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Virginia Squads Up Next for Flames
The Liberty Flames (6-1, 0-0 Big South) take to the road Tuesday afternoon for a contest with the VCU Rams (1-6, 0-0 CAA) in Richmond, Va. Game time at the Diamond is scheduled for 1 p.m. The following afternoon, the Flames return home to host the Old Dominion Monarchs (4-3, 0-0 CAA) at Worthington Stadium. First pitch on Wednesday is set for 2:30 p.m.
All-Time Series Against VCU and Old Dominion
Tuesday will be the 47th meeting between Liberty and VCU on the baseball diamond. The Rams hold a 27-19 edge over the Flames in the all-time series dating back to 1977. Last season, Liberty defeated VCU, 8-2, at the Diamond. Garrett Young went 4-for-5 with three doubles and three RBIs to pace the Flames in the victory.
Wednesday, Liberty and Old Dominion will meet for the 48th time on the baseball field. The Monarchs lead the all-time series, 31-16, since 1976. However, Liberty has won the last three meetings between the teams, including an 8-2 win by the Flames at Old Dominion last season. Right-hander David Stokes allowed one run on four hits over eight inings in the victory. Young was 3-for-4 with two RBIs in the contest to pace Liberty.
Liberty's bats came alive Sunday, as the Flames had 21 hits in an 18-2 win over Rider to take the three-game series, two games to one. Aaron Grijlava went 4-for-5 with four RBIs, two doubles and a triple, while Doug Bream continued his hot hitting with a 4-for-5 afternoon. Tommy Bussey, making his first start of the season at second base, drove in five runs, helping to make a winner of David Stokes, who ran his record to 2-0 with six innnings of one-hit pitching.
The Flames dropped their first contest of the season on Saturday, 5-4, to Rider, while Friday, a seventh-inning home run by Aaron Phillips gave Liberty a 4-3 victory over the Broncs. Bream hit .636 (7-for-11) and drove in seven runs during the series.
VCU is off to a rough start in 2008 with a 1-6 record. The Rams opened the season by dropping all three of their contests at No. 3 Texas to open the season. Last weekend, the Rams defeated Seton Hall, 8-3, on Friday, before losing both ends of a doubleheader to Bucknell on Saturday and a single game to Seton Hall on Sunday. All four contests were played at the Diamond.
VCU was picked to finish second in the CAA preseason poll. The Rams are paced by first baseman Jared Bolden, who was named to the Brooks Wallace Preseason Player of the Year Watch list and appeared on several preseason teams.
Last season, VCU posted a 37-23 mark and won the CAA Tournament, earning the conference's automatic bid to a NCAA Regional.
A Look at the Monarchs
Old Dominion has posted a 4-3 mark this season, including a victory over then No. 2 North Carolina in a midweek contest last week. The Monarchs took two-of-three from Temple last weekend at home.
Old Dominion was picked to win the CAA this season. The Monarchs have even been ranked in several national polls. First baseman Bryan Cipolla leads Old Dominion with 10 RBIs. All-American pitcher Anthony Shawler and Dan Hudson have made a strong starting mound combination for the Monarchs.
Last season, Old Dominion went 35-24 during the regular season and tied for first place during the CAA's regular season.
Flames at Worthington Stadium
For the past 28 years, the Flames have called Worthington Stadium their home. The Flames have compiled an impressive 478-215-4 record at the facility for a winning percentage of .689 since the stadium's inception in 1979. Last season, Liberty went 23-9 at Worthington. The 23 wins tie for the third most by the Flames in a year at the facility.
This year, the Flames are slated to play 28 home games at the stadium. Liberty begin its home schedule this past weekend by taking two-of-three from Rider. The slate of 28 games is tentatively scheduled to host its first night contests in the history of the stadium this season. The lights at the facility are to be installed by March 28, with 12 contests scheduled to be played under the lights.
Liberty on the Road
This year, Liberty is scheduled to play 22 contests on the road, plus six on neutral fields. Jim Toman's team's road schedule includes two tournaments. This first is in Clearwater, Fla., which opened the season, followed by The Coca-Cola Classic in Hattiesburg, Miss., March 14-15.
The Flames are off to a good start away from Lynchburg, after winning all four of their road/neutral contests to begin the 2008 campaign.
Last season, Liberty posted a 10-15 road mark, plus a 3-1 neutral field record.
Flames Mound Staff Off to Good Start
The Liberty pitching staff is off to a strong start in 2008. Over the first seven games of the year, the Flames' hurlers have a 2.00 ERA, allowing 18 runs in 63 innings pitched.
The Liberty staff has held its opponents to two runs or less in four of its first seven contests this season. Flames starters have pitched into the fifth inning on five occasions.
Fast Start For Bream
Freshman Doug Bream has gotten off to a fast start at the plate for Liberty in his first few games of collegiate baseball. The Flame left fielder leads the Liberty with a .571 batting average, 12 hits and eight RBIs over the first seven contests of the year. He has already posted four multi-hit games and three multi-RBI contests this season
Last week, the Liberty newcomer hit .600 and drove in seven runs in four games. Bream capped off the week with a 4-for-5 afternoon and two RBIs on Sunday against Rider.