The Liberty softball team hosts North Carolina A&T on Tuesday before heading to Hampton for a twin bill on Wednesday.
Complete Game Notes Liberty softball hosts North Carolina A&T on Tuesday to close out a 10-game homestand, with the doubleheader beginning at 2 p.m. at Liberty Softball Field. The Lady Flames then travel to face Hampton the next day, with a 2 p.m. start to that doubleheader. This week will mark Liberty's first time playing twin bills on consecutive days in 2012.
Storylines Liberty (11-23, 5-7 Big South) defeated Charleston Southern, 9-8, Saturday on an eighth-inning walk-off single by Jenny Law. North Carolina A&T is 12-19, with a 5-1 record in MEAC play, while Hampton (13-23, 2-4 MEAC) has not played since April 1. The Lady Flames have posted a 28-3 record against North Carolina A&T in an all-time series that goes back to Liberty's first season of Division I softball, 1994. Liberty is 37-7 against Hampton all-time, including a doubleheader sweep of the Lady Pirates last season. Liberty softball holds a 99-16 record against MEAC opponents, including 3-0 this season with wins over Savannah State and North Carolina Central. Head coach Paul Wetmore earned his 500th career victory against a MEAC foe, Norfolk State, April 20, 2011.
How to Follow the Lady Flames Fans can follow the action for this week's games through Gametracker, provided by the Liberty Athletics Communications office. Live stats can be accessed through the Live Stats link on LibertyFlames.com.
Quick Hits - Liberty wraps up a 10-game homestand, its longest since April 3-17, 2002. - Jenny Law has hit walk-off, two-out singles in each of Liberty's last two victories - Kelly Strickland hit a game-tying grand slam against CSU, Saturday. - Her fifth career grand slam, it was the first for the Lady Flames this season. - Meredith Crisante leads the Big South with 4 doubles and 12 RBIs in conference play. - Liberty has trailed with two outs in the seventh inning during each of its last three wins. - Chandler Ball pitched three straight complete games against Charleston Southern. - Liberty is the defending Big South champion, posting a 30-30 record in 2011. Liberty vs. North Carolina A&T All-Time Series: Liberty leads, 28-3 Current Streak: Liberty W4 Last Meeting: Liberty 12, North Carolina A&T 3 (03/20/2010 in Greensboro) Last North Carolina A&T Win: N.C. A&T 2, Liberty 1 (03/31/2003 in Greensboro)
North Carolina A&T is 12-19, with a 5-1 record against MEAC opponents. The Aggies posted a five-game winning streak before falling to Florida A&M on Saturday. Juanita Jernigan paces three .300 hitters, batting .355 with four homers. Tranea Jones (.311) and Raven Smith (.308) also hit over .300. Ashira Dobson is 11-11 with a 4.15 ERA in 2012. Liberty leads the all-time series, 28-3, over North Carolina A&T. The Lady Flames have won their last four meetings with the Aggies, including a 12-3 win, March 20, 2010 in Greensboro. Kaylee West tied Liberty's program record with four hits, and also drove in three runs. North Carolina A&T's last trip to Lynchburg was April 1, 2006.
Liberty vs. Hampton All-Time Series: Liberty leads, 37-7 Current Streak: Liberty W5 Last Meeting: Liberty 16, Hampton 3 (04/19/2011 in Lynchburg) Last Hampton Win: Hampton 2, Liberty 0 (03/24/09 in Lynchburg)
Hampton (13-23, 2-4 MEAC) has not played a game since April 1, when the Pirates were swept by Delaware State. The Pirates are on a five-game winless streak. Bre'Anna Brown leads the team with a .373 batting average and 12 stolen bases. Nina Fernandez has hit .311 with a team-leading 16 RBIs. Liberty is 37-7 all-time against Hampton, including a doubleheader sweep, April 19, 2011. During game two, the Lady Flames won 16-3, tying a Liberty Softball Field and program record with six home runs. Liberty is 99-16 all-time against MEAC opponents, and is 3-0 against the conference's teams this season with wins over Savannah State and North Carolina Central.
We'll Be Here For Awhile The Lady Flames conclude their 10-game homestand this week. It will tie the record for the longest homestand in the program's NCAA Division I history (since 1994). The Lady Flames' last 10-game homestand took place April 3-17, 2002, during the same season in which Liberty captured its first Big South softball title. As was the case in 2002, Liberty faced Winthrop and UNCG during this year's 10-game homestand.
Back-to-Back The Lady Flames will compete in doubleheaders on back-to-back days, Tuesday and Wednesday against North Carolina A&T and Hampton. The last time Liberty softball played back-to-back twin bills, April 19-20, 2011, the Lady Flames swept Hampton and Norfolk State at home. During game two of the Norfolk State doubleheader on April 20, Liberty won, 7-1 to give head coach Paul Wetmore his 500th career coaching victory. Down to the Wire Liberty has trailed with two outs in the seventh inning during each of its last three wins. Most recently, Hanna Nichols tied the score at 8-8 with a two-out double on Saturday against CSU. Jenny Law then registered a walk-off single in the eighth, winning the game for Liberty for the second Saturday in a row. Law cashed in with a walk-off, two-run single in a 4-3 win over Winthrop, March 31. She drove in Megan Robinson and Marybeth Sciolino with the winning runs. Previously, Amber Donovan belted a three-run homer in the top of the seventh inning, March 25 at Gardner-Webb, clinching the 7-5 win and series sweep of the Runnin' Bulldogs. Donovan faced a 1-2 count, as Liberty was down to its last strike.
Go the Distance Chandler Ball fashioned three straight complete games against Charleston Southern this past weekend, pitching all 22 innings. She tossed a three-hitter on Friday against the Buccaneers, and finished off an eight-inning win on Saturday. She is the second Lady Flames pitcher this season to have pitched three complete games in a row. Alyssa DiMartino tossed three straight complete games, March 28-30. The last time that two Lady Flames pitchers both tossed three or more consecutive complete games during the same year was 2009. Sarah Ellis tossed four straight CGs from April 4-8, and Tiffani Smith went the distance three times in a row, March 7-9.
Clear the Bases Kelly Strickland tied Saturday's game against Charleston Southern with a grand slam in the bottom of the sixth inning. It marked the fifth grand slam of Strickland's career, and the first by a Lady Flame this season. It also helped spur Liberty to a 9-8 come-from-behind win. Strickland has hit each of Liberty's last three grand slams. Since 2001, Jessica Moore has hit the most grand slams by a Lady Flame, with seven. Meredith Crisante is the only other active Lady Flame with a grand slam in her career, hitting a four-RBI homer in a 16-3 win over Hampton on April 19, 2011.
200 Club Three Liberty seniors appeared in their 200th career softball game during this past week. Kelly Strickland made her 200th career appearance on Wednesday against UNCG, while Kaylee West's 200th game was the series opener against Charleston Southern, Friday. Jenny Law ended her 200th career contest with a walk-off single on Saturday. On Saturday against CSU, Strickland's name appeared in the starting lineup for the 200th time. She is the 12th Lady Flame since 1994 to make 200 career starts. West is not far behind, having started 198 games, and Law is at 184.
Hit Parade Liberty is 9-0 this season when registering 10 or more hits, recording 10+ base hits during each of its first eight victories of 2012. The Lady Flames then had nine hits in a 7-5 win over Gardner-Webb, March 25, to break the trend. Liberty's 10th hit against Charleston Southern on Saturday sealed the Lady Flames' 9-8 victory in the eighth inning.
Moving on Up Meredith Crisante hit her 18th career home run on Saturday against Charleston Southern, passing current Liberty Associate Athletics Director Meredith (Hollyfield) Eaker for 11th place on the Lady Flames' career home run list. Kelly Strickland moved to sixth place all-time at Liberty, scoring her 105th run on Saturday. With 42 home runs, she is two away from second place in program history, held by Ashley Williams (2005-08). Strickland's 138 RBIs are fourth, three away from Jessica Moore's total, collected from 2005-07. Kaylee West doubled on April 4 against UNCG, moving her into sole possession of seventh place all-time at Liberty with 36 career doubles. She also drove in a run against UNCG, and is now tied for eighth with 89 RBIs in her career. Katie Zavodny stole her 36th career base, Friday, and is fifth in program history. Crisante collected her 35rd steal, Friday, and is in sixth place.
Extra, Extra Liberty posted its first extra-inning win of the season on Saturday, defeating Charleston Southern, 9-8 in eight innings. Before that game, the Lady Flames' most recent extra-innings win came April 16, 2011, when Liberty beat Gardner-Webb, 11-8, in eight innnings. Each of Liberty's last six extra-innings victories has gone eight innings. The last time the Lady Flames won a game of nine innings or longer was April 29, 2008, a 5-4 win over Gardner-Webb that took nine stanzas to decide.
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