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Lady Flames Head South for USC Upstate Tournament

February 23, 2012  Lynchburg, Va.  RSS
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Liberty softball head coach Paul Wetmore congratulates Meredith Crisante on a home run.

Liberty softball head coach Paul Wetmore congratulates Meredith Crisante on a home run.

Complete Game Notes

Liberty continues its 2012 softball campaign at the USC Upstate Tournament, held Friday through Sunday at Cyrill Stadium in Spartanburg, S.C. The Lady Flames (2-2) opened the season by splitting four games at the Elon Invitational. Liberty's bats came alive in the final two games, outscoring opponents, 21-7, while registering 33 combined hits.

The Field
Liberty will face Savannah State of the MEAC twice on Friday. On Saturday, the Lady Flames meet the Atlantic 10's La Salle and the host USC Upstate Spartans from the Atlantic Sun. Liberty meets Savannah State and La Salle for the first time, and is 1-0 all-time against USC Upstate. The host Spartans went 42-13 last season, and are undefeated so far in 2012.

How to Follow the Lady Flames
Those unable to attend this weekend's games can follow the action through Gametracker, provided by the Liberty Athletics Communications Department. Live stats can be accessed through the Live Stats link on

Quick Hits
- Liberty tied a program record with 19 hits in a 14-5 win over N.C. Central on Feb. 11.

- The Lady Flames have posted 33 hits and 21 runs during their last two games, both wins.

- Katie Zavodny and Kaylee West tied the program record with four hits each against North Carolina Central.

- Liberty hit .339 during opening weekend, including .440 in a pair of wins.

- Freshman Chandler Ball earned first two wins of her career, versus N.C. Central and Georgetown.

- The Lady Flames went 30-30 in 2011, winning the Big South Championship.

- Liberty went 10-5 in South Carolina last season, and is 78-66-1 in the state since 1994.

- Kelly Strickland, the 2011 Big South Co-Player of the Year, earned Liberty's first-ever softball All-America award, being named to the Easton Fastpitch All-America squad.

- The Lady Flames paced the Big South in eight offensive categories as a team last year.

- USC Upstate is first of three Liberty opponents this season to earn 40 wins during 2011

Liberty vs. Savannah State
All-Time Series:
First meeting

Savannah State, under the direction of fifth-year head coach Jose Gonzalez, has a 3-3 record so far this season, with three victories over Howard. Most recently, the Tigers lost a 3-1 decision to Nebraska-Omaha. India Morgan leads Savannah State with a .556 average, while Madison Hedderly is 2-2 with a 0.72 ERA in the circle.

Liberty meets Savannah State for the first time in program history. In the Lady Flames' 19 years as a Division I program, they have faced 177 different opponents, going 76-101 all-time when facing a team for the first time.

The Lady Flames hold a 97-16 record over MEAC schools, and Liberty defeated MEAC program N.C. Central, 14-5, for its first win this season. Liberty will face MEAC opponents North Carolina A&T and Hampton in doubleheaders later in 2012.

Liberty vs. La Salle
All-Time Series:
First meeting

La Salle opens its season this weekend, after posting a 5-38 record and tying for 10th in the Atlantic-10 last season. In 2011, DJ Guinn paced La Salle with a 3.16 ERA. Fourth-year head coach Brianne Brown leads the Explorers, who were predicted to finish in 11th place in the A-10 this year.

Liberty and La Salle will meet for the first time, on Saturday. These two teams have eight common opponents this season, including Liberty's fellow Big South member Coastal Carolina.

Liberty is 21-28 all-time against current members of the Atlantic 10. The last time the Lady Flames faced an A-10 opponent was 2010, when they beat Rhode Island, 8-0, on March 6, and then defeated George Washington, 11-1 and 10-0, on April 18 in Lynchburg.

Liberty vs. USC Upstate
All-Time Series:
Liberty leads, 1-0
Current Streak: Liberty W1
Last Meeting: Liberty 12, USC Upstate 2 (02/20/2010 at USC Upstate)

USC Upstate is off to an 8-0 start this season, and has not allowed an earned run in 2012. The Spartans swept Gardner-Webb, 9-0 and 7-0, on Wednesday. Hannah Alexander has a 6-0 record, 0.00 ERA and 47 strikeouts in 31.2 innings pitched. Last season, the Spartans went 42-13 and received votes in three national polls, behind all-region pitcher Morgan Childers. Childers is now an assistant at Campbell of the Big South.

Liberty has faced USC Upstate once before, downing the Spartans, 12-2, Feb. 20, 2010 at the USC Upstate Campus Suites Spartan Classic. The Lady Flames went 3-1 that weekend, placing Kaylee West and Ashley Bensinger on the all-tournament team.

The Lady Flames hold an 11-9 record against 2012 members of the Atlantic Sun. Last season, Liberty defeated Stetson, 4-0 on March 12, and fell to North Florida, 9-3, in Tampa, Fla., March 18.

Hit Parade
After registering four hits in each of its first two games of the 2012 season, Liberty erupted for 33 total hits and 21 runs in wins against North Carolina Central and Georgetown to close out the Elon Invitational at 2-2. For the weekend, Liberty hit .339, including .440 in its two wins.

Against North Carolina Central, Feb. 11, the Lady Flames tied a program record with 19 base hits, winning 14-5 in six innings. The record had been set against North Carolina A&T, March 31, 2003. 

The Lady Flames recorded 14 hits in the next game, a 7-2 win over Georgetown. Liberty's 33 combined hits were the most in back-to-back games in program history.

Hit Parade (Part 2)
Kaylee West and Katie Zavodny tied a program record with four hits apiece during Liberty's 14-5 win over North Carolina Central, Feb. 11. It marked the first time in Liberty's NCAA Division I era (since 1994) that two Lady Flames registered four hits in the same contest.

A four-hit game has been attained 26 times in Liberty's NCAA Division I history. Both West and Zavodny had posted one four-hit game each prior to this season, and join three other Lady Flames all-time with more than one four-hit contest in their career.  Jessica Moore and Alycia Stevens hold the Liberty softball record with four four-hit games apiece,  while Libi Cook, West and Zavodny all have two four-hit contests to their credit.

First Things First
In total, three current Lady Flames recorded a base hit in their first career at bats. Grace Nordan hit a home run during her first time to bat in a Liberty uniform. Kelby Allen and Jill Stephens both singled in their first at bat as a Lady Flame. A fourth player, Bridgett Woods, walked during her first career plate appearance, Feb. 6, 2009 vs. California.

(South) Carolina in My Mind
The Lady Flames play four games in South Carolina this week.  They will play a total of 10 contests in the Palmetto State this season, including three each at Big South opponents Coastal Carolina and Presbyterian College

Last season, Liberty went 10-5 in games contested in South Carolina, the most wins for the Lady Flames in the Palmetto State in a single season in program history. The Lady Flames claimed the 2011 Big South Softball Championship in Rock Hill, S.C.

Overall, Liberty is 78-66-1 (.541) in games played in South Carolina since the start of the 1994 season.

Going Yard
Liberty has hit four home runs so far this season, an average of one per game. The Lady Flames hit two home runs in each of their most recent two games. Last season, Liberty launched 61 homers in 60 games, and the Lady Flames recorded two or more home runs on 14 occasions.

Stealing Bases
The Lady Flames are 5-for-5 in stolen base attempts so far this season. Jenny Law and Katie Zavodny have both recorded two steals.

Zavodny stole 26 bases last season, and is tied for sixth in program history with 28 career stolen bases. Meredith Crisante ranks ninth on the all-time list with 26 career steals.