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Liberty to Close Out Regular Season by Hosting Presbyterian

May 17, 2017
|  Lynchburg, Va.
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Senior first baseman Sammy Taormina

May 18-20
Liberty Baseball Stadium
Lynchburg, Va.

Thursday - 6 p.m.
Friday – 6 p.m.
Saturday – 2 p.m.


LFSN Radio Coverage: 
93.3FM/1320AM WVGM ESPN Radio

Live Stats: Thursday   Friday   Saturday

Quick Hits
• Liberty  will close out its 2017 regular season with a three-game series with Presbyterian at the Liberty Baseball Stadium, Thursday-Saturday.  Liberty enters the weekend with a 30-20 overall record and is tied for second place with Presbyterian in the Big South Conference standings with a 14-7 mark. 
• Liberty is 13-10 at Liberty Baseball Stadium, this season. The Flames have won three out of their last four home games.
• Presbyterian sports a 28-25 overall mark on the season. The Blue Hose have never won at Liberty Baseball Stadium. Liberty leads the all-time series, 19-2.
• Saturday afternoon, the Liberty baseball program will hold its Senior Day before the game. The 13 seniors who will be playing in their last regular season home game in a Flames' uniform will be honored.
• The 2017 season is Liberty's 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.

Recognizing the Seniors
• Saturday afternoon, the Liberty baseball program and athletics department will recognize the 13 seniors on its roster before the game. The 13 will be playing in their last regular season home game in a Flames' uniform.
• Outfielders Jake Barbee and Will Shepherd, second baseman Andrew Kowalo, two-way player Eric Grabowski, catchers Josh Latta and Payton Scarbrough  and first baseman Sammy Taormina, along with pitchers Zander Clouse, Caleb Evans, Cody Gamble, Evan Mitchell, Shane Quarterley and Michael Stafford will be honored.
• Jake Barbee, Caleb Evans, Will Shepherd, Michael Stafford and Taormina were each members of Liberty's 2014 NCAA Regional team, the last Flames' team to participated in the NCAA Tournament.

Artis Among National Leaders
Liberty sophomore D.J. Artis begins the weekend among the national leaders in walks and on base percentage. 

This past Sunday, Artis led off the Flames' 8-6 win over VCU by drawing his 53rd walk of 2017 to set a new program record for bases on balls in season, breaking his old mark of 52 which he set as a freshman last year. With that walk, the outfielder moved into the national lead in bases on balls. Currently, he leads the country with 54 and with a 1.15 free passes per game average. Artis also is Liberty's all-time career leader in walks with 106.

In addition, Artis is second in the country with a .526 OBP.  UC Irvine designated hitter Keston Hiura tops the category with a .546 OBP.

Artis leads the Big South not only in on base percentage and walks, but paces the conference with a .359  batting average and 53 runs scored.  He is tied for fifth in the Big South with 42 RBI and second with 21 stolen bases.

Topping the Big South
Liberty leads the Big South Conference with a 4.16 team earned run average (ERA), has scored a conference-leading 365 runs and driven in a league-high 327 RBI. The Flames are averaging 7.3 runs per game.

Right-hander Evan Mitchell, who leads the Liberty mound staff, enters the weekend second in the conference with a 2.76 ERA. Meanwhile, relievers Cody Gamble, Jack DeGroat and Shane Quarterley each sport ERAs under 3.00.

On the offensive end, outfielders D.J. Artis and Jake Barbee are 1-2 in the Big South in runs scored. Artis has scored 54 runs, while Barbee has plated 49.  Meanwhile, first baseman Sammy Taormina paces the conference with 53 RBI. Barbee is fourth with 43 and Artis tied for fifth with 42.

Talking Taormina
Flames first baseman Sammy Taormina continues to have quite a final year of collegiate baseball at the plate. The redshirt senior enters the week as the Big South leader with 53 RBI and second in total bases with 113 total bases. The first baseman also is third in the conference with a .562 slugging percentage.

Taormina has hit .318 with  a team-high 15 doubles and 10 home runs. He has also scored 35 runs.  The first baseman appears among the top in the Big South in all four categories.

He leads the Flames with 12multi-RBI games, including six contests with four or more. On April 28, Taormina collected a career-high seven RBI with three hits and two home runs in Liberty's victory at Longwood.

The Rock Hill, S.C., native began the year, hitting .577 in seven games over the first two weeks of the 2017 season. Taormina was named the Big South Player of the Week, each week.

Around the Diamond
• 2B Andrew Kowalo hit his seventh home run of the season at Duke, Tuesday night. The senior has started every game, this season. 
• SS Cam Locklear has reached base in 15 consecutive games.  During those 15 games, Locklear has hit .269 and scored 17 runs.
• LF Jake Barbee is second in the Big South with 49 runs scored. The senior, who has started every game of 2017 in left field, is also fourth in the conference in RBI.
• RF Will Shepherd has collected five hits in his last nine at bats (.556). Shepherd had three hits and a season-high four RBI in Liberty's 8-6 win over VCU, last Sunday. Shepherd hit a two-run home run, his fourth of the year, and also doubled in the contest.
• RHP Evan Mitchell is second in the Big South with a 2.76 ERA and in wins with six. The right-hander has posted a 6-1 mark over a team-leading 65 1/3 innings.
• RHP Jack DeGroat pitched four scoreless innings to record his first win of the season in Liberty's 8-6 win over VCU, last Sunday. DeGroat gave up three hits, striking out six and walking two.