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Liberty Faces William & Mary in Midweek Tilt
The Liberty Flames (20-16, -5 Big South) travel to Williamsburg, Va., to square off in a non-conference game with the Tribe of William & Mary (18-20, 9-9 CAA), Tuesday evening. First pitch is scheduled for 7 p.m. at Plumeri Park. The Flames will be looking to extend their season-high five-game win streak.
Last Time Out
The Liberty Flames jumped out to a 5-1 lead through the first three innings of game two and never looked back, defeating the Presbyterian College Blue Hose, 5-2, to complete a sweep of both Sunday afternoon's doubleheader at Worthington Stadium and the three-game Big South series.
Liberty totaled 13 hits in the game. Matt Williams, Doug Bream, Austin Taylor, Justin Richardson and Jeff Jefferson had two hits apiece for the Flames.
Keegan Linza moved to 6-2 on the year, yielding two runs, both unearned, on seven hits over the first 5 1/3 innings. Garrett Baker, who recorded his first save of the year Friday night in Liberty's 6-5 win over PC, earned his second save of the season. The junior threw 3 2/3 innings of scoreless relief, giving up three hits and striking out two batters.
The Flames will travel over the Blue Ridge Mountains this weekend for a three-game Big South series with the VMI Keydets in Lexington, Va. Liberty and VMI will open the series on Friday at Gray-Minor Stadium with a 7 p.m. start time. Saturday, the series comes to a close with a doubleheader, starting at 2 p.m.
Following the Flames
Tuesday's game may be heard LIVE at LibertyFlames.com. Nick Pierce will handle play-by-play duties and former Flames pitcher Doug Wallace will provide commentary for the games.
The Flames are 10-11 away from home this season. Liberty is 8-11 in road contests and 2-0 in neutral site games. Liberty is slated to play 30 regular-season contests away from home. The Flames will square off with 27 of their opponents on their home field this season and already have met two teams, Rutgers and Monmouth, on a neutral field during the Keith LeClair Classic in Greenville, N.C., March 11-13.
The Flames went 21-10 in road contests in 2010. Liberty posted the 10th-best road mark in the nation during the year. The Flames went 18-8 in road games and 3-2 in neutral site contests during the year.
Pleading the Fifth
The fifth inning has become a pivotal inning for the Flames this season. Liberty is 19-6 when leading or tied with an opponent through five innings this season. Meanwhile, the Flames are 1-10 when trailing after the fifth inning.
Get Your Running Shoes On
What a difference a year makes. So far this season, Liberty has taken advantage of its team speed, more than doubling its stolen base total from a year ago. The Flames have stolen 75 bases in 92 attempts this season, compared to 2010, when the Flames swiped only 27 bases in 43 tries through 36 games. Liberty's 75 stolen bases lead the Big South Conference in the category. The Flames were ranked fourth in the nation in the latest NCAA Division I statistical report for games played through April 10.
Leading the way for the Flames is catcher Casey Rasmus who is 17-for-18 in steal attempts this season despite playing in 30 games. He is currently third in the Big South Conference and 25th in the nation in stolen bases. Center fielder Ian Parmley is next on the team and ranks fourth in the Big South with 16 thefts (16-for-21).
The Flames stolen base totals are definitely a stark contrast from last season, when only outfielder Curran Redal had stolen eight bases and led the team at this point in the year. No other Flames had more than four thefts. This season, five Liberty players have seven or more base thefts. Shortstop Matt Williams joins the previously mentioned Rasmus and Parmley, with 11 stolen bases, while teammate Michael Robertson has nine thefts. Doug Bream rounds out the five with seven stolen bases. Bream, a senior, entered the year with a career total of two stolen bases over his previous three seasons.
Doug Bream Receives National, Conference Honors
The National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association (NCBWA) named Liberty senior outfielder Doug Bream and Clemson junior shortstop Brad Miller National Co-Hitters of the Week, April 12. The Flames outfielder was also selected the Southeast Regional Player of the Week by CollegeBaseballInsider.com, as well as the Big South Player of the Week for games played through April 10.
Bream batted .737 (14-19) with six runs scored, eight RBIs, two doubles, one triple and two walks in four games last week. The senior had four or more hits in three of the games, including a 5-5 day in a midweek contest with James Madison. He finished the week with a .762 on-base percentage and a .947 slugging percentage.
After picking up a hit and RBI Friday at High Point, Bream had four hits in each of Liberty's weekend wins over the Panthers. The outfielder went 4-for-5 and drove in four runs in Saturday's 9-0 win and was 4-for-5 with a double and three RBIs in Liberty's 14-9 victory on Sunday.
Doing the Dougie
On April 6, outfielder Doug Bream had a career-high five hits in a 16-12 setback at Worthington Stadium. Bream surpassed his previous career-high of four hits in a 12-7 win over James Madison at Worthington Stadium on April 21, 2010. It is the first time a Liberty Flame has had five hits in game since outfielder Curran Redal in a 14-8 victory over High Point in game one of a Big South Conference doubleheader at Worthington Stadium on April 3, 2010. Bream went 5-for-5 in the contest and scored three runs.
Later in the week, the senior had two four-hit games in victories at High Point to close the week with a .737 batting average.
The left fielder enters Tuesday's game leading the Flames with a .376 batting average, 36 RBIs and 56 hits. With six multiple-hit games in this last seven, Bream leads Liberty with 18 multi-hit contests. He also leads the team with 11 multi-RBI games. The left fielder has raised his batting average 76 points over his last seven contests.
Williams Moves Up on Career 2Bs List
Shortstop Matt Williams continues to climb the school's Top 10 career doubles list. With a two doubles over the weekend against Presbyterian College, Williams now has 47 two-base hits, moving into eighth place on the all-time list. The shortstop is one double shy of tying Liberty standout Keith Butler (2000-02) for seventh on the list.
Former Liberty outfielder Phillip Laurent (2003-06) holds the school career record for two-base hits with 68. He also set the single season record with 27 in 2006.
Williams' Liberty teammate Tyler Bream has also moved into the Top 10 career doubles list this season. With 45 two-base hits, Bream ranks 10th on the school's career list.