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Flames Face Instate Foes in Midweek

April 15, 2008  Lynchburg, Va.  RSS
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Liberty freshman pitcher Steven Evans

Liberty freshman pitcher Steven Evans

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The Games
The Liberty Flames (17-17, 6-3 Big South) travel to Williamsburg, Va., Tuesday, for a night game against the Tribe of William & Mary (25-11, 10-7 CAA). Game time is scheduled for 7 p.m. Wednesday, the Flames will return home to host Virginia Tech in an afternoon game at Worthington Stadium. First pitch Wednesday is scheduled for 3 p.m.

All-Time Series Against William & Mary, Virginia Tech
Tuesday will be the 43rd meeting between Commonwealth rivals Liberty and William & Mary. The Tribe holds a slight advantage in the all-time series, 23-19, since 1976. Earlier this season, William & Mary defeated Liberty, 9-7, at Worthington Stadium. The April 1 contest featured six home runs, three by each squad. Wednesday will be the 51st contest on the diamond between Virginia Tech and Liberty. Virginia Tech leads the all-time series, 31-19. Last season, the Hokies took both meetings between the clubs. Virginia Tech won 8-2 on March 13 at Worthington Stadium and later, downed the Flames, 12-9, at English Field in Blacksburg, Va., on May 1.

The Last Time Out
Liberty completed a sweep of their three-game Big South series at Radford with a 12-5 victory, Sunday afternoon. The Flames led from start to finish in the contest. Left-hander Ryan Page picked up the victory, allowing the Highlanders one run over 6 1/3 innings, after entering the game in the second inning. First baseman David Giammaresi and catcher Errol Hollinger both had three hits in the game for the Flames, while center fielder Joseph Feeley drove in a career-best four runs with two hits in the contest.

A Look at the Tribe
William & Mary enters Tuesday's contest on a five-game winning streak and having won nine of its last 10 outings. This past weekend, the Tribe earned a four-game series sweep of New York Tech.
William & Mary leads the Colonial Athletic Association (CAA) in batting (.339), slugging (.540) and runs scored (296).  First baseman Mike Sheridan tops the CAA  with 47 runs scored, 47 RBIs and 15 doubles.  He is fourth in the league with a .424 batting average.   Catcher Tim Park lead the CAA in batting average with a .444 average.

A Look at Virginia Tech
The Hokies have won four of their last five contests, coming into Wednesday's game. Virginia Tech took two-of-three games this past weekend from Wake Forest in an Atlantic Coast Conference series.
The Hokies are hitting .303 as a team.  Austin Wates paces the team with a .345 batting average.  Anthony Sosnoskie leads Virginia Tech with 34 RBIs. On the mound, Justin Wright leads the Hokies with a 2.35 ERA in 18 appearances.  As a team, Virginia Tech has posted a 6.04 ERA.

Honoring the Victims
Before Wednesday afternoon's contest, those who lost their lives a year ago in the shootings at Virginia Tech will be remembered on the anniversary of the tragic incident.  After a moment of silence, 32 maroon and orange balloons will be released in memory of the victims.

Following the Flames
Wednesday's contest between Virginia Tech and Liberty will be broadcast on WWMC 90.9 FM "The Light" beginning at 3 p.m.  This season, the Flames Sports Network plans to broadcast 19 regular season Flames contests.  The games will be broadcast over the airwaves at 90.9 or online at LibertyFlames.com or thelightonline.com.
Live stats for both games will be available on LibertyFlames.com.  All Liberty contests can be viewed over the World Wide Web on LibertyFlames by clicking the Live Stats link.

Flames by the Month
Liberty has started the month of April at 5-5.  The Flames are 5-1 in Big South play during the month. Last season, Liberty went 11-6 in the fourth month of the year.  Since 1976, the Flames have recorded an all-time mark of 317-271-1 (.539) in April.
Liberty posted a 7-12 record and began Big South play at 1-2 in March. Last season, the Flames posted a 10-9 record in the third month of they year and began Big South play with a 3-3 record.  Since 1978, Liberty has posted a record of 325-266-2 (.539) in the month of March.
Liberty played five contests during the month of February in 2008, with the inception of the common starting date for college baseball. For the first time this season, NCAA Division I programs could not begin competition until Feb. 22. The Flames went unbeaten during the month, posting a 5-0 mark to open the 2008 campaign Last season, Liberty started the 2007 campaign by posting a 7-3 mark in February, while in 2006, Liberty started 7-2. The Flames have been successful during the month with a mark of 69-29 (.704) since 1976. It is the third-straight season, Liberty has had a strong opening month.

The Flames at Night
The Flames are 0-4 under the lights this season. Last year, the Flames went  4-6 in night contests.  Since 2004, Liberty has gone 10-18 under artificial lighting.
The Flames are scheduled to play 11 games at night this season, including six at Worthington Stadium and six on the road.

Double Dipping
Entering play this week, Liberty leads the Big South in doubles with 88 two-base hits.  Outfielder P. K. Keller is tied atop the conference with 16 doubles.  Teammate David Giammaresi is also among the conference leaders with 12 two-base hits.  The first baseman's total is tied for fourth with four others.
Defensively, the Flames head up the conference in double plays. Liberty has turned 38 twin killings this season.

Flames Among Big South Leaders
Three Liberty hitters enter the week among the Big South leaders in batting average, headed by David Giammaresi.  The senior first baseman is fifth in the conference with a .381 batting average. He leads the Flames with five three-hit games.
Outfielder P.K. Keller is eighth in the Big South with a .363 average. The senior is also fifth in the league with a .611 slugging percentage and tops the conference with 16 doubles.
Third baseman Cody Brown rounds out the trio.  The junior is ninth in the conference with a .360 average.  He has 12 multiple-hit games, including four three-hit contests.

Hollinger's Two Home Runs Pace Liberty in Win
Catcher Errol Hollinger hit two home runs, his second breaking a 4-4 tie in the ninth inning, leading Liberty to a 5-4 win over Radford last Friday.  The junior hit solo round trippers in the fifth and the ninth.  Hollinger's first home run of the contest in the fifth frame put the Flames ahead, 4-2. He later gave Liberty the victory with a blast over the left field wall in the ninth inning. It was the first time this season a Flame has hit two homers in a game.  The blasts pushed Hollinger's team-leading home run total to six.  The last time a Flames hit two or more round trippers in a contest was on Feb. 18, 2007, when Tim Nanry hit three roundtrippers in defeating Richmond, 28-7, at the Crab House Shootout in Charleston, S.C.

Stokes Goes Distance  
Senior right-hander David Stokes became the first Liberty hurler this season to pitch a complete game, going the distance in Liberty's 5-4 victory at Radford last Friday.  The senior gave up four runs on 11 hits on the afternoon.  Over his nine innings of work, Stokes struck out seven Radford hitters and walked one.  The victory ran the senior's record to 4-3 on the season.  Stokes leads the Flames in ERA (3.25), innings pitched (55.1) and strikeouts (49).

A Look Ahead
Liberty returns to conference play on this weekend by hosting conference leader VMI in an important Big South three-game series. Friday's opener is scheduled for 7 p.m., followed by a 4 p.m start on Saturday.  Sunday's finale is set for 1 p.m.