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Liberty Hosts Kentucky for Home Opener

February 21, 2017  Lynchburg, Va.  RSS
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Second baseman Andrew Kowalo tags out a runner trying to steal in Liberty's 6-1 win over Kansas on Saturday. The Flames will host Kentucky on Wednesday at 3 p.m.

Second baseman Andrew Kowalo tags out a runner trying to steal in Liberty's 6-1 win over Kansas on Saturday. The Flames will host Kentucky on Wednesday at 3 p.m.

KENTUCKY vs. LIBERTY
Feb. 22
Liberty Baseball Stadium
Lynchburg, Va.

 

Kentucky vs. Liberty – 3 p.m.

COMPLETE BASEBALL NOTES

TV/Video Coverage: LFSN Television

LFSN Radio Coverage: 
93.3FM/1320AM WVGM ESPN Radio

Live Stats: Wednesday

 

Quick Hits
• Liberty will enter Wednesday's game with a 2-1 mark. The Flames opened the season at the Charleston Crab House Challenge this past weekend, defeating Kansas and The Citadel, while falling to No. 16 Virginia.
• Liberty will open its 2017 home schedule on Wednesday. The Flames are 72-30 (.706) all-time in their four years at Liberty Baseball Stadium.
• Liberty is 3-1 at Liberty Baseball Stadium and 31-11 all-time in home openers.
• Liberty and Kentucky have never met on the baseball diamond. 
• The 2017 season will is the first under head coach Scott Jackson.  Jackson, who was an assistant coach at Liberty in 2008, spent the past eight seasons as an assistant on head coach Mike Fox's staff at North Carolina.
• Wednesday will match two first-year coaches as Wildcats Head Coach Nick Mingione is in his first year at Kentucky also. 
• Liberty first baseman Sammy Taormina was named the Big South Player of the Week for games played Feb. 17-19.
• Freshmen hit all three of Liberty's home runs this past weekend. Third baseman Ben Highfill hit the first home run of his career in the Flames' win over Kansas, Saturday. Shortstop Cam Locklear belted two home runs in Liberty's victory over The Citadel on Sunday, becoming the first Flames freshman to hit two in a game since Alex Close on May 18, 2012.
• Liberty was picked to finish third in the Big South by the conference head coaches in the league's preseason poll.
 
Taormina Named Big South Player of the Week
Liberty first baseman Sammy Taormina has been selected as the Big South Player of the Week for games played Feb. 17-19.
 
Taormina hit .545 with three doubles and a triple, helping the Flames post a 2-1 record at the Charleston Crab House Challenge in Charleston, S.C., this past week. He also drew three walks for a .643 on base percentage and had a 1.000 slugging percentage.
 
Taormina opened the 2017 season with three hits and two doubles against No. 16 Virginia, Friday. The first baseman followed that effort with a double and triple in Liberty's 6-1 win over Kansas, Saturday. He finished the weekend with a double and two walks, scoring once, in the Flames' 9-1 victory over The Citadel.
 

Weekend Firsts
Freshmen hit all three of Liberty's home runs this past weekend at the Charleston Crab House Challenge. Third baseman Ben Highfill hit the first home run of his career and of the season by a Liberty player in the Flames' 6-1 win over Kansas, Saturday. Highfill's solo home run in the fifth inning was also his first collegiate hit.

Meanwhile, shortstop Cam Locklear belted two home runs in Liberty's victory over The Citadel on Sunday. His first collegiate home run came in the second inning and gave Liberty a 1-0 lead. Locklear became the first Flames freshman to hit two in a game since Alex Close on May 18, 2012. 

On the mound, senior Caleb Evans recorded the win in the first start of his collegiate career on Saturday. The right-hander allowed one run on two hits over 5 1/3 innings to pick up his first win in a Liberty uniform. The senior, exclusively a reliever during his previous three seasons, had made 34 career appearances with no decisions.

In addition, freshman Garret Price also had several firsts in his relief appearance on Sunday. Price's appearance was the first of his collegiate career and he struck out the first batter he faced in the contest.