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Liberty to Meet Winthrop in Big South Series

April 24, 2008
|  Rock Hill, S.C.
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Aaron Grijalva dives back into first bases safely against VMI last Sunday.  The senior and the Flames face Winthrop this weekend.

Aaron Grijalva dives back into first bases safely against VMI last Sunday. The senior and the Flames face Winthrop this weekend.

Complete Game Notes (PDF)

The Games
The Liberty Flames (21-20, 8-4 Big South) travel to Rock Hill, S.C., for a three-game weekend Big South series against the Winthrop Eagles (16-24, 6-6 Big South), April 25-27 at the Winthrop Ballpark. The series opens Friday evening at 6 p.m. Saturday, the Flames and Eagles will meet in the middle game of the contest, scheduled for 4 p.m. Sunday, the conference series will conclude. First pitch for the final game of the three-game set is scheduled for 2 p.m.

All-Time Series Against Winthrop
Friday's will be the 57th meeting between the Eagles and Flames on the diamond.
Winthrop holds a 30-26 edge in the all-time series since 1981.
Last season, Liberty took four out of the five meetings between the two squads. The Flames swept a three-game series during the regular season in Lynchburg, 5-4, 6-5 and 9-6, May 11-13. Later in the year, the two clubs met twice in the Big South Championship. Winthrop took the first meeting, 4-1, on May 24. The next evening, Liberty eliminated the Eagles, 11-0, to advance to the tournament's title game.

The Last Time Out
Third baseman Cody Brown drove in four runs with a two-run home run and a pair of doubles, as Liberty downed the Old Dominion Monarchs, 11-3, Wednesday night at Bud Metheny Stadium.
Brown began his night with a two-run double in the first inning to give the Flames a 4-0 advantage. In the third frame, the third baseman led off the inning with a double and later scored. Brown capped off his three-hit evening with his sixth home run of the season in the sixth inning. The two-run blast tied him for the team lead with catcher Errol Hollinger.
Left fielder Aaron Grijalva also had three hits in the contest. Starter Tyler Light evened his record at 2-2 with six innings of work.

A Look at the Eagles
Winthrop enters the weekend, 16-24 overall and 6-6 in the Big South conference. The Eagles have lost four of their last five contests, including dropping two games in a three-game conference series at Charleston Southern last weekend.
Shortstop Kevin Tisdale leads Winthrop with a .337 batting average and began the week tied for fourth in the Big South in hits with 55. Outfielder Billy Froehlich paces the Eagles in RBIs with 32 and is third on the team with a .309 batting average. As a team, Winthrop is batting .282 this season.
On the mound, starter Ryan Mullins leads the Eagles in victories, sporting a 4-0 record. Reliever Josh McDonald has the most appearances on the Winthrop stafff with 16. Fellow reliever Mike Ritson has posted a 2.76 ERA over 16 1/3 innings of work in 14 games. The Eagles have a team ERA of 5.16, so far this season.

Liberty on the Road
With its win over Old Dominion on Wednesday night, Liberty now sports an 8-6 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 9-8 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 321-274-1 (.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
After winning its last three night contests, the Flames are 3-4 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.
Stokes als picked up recognition for his performance from InsidePitching.com, which named the right-hander's effort their Southeast Region Performance of the Week, while The College Baseball Blog and StatsStud.com named the Locust Grove, Okla., senior one of their two Players of the Week.
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.

Extra-Inning Extravangza
Last 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.

Double Dipping
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 onbase 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. Liberty left-hander Ryan Page is also among the conference leaders in ERA. The senior enters the week fifth in Big South in the category with a 2.90 ERA.

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 nnings in a 13-3 Liberty victory, April 15.
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.

Look Ahead
Liberty returns home to Worthington Stadium on Wednesday for 3 p.m. contest with
the George Mason Patriots. The Flames return to the road on the weekend, traveling to
Charleston, S.C., for a Big South series with the Charleston Southern Buccaneers. The
two teams will meet in a single game on Saturday at Buccaneer Field at 3 p.m., followed
by a doubleheader on Sunday, beginning at 11 a.m.