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Quick Hits 1. Liberty enters the weekend with a 2-1 record. Last weekend, the Flames opened the 2015 season in the Atlanta Challenge, last weekend. After dropping their season-opener to No. 19 Kennesaw State on Friday, the Flames swept a doubleheader at Georgia State. 2. Liberty was ranked in three polls, this week (Collegiate Baseball Newspaper, Baseball America and NCBWA). The Flames' highest ranking is No. 24 by Collegiate Baseball Newspaper.
3. For the second consecutive year, Liberty was selected to win the conference title in the 2015 Big South Preseason Poll. Flames 1B Alex Close was voted as the conference's Preseason Player of the Year. Liberty posted a 41-18 overall mark and a 23-3 Big South record in 2014.
4. Senior catcher Becker Sankey was selected as the Big South Player of the Week for the season's opening weekend. He hit .500 with two home runs. 5. Liberty junior shortstop Dalton Britt returns to his hometown of Greenville, N.C., this weekend. Britt was 2011 & 2012 MidEastern 4A All-Conference performer at J.H. Rose High School. 6. 1B Alex Close and OF/P Ashton Perritt have been named Preseason All-Americans. Close and Perritt both received inclusion on the Louisville Slugger Preseason All-America team by Collegiate Baseball Newspaper. Close was also selected to the Perfect Game team, while Perritt was listed on the D1Baseball.com team.
Tracking Liberty • Liberty enters the week ranked in three polls (Collegiate Baseball Newspaper, Baseball America and NCBWA). The Flames' highest ranking is No. 24 by Collegiate Baseball Newspaper.
• Liberty posted a 2-1 record during the Atlanta Challenge, last weekend. After dropping their season-opener to No. 19 Kennesaw State on Friday, the Flames swept a doubleheader at Georgia State.
• C Becker Sankey was named the Big South Player of the Week for Feb. 13-15.
• Liberty averaged 9.3 runs per game, while allowing 6.3 runs per game, last weekend.
• The Flames were selected to win the conference title in the 2015 Big South Preseason Poll. 1B Alex Close was voted as the conference's Preseason Player of the Year.
• Liberty returns 20 players from last season's 41-18 team, including Close, Big South Freshman of the Year and Freshman All-American Parker Bean and All-Big South players Dalton Britt and Ashton Perritt.
• Liberty averaged 5.5 runs per game, while allowing its opponents 3.2 runs per game last season. The Flames finished 2014, 14th in the country in runs allowed per game.
• The Flames led the Big South Conference in 2014 with a school-record 2.62 ERA and finished the year ranked 14th nationally. Liberty pitching also ranked eighth nationally in hits allowed (7.25 per nine innings).
The Keith LeClair Classic • Liberty joins UNCG, St. John's and host East Carolina in the reshuffled field for the 2015 Keith LeClair Classic.
• The Classic honors the memory of former East Carolina player and head coach Keith LeClair. He led ECU to four NCAA Regional Appearances in fi ve years, before having to relinquish his duties due to his battle with ALS. He died in 2006.
• The Flames will be participating in the Keith LeClair Classic for the second time during Liberty Head Coach Jim Toman's tenure. The Flames went 3-0 during the 2011 Keith LeClair Classic. Liberty bested the fi eld of Rutgers, Monmouth and East Carolina.
• The schedule for this year's Keith LeClair Classic is:
Saturday UNCG at East Carolina Noon St. John's vs. Liberty 3:30 p.m. Liberty vs. UNCG 7 p.m.
Sunday UNCG vs. St. John's 11 a.m. Liberty at East Carolina 2:30 p.m. St. John's at East Carolina 6 p.m. Britt Returns Home • Liberty junior shortstop Dalton Britt returns to his hometown of Greenville, N.C., this weekend. Britt was 2011 & 2012 MidEastern 4A All-Conference performer at J.H. Rose High School. In addition, 2010 and 2011 North Carolina State Games participant.
• On Thursday evening, Britt was honored by the Pitt-Greenville Hot Stove Baseball League as its Amateur Player of the Year. In 2012, he was awarded the 2012 George Williams Outstanding Individual Contributor by the same organization.
• After collecting multi-hit games in each of Liberty's three games at the Atlanta Challenge last weekend, Britt enters the weekend with a team-high .536 batting average in 2015.
• Last season, Britt was named to the Big South All-Conference team, after hitting .299 with 26 runs scored and 35 RBI. He was one of only two Flames to start every game in 2014.
• In addition, he posted a team-high 14-game hitting streak during the season and had a .950 fielding percentage.
• He was one of the final 16 shortstops on the Brooks Wallace National Shortstop of the Year Watch List for 2014 and was named to his second Big South All-Tournament team.
Player Notes • OF/P Ashton Perritt leads Liberty with eight RBI. On Saturday in game two, he hit his first career grand slam and drove in a career-high five runs in Liberty's 9-1 win. • LHP Shawn Clowers opened 2015 by recording the win with three innings of relief in Liberty's game one win over Georgia State, Saturday. He also pitched two innings in game two. • OF/1B Andrew Yacyk hit his first home run of the year in game two of Liberty's doubleheader at Georgia State, Saturday. • LHP Michael Stafford recorded his fi rst win of his career with three innings of relief in game two of Saturday's doubleheader at Georgia State. Stafford struck out fi ve batters in the appearance. • Freshman RHP Zach Clinton did not allow a run over three innings in two appearances. • 1B Alex Close is joined on the Liberty roster by his brother Josh, a freshman outfielder. The two are the fi rst brothers to play at the same time for Liberty since Phil and Tim John in 2007.
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