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Flames to Host Two Midweek Games
The Liberty Flames (12-12, 1-2 Big South) host the Tribe of William & Mary (18-10, 9-6 CAA) in the first of two midweek contests at Worthington Stadium on Tuesday, April 1. First pitch Tuesday is scheduled for 6 p.m. The Flames will then host the Norfolk State Spartans (11-10, 3-3 MEAC) on Wednesday, April 2. Game time is slated for 3 p.m.
All-Time Series Against William & Mary, Norfolk State
Tuesday will be the 42nd meeting between Commonwealth rivals Liberty and William & Mary. The Tribe holds a slight advantage in the all-time series, 22-19, since 1976. Last season, William & Mary took both meetings between the teams, defeating the Flames, 8-3, on April 3 at Worthington Stadium, and a week later, downing Liberty 11-1 in Williamsburg, Va.
Wednesday, the Flames and Spartans will meet for the second time this season and the 38th meeting all-time since 1981. Liberty holds a 24-13 edge in the all-time series. On Feb. 26, Liberty defeated Norfolk State, 5-1, in Norfolk, Va. Doug Bream had two hits and drove in three runs for the Flames in the victory.
The Last Time Out
Coastal Carolina took the final game of a three-game Big South weekend series with the Flames, 2-1, on a cold and damp, Sunday afternoon at Worthington Stadium. After the Chanticleers took an early 2-0 lead in the contest, third baseman Cody Brown hit his second home run of the season in the seventh inning to slice the Liberty deficit in half. However, the Flames could not get the equalizer in the 2-1 setback.
A Look at the Tribe
William & Mary went 2-1 this past weekend in a conference series with Delaware to move to 18-10 on the year and 9-6 in the Colonial Athletic Association on the season.
First baseman Mike Sheridan and catcher Tim Park enter Tuesday's contest, each hitting .425 for the Tribe. Sheridan has also collected a team-leading 36 RBIs, while Park and outfielder Robbie Nickle have driven in 32 RBIs apiece. As a team, William & Mary is hitting .339 with 31 home runs.
On the mound, William & Mary pitchers have posted a 5.96 ERA through the first 28 games of the year. Sean Grieve has made a staff-leading 16 appearances, recording a 2-0 mark and four saves with a 3.38 ERA. Pat Kantakevich is the Tribe's ERA leader with a 2.59 ERA in 15 appearances. He also has three saves.
A Look at Norfolk State
The Spartans come to Lynchburg, fresh off a series sweep of Coppin State on this past weekend. With the sweep, Norfolk State improved it record to 11-10 on the year and 3-3 in Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference play.
Middle infielders Chris Joyce and Moriba George pace the Spartans with .333 and .322 batting averages, respectively. Joyce also leads Norfolk State with 19 RBIs.
On the mound, the Spartans sport a 3.83 ERA. Pitchers Quinn Bright and Frankie Caldeyro lead Norfolk State with nine appearances each. Bright took the loss when Liberty met the Spartans in Norfolk on Feb. 28 of this year.
Flames at Worthington Stadium
For the past 28 years, the Flames have called Worthington Stadium their home. The Flames have compiled an impressive 481-218-4 record at the facility for a winning percentage of .687 since the stadium's inception in 1979. This year, the Flames are slated to play 24 home games at the stadium. Liberty has posted a 6-5 record at Worthington, so far this season.
The slate of home games includes the first night contests in the history of the stadium. This past Friday night was the first night contest ever at the stadium, and nine contests currently are scheduled to be played under the lights. Last season, Liberty went 23-9 at Worthington. The 23 wins tie for the third most by the Flames in a season at the facility.
Flames by the Month
The Flames posted a 7-12 record and began Big South play at 1-2 in the just completed month of March. Last season, Liberty posted a 10-9 record in March and began Big South play with a 3-3 record. Since 1978, the Flames have posted a record of 325-266-2 (.549) in the month of March. Liberty played five contests during the month of February in 2008, with the inception of the common starting date for college baseball. For the first time this season, NCAA Division I programs could not begin competition until Feb. 22. Liberty went unbeaten during the month, posting a 5-0 mark to open the 2008 campaign Last season, Liberty started the 2007 campaign by posting a 7-3 mark in February, while in 2006, Liberty started 7-2. The Flames have been successful during the month with a mark of 69-29 (.704) since 1976. It is the third-straight season the Flames have had a strong opening month.
Tuesday's contest with William & Mary will be the first contest of 21 games in April. Last season, the Flames went 11-6 in the fourth month of the year. Since 1976, Liberty has recorded an all-time mark of 312-266-1 (.540) in April.
A Historic Night
Last Friday night was a historic one for the Liberty baseball program, as Worthington Stadium, the Flames' home field, hosted its first-ever night game.
The contest between Coastal Carolina and Liberty, the opening game of Big South play for both teams, drew a stadium-record 3,183 fans. The stadium also debuted a new sound system at the game, which was won, 5-3, in 11 innings by the Chanticleers.
The installation of lights is one of several improvement projects to Worthington Stadium and the adjacent Crowder/Muckel Field House over the past year.
The Liberty baseball program moved to the on-campus facility in 1979. At the time, the field was named Liberty Field. In May 1989, the field was renamed Worthington Stadium after the program's first coach and later Athletic Director Al Worthington.
Entering play this week, Liberty leads the Big South in doubles with 64 two-base hits. Right-fielder P. K. Keller is tied atop the conference with 11 doubles.
Defensively, the Flames head up the conference in double plays. Liberty is tied with Winthrop with 31 double plays this season.
Giammaresi Makes Most of Opportunity
Senior David Giammaresi has made the most of an opportunity. The senior, who earned second-team all-conference honors as a third baseman in 2007, started at first base against Columbia on March 20, and since then, has been a tough out in the middle of the Liberty batting order.
In the last eight games, Giammaresi has led the Flames in hitting with a .484 average. The switch hitter has raised his batting average 77 points since taking over the duties at first base.
Giammaresi has had two or more hits in five of the eight games, including a trio of three-hit contests.
Two-Out Runs Key Liberty Victory Over Coastal Carolina
The Liberty Flames plated seven runs with two outs, en route to a 9-6 victory over the 18th-ranked Coastal Carolina Chanticleers, Saturday afternoon at Worthington Stadium.
At the time, the victory evened the weekend series between the Big South Conference foes at one game apiece.
In the bottom of the third inning, the Flames struck for five runs to take a 5-1 lead. All five runs scored with two outs. Left fielder Jeff Jefferson and third baseman Cody Brown each belted two-run hits. Jefferson got the scoring started with a single and Brown followed with a double inside the bag. Designated hitter Garrett Young capped the two-out rally with a RBI single.
Liberty added two more two-out runs on a sixth-inning RBI single by P.K. Keller and another tally on an error in the eighth.
A Look Ahead
Liberty travels to Asheville, N.C., for its first Big South Conference road series of 2008. The Flames will face the UNC Asheville Bulldogs in a three-game series at Greenwood Field, Friday-Sunday. Game time Friday is set for 3 p.m., while the two teams will meet on Saturday at 2 p.m. The series finale is set for Sunday afternoon at 1 p.m.