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Lady Flames Announce 2009 Softball Schedule

January 7, 2009  Lynchburg, Va.  RSS
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Liberty has announced the 2009 schedule, which includes a trip to California and Florida.

Liberty has announced the 2009 schedule, which includes a trip to California and Florida.

Full 2009 Schedule

A return trip to the state of California and a road trip to Tennessee, along with tournament appearances at Florida State and Florida Atlantic spotlight the Lady Flames' 2009 softball schedule, as announced by head coach Paul Wetmore.

Liberty, coming off a runner-up finish at the 2008 Big South Softball Championship last May, will open up its 2009 slate nearly three weeks prior to its normal beginning, as they travel across the country to participate in the Cathedral City Kick Off in Palm Springs, Calif., on Feb. 6-8. The event is annually hosted by Big League Dreams, one of the nation's premier developers and operators of amateur recreational sports facilities in the country.

The tournament, which will be played at replica Major League Baseball stadiums like Fenway Park, the Polo Grounds, Yankee Stadium and Wrigley Field, features an elite collegiate softball tournament field, including perennial Top 25 programs like California, Fresno State, Georgia and Long Beach State.

Three of the Lady Flames' five opponents finished last year rank in the final USA Today/NFCA Division I Top 25 poll, including No. 15 Fresno State, No. 16 California and No. 23 Long Beach State.
Liberty, who will be making its first trip to the "Golden State" since participating in Cal State Fullerton's Kia Klassic in 1999, will also face Cal State Northridge and UC Riverside before returning across the country.

Following a two week hiatus, the Lady Flames will return to their daunting early schedule when they continue their six-year series with Tennessee. Liberty is slated to travel to Knoxville, Tenn., to face the Vols, who finished last year ranked No. 14, in a doubleheader on Feb. 24.

For the fifth time in program history and the first time since 2006, the Lady Flames will return to the Seahawk Classic in Wilmington, N.C., on Feb. 28 and March 1.

Liberty, who won the event with a perfect 5-0 record in its last tournament stay, will face host UNC Wilmington and Delaware State during the two-day event.

The Lady Flames will next return to the softball diamond, when they travel to the "Sunshine State" for a nine-day Spring Break swing. Liberty opens the run at the FSU Invitational in Tallahassee, Fla., on March 7 and 8. The Lady Flames will be pitted against host Florida State, along with Middle Tennessee State and Troy during the event.

After leaving the state's "panhandle" area, the Lady Flames will stop over in Clermont, Fla., for three games at Dot Richardson's National Training Center. Liberty will face Florida Gulf Coast in a doubleheader on March 9 and South Florida in a single game the following evening.

Continuing to revisit its old stomping grounds, the Lady Flames will conclude their 2009 regular-season tournament schedule by participating in the FAU Parents' Weekend Tournament in Boca Raton, Fla., on March 13-15.

Liberty, who picked up victories over host Florida Atlantic and Manhattan during its last appearance in the event in 2003, will face Bethune-Cookman, Florida Atlantic, Purdue, Rutgers and 2008 Women's College World Series runner-up Texas A&M.

After facing some of the nation's elite programs away from Lynchburg, the Lady Flames will open up the home portion of their 2009 slate with home doubleheaders against Norfolk State and Hampton on March 19 and 24, respectively.

Three out of Liberty's next five foes will jumpstart the Lady Flames Big South schedule, beginning with a road weekend series in Rock Hill, S.C., against two-time defending conference champion Winthrop on March 28 and 29.

The following two weekends, the Lady Flames will host Charleston Southern at the Liberty Softball Field on April 3 and 4, while traveling to league newcomer Gardner-Webb for three games on April 10 and 11.

Sprinkled in between the weekend Big South series will be non-conference road doubleheaders against Virginia (April 1) and James Madison (April 8).

On April 15, the Lady Flames will welcome Virginia Tech to their softball diamond for a non-conference twinbill, giving Liberty its second 2008 NCAA Women's College World Series participant on its schedule.

After traveling to Farmville, Va., to face Longwood on April 18, the Lady Flames will square off against Big South arch rival Radford in a spilt home-and-home conference series. Liberty will host the Highlanders for two games on April 21, before concluding the Big South series in Radford, Va., on April 22 with a single game.

Wetmore, who picked up his 400th victory last year during his 15th year at the helm of the program, and the Lady Flames will continue Big South action against another new league member, Presbyterian. They will welcome the Blue Hose to the Liberty Softball Field on April 24 and 25 for their final home games of the year.

Liberty closes out the month with a road trip to Greensboro, N.C., to face UNC Greensboro on April 29, before concluding its regular-season schedule with a Big South series against Coastal Carolina in Conway, S.C., on May 1 and 2.

The Lady Flames will look to make their second straight appearance in the title game of the Big South Softball Championship, when Liberty travels back to Radford, Va., for this year's annual conference championship on May 7-9.

The three-day event will be hosted by the Highlanders for the first time since 2006, where the conference's automatic bid the NCAA Regionals will be awarded.