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Liberty Baseball to Open the 2017 Season at the Charleston Crab House Challenge

February 16, 2017
|  Lynchburg, Va.
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D.J. Artis

THE CHARLESTON CRAB HOUSE CHALLENGE
Feb. 16-18
Charleston, S.C.

Friday – Liberty vs. No. 16 Virginia – 12 p.m.
Saturday –Kansas vs. Liberty – 11 a.m.
Sunday – Liberty at The Citadel


COMPLETE BASEBALL NOTES

LFSN Radio Coverage: 
93.3FM/1320AM WVGM ESPN Radio (Fri.-Sun.)

Live Stats (Provided by The Citadel): Fri. – Sun.

Quick Facts
•  Liberty enters 2017 with a 1271-952-7 (.572) mark all-time over 43 seasons.

•  The 2017 season will be the first under head coach Scott Jackson. Jackson, who was an assistant coach at Liberty in 2008, spent the past eight seasons as an assistant on head coach Mike Fox's staff at North Carolina.

• Friday's meeting with Virginia will be the 44th season opener in program history. Liberty enters the season lid-lifter with a 25-17 mark in openers since 1976 (no records for 1974 or 1975).

•  The Flames will be opening their season away from Lynchburg for the 26th time in program history and the 12th consecutive season. With their 11-10 loss at South Florida to open 2016, the Flames are 13-12 in road openers.

•  Liberty will be opening its season at Riley Park for the second time in program history. In 2012, Liberty began its year with a12-0 win over Richmond on Feb. 17, and posted a 4-0 record at the tournament. The Flames also played in a tournament hosted by The Citadel at Riley Park in 2007.

•  Liberty holds a 23-37-1 combined record against this weekend's tournament field, but has never played Kansas. A majority of the contests against the field have been against Virginia, which holds a 35-21-1 mark against the Flames. The Cavaliers have won the last five meetings between the two teams, with Liberty's last win coming in 2012. Despite Liberty wins in its last two meetings against The Citadel, the Bulldogs hold a 3-2 edge in the all-time series.
• Liberty was picked to finish third in the Big South by the conference head coaches in the league's preseason poll.

Charleston Crab House Challenge
Kansas, Virginia and host The Citadel join Liberty in the Charleston Crab House Challenge. The weekend's schedule is as follows:
 

Friday
Liberty vs. Virignia    12 p.m.
Kansas at The Citadel  4 p.m.

Saturday
Kansas vs. Liberty    11 a.m.
Virginia at The Citadel   3 p.m.
Sunday
Virignia vs. Kanas    10 a.m.
Liberty at The Citadel  2 p.m.
     

Jackson Takes Over
No stranger to the Liberty Baseball program, Scott Jackson was named the seventh head coach in program history this past July. Jackson served as the Flames' pitching coach during the 2008 season, before becoming an assistant coach at North Carolina on Head Coach Mike Fox's staff.

During his one season with the Flames, Jackson helped Liberty post a 35-26-1 record and a 14-7 mark in Big South play. Liberty was the No. 2 seed at the 2008 Big South Baseball Championship and advanced to the event's title game.

During his eight seasons in Chapel Hill, N.C., Jackson helped North Carolina post a 345-156 record, make three College World Series appearances (2009, 2011 and 2013), advance to six straight NCAA Regionals (2009-14) and win the 2013 ACC Championship. Prior the 2013 season, Jackson was recognized by Baseball America as one of the top assistant coaches in the country.

Jackson rounded out his staff with assistant coach Tyler Cannon, pitching coach Bryant Gaines and volunteer assistant Blake Hunt.


Artis Has Quite a Debut Season
Outfielder D.J. Artis was named the Big South Freshman of the Year and was selected to four Freshman All-American teams, last season. The freshman also was selected to the Big South All-Conference first team.

Artis became the fifth Flame to be selected the conference's Freshman of the Year, joining pitcher Tim Harrell (1995), outfielder Keith Butler (2000), first baseman Alex Close (2012) and pitcher Parker Bean (2014), as Flames who have received the conference honor.  The outfielder also became the fourth Liberty freshman to be named to multiple Freshman All-American teams.

Artis led the Big South Conference and finished the year 13th in the nation with a .500 on base percentage. The outfielder was also among the top 15 in the country and second in the conference with 52 bases on balls. His 52 walks set a new Liberty single season record, eclipsing the former record of 49 walks set by Jeff Edwards in 1986.

The Greensboro, N.C., native ended 2016 among the conference leaders in batting average (third - .369), hits (seventh - 82), runs scored (sixth - 54) and stolen bases (third - 23). He also completed the year with nine doubles, three triples, two home runs and 41 RBI.