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Backstrom is Big South Pitcher of the Week

For the second time this season and third time in her career, Longwood All-Big South right-hander Sydney Backstrom was named Big South Pitcher of the Week after leading Longwood to a series sweep over conference preseason favorite Gardner-Webb.

Backstrom (9-6) started games one and three of the Big South-opening series, went the distance and won both of those, and did not allow a single earned run in her 12 innings of work. She totaled 15 strikeouts and held Gardner-Webb to a .143 average to win her fifth and sixth consecutive decisions and extend her streak of innings without allowing an earned run to 22.2 innings.

Behind Backstrom, the Lancers (12-13, 3-0 Big South) extended their winning streak to eight games and won their 19th consecutive Big South series, doing so on the road against a Gardner-Webb team that was voted as the favorite to win the league in the 2021 Big South Preseason Coaches Poll.

Backstrom fired a two-hit shutout in an 11-0 mercy-rule win in game one of the series and followed with a seven-inning shutdown in game three in which she allowed only a pair of unearned runs. Those runs were the lone blemishes on her performance – with those scoring on a fielding error and a passed ball – but she rebounded to shut out Gardner-Webb over the game’s final four innings. That effort allowed Longwood to chip away at Gardner-Webb’s 2-1 lead and eventually pull away by scoring eight runs in the final two innings of the 9-2 victory.

Those performances extended Backstrom’s streak of innings without allowing an earned run to 22.2 dating back to a complete-game win against Bucknell on March 13. She has now won six straight decisions during a masterful March in which she has gone 8-2 with a 2.15 ERA and six complete games, including two shutouts.

On the season, Backstrom boasts a 9-6 record and a 3.31 ERA while leading the Big South in wins, innings pitched, starts and appearances. Her .216 opponent batting average is the fourth lowest in the Big South and has been even lower during her 22.2-inning scoreless streak, falling to .157.