Liberty right-hander Clarence Nicely
Complete Game Notes (PDF)
The Games The Liberty Flames (11-10, 0-0 Big South) open Big South Conference play, by hosting a three-game series against the 18th-ranked and defending conference champion Coastal Carolina Chanticleers (19-5, 0-0), this weekend, March 28-30. The opening game of the series will be the first-ever night game at Worthington Stadium. First pitch is scheduled for 7 p.m. Friday. The middle game of the series is slated for 4 p.m. on Saturday afternoon, with the finale of the series scheduled for 1 p.m. Sunday afternoon. All-Time Series Against Coastal Carolina Friday will be the 61st meeting between the Flames and the Chanticleers on the diamond. Coastal Carolina holds a 34-26 advantage in the all-time series, which began in 1977. The last time the two teams met, the confernce's top-seeded Chanticleers captured the 2007 Big South Baseball Championship with a 6-5 victory over the No. 3 seed Flames in the title contest on May 26 at Winthrop Ballpark in Rock Hill, S.C. The Last Time Out George Mason broke open a 2-0 contest, with a six-run sixth inning and went on to a 13-0 victory over the Liberty Flames, Wednesday afternoon at Raymond "Hap" Spuhler Field in Fairfax, Va. Following the Flames This season, the Flames Sports Network plans to broadcast 19 Liberty baseball regular season games. Games will air live on WWMC 90.9 FM "The Light" and on the World Wide Web at both LibertyFlames.com and thelightonline.com. The station plans to carry the Friday and Sunday contests between the Flames and the Chanticleers this weekend, with the broadcasts beginning at 6:50 p.m. on Friday and 12:50 p.m. on Sunday. In addition, live stats are available for each Liberty contest through LibertyFlames.com. A Look at the Chanticleers Coastal Carolina began the week, ranked as high as 18th in several national collegiate baseball polls. The Chanticleers will entered the weekend series with a 19-5 mark. Coastal Carolina defeated The Citadel Tuesday, 5-1, and lost to UNC Wilmington on Wednesday, 10-7. The Chanticleers are led at the plate by catcher Dock Doyle, who has hit .388 with 27 RBIs and seven home runs on the year. Preseason Big South Player of the Year David Sappelt has also carried a big stick for the Chanticleers, batting .351 with 22 RBIs, 11 doubles and six home runs. On the mound, Preseason Big South Pitcher of the Year Bobby Gagg enters the weekend with a 3-1 record and a 2.32 ERA. The Chanticleers have also gotten strong efforts from reliever Joey Haug, who has posted a 2-0 mark with a 1.42 ERA in 11 appearances this season. Flames at Worthington Stadium For the past 28 years, the Flames have called Worthington Stadium their home. The Flames have compiled an impressive 480-216-4 record at the facility for a winning percentage of .688 since the stadium's inception in 1979. This year, the Flames are slated to play 24 home games at the stadium. Liberty has posted a 5-3 record at Worthington, so far this season. The slate of home games is scheduled to include the first night contests in the history of the stadium. Friday night is the first night contest and 0 contests currently scheduled to be played under the lights. Last season, Liberty went 23-9 at Worthington. The 23 wins tie for the third most by the Flames in a season at the facility. Flames in Big South Openers This weekend's series is only the fourth time in 17 years in the Big South, the Flames have started conference play at home. Liberty is 22-23 in their Big South opening series of the season. Of the 45 games, Liberty has opened conference play on the road 13 times with a record of 15-21. The Flames have opened at home three times, going 7-2. Last season, Liberty opened at Worthington Stadium by taking two-of-three from UNC Asheville (March 16-18). The Flames won the opening game of the series, 5-1, while the Bulldogs took the middle contest, 9-3. Liberty then won the finale, 15-5. Friday Night Lights Installation crews are finishing their work on erecting lights at Worthington Stadium and the stadium will have a historic first on Friday night, with its first night game. The Flames will host 10 contests under the lights at the facility this season. The installation of lights is one of several improvement projects to Worthington Stadium and the adjacent Crowder/Muckel Field House over the past year. The Liberty baseball program moved to the on-campus facility in 1979. At the time, the field was named Liberty Field. In May 1989, the field was renamed Worthington Stadium after the program's first coach and later Athletic Director Al Worthington. Liberty Against Nationally Ranked Opponents Coastal Carolina is the first nationally ranked opponent for Liberty this season. The Chanticleers enter the series ranked 18th in the country. Liberty has met a nationally ranked opponent 41 times in the program's history. The Flames have posted a 10-29 mark in those meetings, with one contest ending in a tie after being called in the 7th inning due to rain. Last season, Liberty faced off against three ranked opponents. Liberty sqaured off against then-No. 1 South Carolina, Coastal Carolina (No. 22 & 12) and Arizona (No. 15) when they were nationally ranked in 2007, posting a 1-7 mark. Some Early Trends The Flames are 7-2 when scoring first in a contest and 6-2 when scoring in the first inning. Jim Toman's squad has posted an even better 10-2 mark when out-hitting an opponent. However, the Flames are 4-8 when their opposition scores first and 4-5 when their opponent scores in the first inning. Liberty is also 1-6 when they are out-hit. Double Dipping Entering play this weekend, Liberty leads the Big South in doubles with 60 two-base hits. Right-fielder P. K. Kellert tops the conference in doubles with 11. Defensively, the Flames head up the conference in double plays. Liberty has made 26 double plays this season. Giammaresi Makes Most of Starts Senior David Giammaresi made the most of his opportunity this past weekend. The senior, who earned second-team all-conference honors as a third baseman in 2007, started all four games of the series against Columbia at first base. Giammaresi led the Flames in hitting in the series, batting .625 with three doubles and a RBI. The switch hitter, along with teammates Tim Rotola and Errol Hollinger, had a hit in each of the four contests. In each of the four contests, Giammaresi had two or more hits, posting a pair of twohit games and two three-hit games. Umberger Pitches Seven Strong in Finale Against Columbia This past Saturday, junior right-hander Dustin Umberger's six scoreless innings helped key a 12-2 victory over the Columbia Lions in the final game of a four-game series between the two teams at Lynchburg City Stadium. Umberger improved his season mark to 3-2. Having worked mainly out of the bullpen this year, the right-hander allowed two runs on seven hits over seven innings. He struck out seven and walked one in the Liberty victory. A Look Ahead Liberty continues a five-game homestand with two midweek games. Tuesday night, the Flames will begin the April portion of their schedule by hosting the Tribe of William & Mary. First pitch is scheduled for 7 p.m. The following afternoon, Liberty will square off with Norfolk State at 3 p.m.
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