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Flames Visit Instate Squads
The Liberty Flames (20-19, 8-4 Big South) begin a stretch, where the Flames will play 11 of their next 12 games on the road. The span starts with a five-game road trip, beginning with a visit to James Madison (26-10, 16-4 CAA) on Tuesday. Game time at Long Field/Mauck Stadium is scheduled for 3 p.m. Tuesday. Wednesday, Liberty will travel to Norfolk, Va., to sqaure off with the Old Dominion Monarchs (18-19, 9-10 CAA). First pitch at Bud Metheny Stadium is set for 6 p.m.
All-Time Series Against James Madison, Old Dominion
Tuesday's match-up between James Madison and Liberty will be the 58th meeting between the two schools on the diamond and the third this season. The Dukes lead the all-time series, 31-26, since 1974. James Madison has won the previous two meetings between the two teams this season. On March 18, the Dukes took a 3-2 victory from the Flames. James Madison also won 4-0 on April 8. Both games were at Worthington Stadium. Wednesday will be the 49th meeting between Liberty and Old Dominion. After a 9-7 victory over the Flames on March 5 of this year, the Monarchs hold a 32-16 edge in the all-time series. |
The Last Time Out
Liberty left-hander Ryan Page yielded just one run and pitched a complete game, leading the Flames to a 6-1 victory over the VMI Keydets, Sunday afternoon in the finale of a three-game Big South Conference series at Worthington Stadium. The triumph enabled Liberty to take the series, two games to one. Errol Hollinger had two hits and plated two runs in the contest for Liberty. David Giammaresi and Aaron Grijalva also added two hits apiece for the Flames.
A Look at the Dukes
James Madison enters Tuesday's game with a 26-10 overall mark. The Dukes have won five of their last six contests, including a 5-3 victory Saturday over George Mason to run their record to a second-place 16-4 in the Colonial Athletic Association. James Madison is paced by Brett Sellers at the plate, who begins the week ranked 13th in the country with a .441 batting average. Three other Dukes have posted a .330 average or better. Outfielder Joe Lake has a .366 average, while first baseman Steven Caseres has batted .347 and leads the Dukes with 43 RBIs. Outfielder Alex Foltz has hit .333 in 34 games this season. As a team, James Madison ranks 26th nationally with a .322 team batting average.
On the mound, the Kyle Hoffman and Justin Wood have led the Dukes. Hoffman has posted a team-leading record of 6-2 with a 4.68 ERA. Wood is 2-1 with a 4.81 ERA. Closer Trevor Knight leads the James Madison bullpen staff with 14 appearances and four saves.
A Look at the Monarchs
Old Dominion enters the week at 18-19, after dropping two games of a three-game league series at Hofstra. The Monarchs will travel to Maryland on Tuesday, before hosting Liberty on Wednesday. Center fielder Jimmy Miles leads Old Dominion with a .379 batting average and 48 runs scored. First baseman Bryan Cipolla paces the Monarchs with 38 RBIs. As a team, Old Dominion has a .297 batting average.
On the mound, Ryan Bergh tops the staff with a 3.08 ERA and in appearances with 15. He sports a 4-4 mark. Reliever Cory Toth has posted a 4.85 ERA in 13 appearances, while Preseaon All-American Anthony Shawler has a 4-2 mark with a 5.07 ERA. The pitcher/right fielder has also hit .364 in 33 starts this season. The Monarch staff begins the week with a 5.42 team ERA.
Liberty on the Road
With a win over William & Mary last Tuesday, Liberty now sports a 7-5 road record and a 5-4 neutral field mark this season. This year, Liberty is scheduled to play 23 contests on the road, plus nine on neutral fields. 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. Last season, Liberty posted a 10-15 road record, plus a 3-1 mark on neutral fields.
Flames by the Month
Liberty has posted a 8-7 mark in the month of April. The Flames are 7-2 in Big South play during the month. Last season, Liberty went 11-6 in the fourth month of the year. Since 1976, the Flames have recorded an all-time mark of 320-273-1 (.540) in April.
Liberty posted a 7-12 record and began Big South play at 1-2 in March. Last season, the Flames posted a 10-9 record in the third month of they year 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.
The Flames at Night
Wednesday night's contest at Old Dominion will be the seventh night game of the season for Liberty. After winning its last two night contests, the Flames are 2-4 under the lights this season. Last year, Liberty went 4-6 in night contests. Since 2004, Liberty has gone 10-18 under artificial lighting.
The Flames are scheduled to play 12 games at night this season, including six at Worthington Stadium and six on the road.
Stokes Named Pitcher of the Week for April 15-20
Liberty senior David Stokes has been named the New Balance Big South Pitcher of the Week, for games played April 15-20.
Stokes pitched eight scoreless innings and scattered five hits in an 8-0 victory over VMI, Friday night at Worthington Stadium. The shutout was the first of the season by the Flames mound staff, as reliever Andrew Wilson pitched a scoreless ninth frame. During his eight innings of work, the right-hander struck out nine batters and yielded one walk. The senior allowed only one runner past second base in the game.
With the victory, Stokes picked up his second-straight win to move to 5-3 on the season. The right-hander enters the week fourth in the Big South with a 2.84 ERA. He also ranks second in the conference in victories and in innings pitched with 63 1/3. In addition, the right-hander is second in the Big South with 58 strikeouts, one less than teammate Dustin Umberger.
Saturday's 6-5, 16-inning setback to VMI was the longest game in Liberty history, both in innings played and in time. A 5-4, 14-innng setback against the Virginia Tech Hokies in Blacksburg, Va., on April 9, 1990, had been the most innings in a contest the Flames had previously played.
The 16-inning marathon lasted four hours and 26 minutes, also the longest game in duration recorded in program history. The Flames had previously had two other games go over four hours. Liberty defeated Charleston Southern, 3-2, in 12 innings in four hours and seven minutes on May 22, 2006. The previously longest recorded game involving a Liberty team was a 4-2 loss at William & Mary on April 9, 1998. The nine-inning contest went four hours and 11 minutes.
Entering play this week, Liberty leads the Big South in doubles with 100 two-base hits. Outfielder P. K. Keller paces the conference with 17 doubles, while teammate David Giammaresi is tied for second with 14 two-base hits.
Defensively, the Flames head up the conference in double plays. Liberty has turned 41 twin killings this season, one more than Coastal Carolina.
Flames Among Big South Leaders
David Giammaresi enters the week fourth among the Big South leaders in batting average, with a .381 batting average. He is also among the conference leaders in on-base percentage (7th - .437) and slugging percentage (10th - . 550).
Besides leading the conference with 17 doubles, P.K. Keller is currently tied for seventh in the league with 34 RBIs.
On the mound, right-hander David Stokes has moved into a tie for second on the conference's leader board for wins with five. The senior also is tied for second in the Big South with 63 1/3 innings pitched. Teammate Dustin Umberger leads Stokes by one for the conference lead in strikeouts with 59 punchouts.
Page Pitches Liberty Past VMI
Liberty left-hander Ryan Page yielded just one run, en route to pitching a 6-1 complete-game victory over the VMI Keydets, Sunday afternoon in the finale of a three-game Big South Conference series at Worthington Stadium. With their victory in the rubber match, the Flames took the conference series, two games to one.
Page kept the Keydet batters off stride throughout the contest, pitching his first complete game since March 11, 2006, when he hurled a 3-0 shutout at George Washington. The senior gave up one run, while scattering seven hits. The senior struck out eight hitters, while not allowing a free pass in the win.
Evans Pitches Gem In Win at William & Mary
Liberty freshman left-hander Steven Evans kept William & Mary hitters off stride through 7 2/3 innings in a 13-3 Libery victory, last Tuesday.
The Flames took control of the contest in the second inning with a seven-run outburst, highlighted by a two-run homer by Aaron Phillips and a grand slam by David Giammaresi. Cody Brown hit his fourth home run of the year later in the contest.
Evans evened his record at 2-2, as he allowed two runs on six hits and struck out a career-best 10 Tribe batters.
A Look Ahead
Liberty completes a five-game road trip with a weekend conference series in Rock Hill, S.C., against Winthrop. The opener of the three-game series Friday is scheduled for 6 p.m., followed by a 4 p.m. contest on Saturday. The final game of the Big South series is slated for 2 p.m. Sunday.