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Liberty Visits Radford for Big South Series
The Liberty Flames (14-17, 3-3 Big South) travel to Radford, Va., for a three-game weekend Big South Conference series with the Radford Highlanders (15-16, 2-4 Big South), April 11-13.
The two conference rivals will sqaure off in the opener of the three-game series at Dedmon Center Park on Friday. Game time is scheduled for 3 p.m. The middle contest of the series will be played on Saturday afternoon at 2 p.m. The series finale on Sunday is scheduled for a 1 p.m. first pitch.
All-Time Series Against Radford
Friday will be the 63rd meeting between the Flames and the Highlanders on the diamond since the series began in 1985. Liberty has won eight-straight games in the series and holds a 39-23 all-time advantage.
Last season, the Flames took all three contests from the Highlanders at Worthington Stadium, 16-3, 13-1 and 13-5.
The Last Time Out
Liberty opened an early 3-0 lead on No. 19 Virginia, Wednesday night at Davenport Field, only to see the Cavaliers come back for a 7-3 victory.
Liberty staked itself to an early lead, striking for a solo run in the top of the first inning. With two outs, left fielder P.K. Keller ripped a double down the right field line and scored on a double to center field by David Giammaresi.
The Flames added two runs in the second frame on a fielder's choice RBI by Joseph Feely and a sacrifice fly by Errol Hollinger, before Virginia mounted its comeback.
A Look at the Highlanders
Radford enters this weekend series looking to snap a six-game losing skid. Despite the streak, the Highlanders are one of the Big South's most improved teams this season, with a 14-15 record overall and a 2-4 mark in the Big South. Radford's win total has already surpassed last year's total of 10.
Right fielder Reggie Keen leads the Highlanders with a .391 batting average. The sophomore has started all 31 games for Radford with 45 hits. Corner infielder Alex Gregroy is second on the club with a .376 batting average. He entered the week leading the Big South with 34 RBIs and was fourth in the conference with 31 runs scored. As a team, the Highlanders are hitting .299.
On the mound, Radford sports a 5.24 team ERA. The staff is led by Eric Evans, who has posted a 2-3 record with a 3.66 ERA. Josh Hammonds has the most appearances of the Highlander mound staff. The right-hander has been in 12 contests, all out of the bullpen.
Liberty on the Road
This year, Liberty is scheduled to play 22 contests on the road, plus 10 on neutral fields. Last weekend, the Flames opened their Big South road schedule with two wins in a three-game series at UNC Asheville. Jim Toman's team's road schedule includes two tournaments. The first was in Clearwater, Fla., which opened the season, followed by The Coca-Cola Classic in Hattiesburg, Miss., March 14-15.
For the season, Liberty sports a 3-5 road record and a 5-4 neutral field mark. Last season, Liberty posted a 10-15 road record, plus a 3-1 mark on neutral fields.
Midweek Time Change Announced
The start time for the Flames' home contest against Virginia Tech on April 16 has
been changed to a 3 p.m. start time. The game had orginally been scheuduled as a
Flames by the Month
Liberty has started the month of April at 2-5. However, the two wins were in conference play, evening the Flames' conference mark at 3-3. Last season, Liberty went 11-6 in the fourth month of the year. Since 1976, the Flames have recorded an all-time mark of 314-271-1 (.537) in April.
Liberty posted a 7-12 record and began Big South play at 1-2 in the just completed month of March. Last season, the Flames posted a 10-9 record in March and began Big South play with a 3-3 record. Since 1978, Liberty has posted a record of 325-266-2 (.539) 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. The Flames 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, Liberty has had a strong opening month.
Liberty's 14-13, 10-inning victory over UNC Asheville, Saturday, reversed several trends. First, the win stopped a four-game losing skid for the Flames. Second, Liberty won its first extra-inning game of the year. Liberty had previously dropped it's only other extra inning contest, 5-3, in 11 innings to Coastal Carolina on March 28. Finally, it was the first time this season the Flames won a game when trailing after the sixth inning.
Liberty had fallen behind 11-5 after four innings, but rallied to take a 13-11 advantage in the top of the eighth.
Entering play this week, Liberty leads the Big South in doubles with 73 two-base hits. Outfielder P. K. Keller is tied atop the conference with 12 doubles. Defensively, the Flames head up the conference in double plays. Liberty has turned 35 double plays this season.
Brown and Keller Among Big South Leaders
Liberty third baseman Cody Brown enters the week among the Big South leaders in batting average. The junior is currently third in the conference with a .387 average.
In 93 at bats, Brown has a team-leading 36 hits and is second on the squad with 11 multiple-hit games. He has had three hits in four contests, the most of any Liberty hitter. He also leads the Flames with 24 RBIs, one more than senior outfielder P.K. Keller.
Keller is currently ninth in the conference with a .363 batting average. The senior is also sixth in the Big South Conference with a .593 slugging percentage. He is tied for the conference lead with 12 doubles.
Evans, Keller help Flames to Series Win over Asheville
The Liberty Flames raced out to a 3-0 first inning lead and never looked back, downing the UNC Asheville Bulldogs, 11-4, last Sunday. The victory allowed the Flames to take the Big South series, two games to one.
Starter Steven Evans gave the Flames a solid mound effort to pick up his first collegiate win. The freshman right-hander allowed one run, while scattering seven hits to improve his record to 1-2 on the year.
Senior outfielder P.K. Keller paced the 17-hit Liberty attack in his first game back from an injury suffered on April 1. The senior had four hits including a double, drove in three runs and scored two runs in the contest. Catcher Errol Hollinger added his team-leading fourth home run, a two-run blast over the left field wall in the fourth inning. Third baseman Cody Brown and second baseman Kenneth Negron had three hits each for the Flames.
Young Has Big Day at Asheville
Designated hitter Garrett Young had three hits, including a grand slam and a double, helping the Flames past the UNC Asheville Bulldogs, 14-13, in 10 innings, last Saturday at Greenwood Field. The senior designated hitter knocked in a 2008 team-high and a career-best seven RBIs in the contest.
Young started his afternoon with a two-run double in the first inning, as Liberty jumped out to an early 3-0 advantage. Later in the sixth inning with the Flames trailing 11-8, he singled home the fourth run of the frame to cut the Bulldog edge to two runs.
In the eighth, the senior put Liberty back into the lead and helped them complete the comeback with a grand slam, his third home run of the season.
His seven RBIs were the most by a Flame since Feb. 18, 2007, when Tim Nanry drove in eight runs in Liberty's 28-7 win over Richmond at the Crab House Shootout in Charleston, S.C. The all-time Liberty mark is nine RBIs in a contest by Pat Sipe in a 13-2 Flames' victory over Richmond at Worthington Stadium on April 19, 1986.