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Liberty Travels to VMI for Big South Series
The Liberty Flames (20-17, 10-5 Big South) travel to Lexington, Va., for a three-game Big South Conference series with the VMI Keydets (19-17-1, 8-7 Big South), Friday and Saturday. The series isc scheduled to get underway, Friday at Gray-Minor Stadium, the site of the 2011 Big South Baseball Championship, at 6 p.m. The series will wrap-up with a doubleheader, starting at 2 p.m. on Saturday. The Flames enter the series having won their last five Big South Conference games.
Last Time Out
The Liberty Flames saw their five-game winning streak come to an end, falling to the Tribe of William & Mary, 11-5, Tuesday evening in a non-conference game at Plumeri Park.
Liberty totaled nine hits in the contest. Shortstop Matt Williams had three hits in the contest and drove in two runs for the Flames. Right fielder Michael Robertson had two hits, both of which went for extra bases, and scored twice.
The Flames will travel to Columbia, S.C., for a non-conference contest with the No. 2-ranked South Carolina Gamecocks, Tuesday. First pitch at Carolina Stadium is scheduled for 1 p.m.
Liberty returns home on next weekend to host the Liberrty Tournament at Worthington Stadium. The New Orleans Privateers and the LeMoyne Dolphins will also participate. The tournament opens Friday at 1 p.m. with New Orleans and LeMoyne squaring off. The Flames will host LeMoyne at 7 p.m. in the second game of the day, Friday.
Following the Flames
All three games of the Liberty-VMI series may be heard LIVE at LibertyFlames.com. In addition, both games of Saturday's doubleheader may also be heard LIVE on WWMC 90.9 FM radio. Nick Pierce will handle play-by-play duties and former Flames pitcher Doug Wallace will provide commentary for the games.
The Flames are 5-6 in the month of April. Liberty is scheduled to play 16 games in the month, with 12 coming against Big South opponents. The Flames have produced the longest winning and losing streaks of the season during the month. Liberty opened April by losing five straight games, before reversing the trend by winning five consecutive contests.
Since 1976, the Flames have recorded an all-time mark of 350-291-1 (.546) in April. Last season, Liberty finished the month of April with a 10-8 record. The Flames posted a 9-3 mark in Big South Conference play.
The Flames are 10-12 away from home this season. Liberty is 8-12 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 1-11 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 76 bases in 93 attempts this season, compared to 2010, when the Flames swiped only 28 bases in 44 tries through 37 games. Liberty's 76 stolen bases lead the Big South Conference in the category. The Flames are ranked seventh in the nation in the latest NCAA Division I statistical report for games played through April 17.
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. 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 12 stolen bases, while teammate Michael Robertson has nine thefts. Doug Bream rounds out the five with seven stolen bases.
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 to the College Baseball Foundation's National All-Star Line-Up, as well as being named the Southeast Regional Player of the Week by CollegeBaseballInsider.com and the Big South Player of the Week for games played through April 10.
During the week, Bream batted .737 (14-19) with six runs scored, eight RBIs, two doubles, one triple and two walks in four games. The senior had four or more hits in three of the games, including a 5-5 day in a midweek contest with James Madison on April 6.
After picking up a hit and RBI at High Point on April 8, 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 9-0 win on April 9 and was 4-for-5 with a double and three RBIs in Liberty's 14-9 victory on April 10.
He finished the week with a .762 on-base percentage and a .947 slugging percentage.
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.
Evans Pitches Way into Record Book
With 49 strikeouts on the year, senior left-hander Steven Evans has moved into fourth place on Liberty's all-time strikeout list with 234. He enters the weekend seven strikeouts short of matching former Liberty left-hander David Bechtold (2002-05), who had 241, for third place on the career list. Mike Brown (1994-97) is Liberty's career strikeout leader with 287. Evans is currently tied for fourth in the Big South with 49 strikeouts this season.
Evans is also tied for fourth on the program's career wins list with 23. The senior, who has a career record of 23-10, is tied with Kevin Napier (1983-86) for fourth on the all-time list. The left-hander needs one more win to move into second on the school's career victory list with Tim Harrell (1995-98) and David Harris (1979-83). Liberty standout Lee Guetterman (1978-81) won 29 games during his career to top the Liberty all-time wins list.
In addition, the senior has moved into the Liberty career innings pitched list's Top 10 with 277 1/3 innings. Evans begins the weekend in sixth place on the program's all-time list.
A fixture of the Flames' pitching staff over the past four years, Evans has a 23-10 career record with a 3.70 ERA. The left-hander has walked 90 batters for a 2.7 to 1 strikeout to walk ratio during his career.