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Liberty to Take on Clemson at Columbia, S.C. Regional

May 27, 2013  Lynchburg, Va.  RSS
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Several Flames react to hearing draw for the 2013 NCAA Tournament.
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The Big South Champion Liberty Flames will participate in the NCAA Columbia, S.C. Regional and will play the Clemson Tigers in their opening round game, Friday.

The Flames and Tigers will meet in the first game of the day at Carolina Stadium at 1 p.m.

The regional matchups and seeds were announced on ESPNU earlier today.

Liberty is the No. 3 seed in the regional and Clemson garners the No. 2 seed.  They will be joined in the regional by the host and No. 1 seed South Carolina Gamecocks and No. 4 seed Saint Louis Billikens. The winners will meet Saturday at 8 p.m., while the losers will meet in an elimination game Saturday at 2 p.m.

With a 2-1 win over Campbell this past Saturday in the Big South title game, the 34-27 Flames claimed the conference's automatic bid to an NCAA Regional and their first conference crown since 2000. After the losing their first game of the tournament, the Flames won five straight games, four by one run, to claim the title.

Liberty is only the fourth host team in the 25-year history of the Big South Baseball Championship to win the conference crown and only the second No. 5 seed to claim the championship.

The Flames are led by Big South All-Conference first team catcher Trey Wimmer and Big South Tournament MVP Ashton Perritt.  Wimmer, who also earned all-tournament honors, was a member of the 2013 Johnny Bench Award Watch list.  The senior enters regionals hitting .303 with a team-leading 41 runs scored and 36 RBIs. Defensively, he has thrown out 23 of 45 runners trying to steal.

Meanwhile, Perritt enters the regional with a .338 batting average and six home runs as an outfielder and a 1.35 ERA and nine saves as a relief pitcher.  During the conference tournament, Perritt hit .400, did not allow a run in four pitching appearances and recorded four saves.

Perritt and Wimmer were joined on the 2013 Big South All-Tournament team by shortstop Dalton Britt, pitcher Blake Fulghum, third baseman Jake Kimble and outfielder Justin Sizemore.

Liberty head coach Jim Toman will be returning to Columbia, where he served on former South Carolina head coach Ray Tanner's staffs as an assistant for 11 years (1997-2007).

Clemson will enter the regional at 39-20. The Tigers finished third in the Atlantic Division of the ACC with an 18-12 record.  Liberty and Clemson will meet for the first time since 2000. The two teams have never squared off during the NCAA Baseball Tournament.