlsson. For supporting information on each of the nominees, please click here.

Virginia entered its home softball doubleheader against the Lady Flames on March 24 flying high. The Cavaliers had just defeated No. 2 Arizona and were 20-4 all-time versus Liberty on the softball diamond. Virginia took the first game of the twinbill, 4-0, before the Lady Flames turned the tables in game two.

Liberty jumped out to a 5-0 lead, plating three runs in the second inning and two more in the third inning. The Cavaliers trimmed the deficit to 5-4, before Lady Flames shortstop Kelly Strickland sealed the win with a solo home run in the top of the seventh.

Strickland's roundtripper punctuated Liberty's 6-4 win over Virginia, which went on to qualify for the NCAA Division I Softball Championship. The victory provided a boost to the Lady Flames' season, as Liberty won 17 of its next 19 games following the triumph over the Cavaliers.

Big South Pitcher of the Year Tiffani Smith earned the win inside the circle, yielding two unearned runs on four hits in six innings of work, while fanning six Cavaliers. To read the complete game recap, please click here.

Liberty fans can now choose the past year's Best Individual Performance from among the following five options: Karen Blocker's 499:50 shutout streak in goal for the women's soccer team, Devon Brown's game-high 24 points and game-winning shot in the Big South Women's Basketball Championship title contest, Mike Brown's 271 all-purpose yards and two touchdowns at West Virginia, Sam Chelanga's NCAA national cross country title and Robert Karlsson's medalist performance at the Big South Men's Golf Championship.

The winner will be determined through fan voting on the Flames Poll, which is located on the right-hand side of LibertyFlames.com.

Chelanga will be looking to take home his second consecutive Sparky for Best Individual Performance. He earned the 2009 award, after breaking the NCAA all-time 10K record with his 27:28.48 effort at the 2009 Brutus Hamilton Invitational in Berkeley, Calif.

The poll for Best Individual Performance will remain open until July 5, at which time the winner will be announced on LibertyFlames.com and balloting for Best Newcomer will begin. A full voting schedule appears below.

Nominees for Best Individual Performance
Karen Blocker (Women's Soccer) – 499:50 shutout streak in goal (Oct. 3-25, 2009)
Devon Brown (Women's Basketball) – Game-winning shot in Big South Championship game (March 14, 2010)
Mike Brown (Football) – 271 all-purpose yards and two TDs at West Virginia (Sept. 5, 2009)
Sam Chelanga (Men's Cross Country) – NCAA national cross country championship (Nov. 23, 2009)
Robert Karlsson (Golf) – Medalist at Big South Men's Golf Championship (April 19-21, 2010)

2010 Sparkys Voting Schedule/Results
Biggest Win – Winner: Softball team's 6-4 win at Virginia (March 24, 2010)
Best Individual Performance (June 28-July 5)
Best Newcomer (July 5-12)
Best Female Athlete (July 12-19)
Best Male Athlete (July 19-26)

Year-by-Year Winners of the Sparky for Biggest Win
2007: Football team's 34-20 win over No. 24 Charleston Southern (Nov. 11, 2006)
2008: Wrestling team's second consecutive NCAA East Regional Championship (March 9, 2008)
2009: Football team's 26-3 victory over No. 12/14 Elon (Nov. 22, 2008)
2010: Softball team's 6-4 win at Virginia (March 24, 2010)

Year-by-Year Winners of the Sparky for Best Individual Performance
2007: Alex McLean's performance at VMI (40 points, 19 rebounds on Feb. 21, 2007)
2008: Josh McDougal's national cross country championship (Nov. 19, 2007)
2009: Sam Chelanga's NCAA all-time record in the 10K (27:28.48 on April 24, 2009)