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Liberty Hosts Presbyterian in Weekend Series

March 27, 2009  Lynchburg, Va.  RSS
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Liberty left-hander Shawn Teufel

Liberty left-hander Shawn Teufel

Complete Baseball Notes (PDF)

The Games
The Liberty Flames (16-5, 4-1 Big South) host conference newcomer Presbyterian (4-15, 1-7 Big South) in a three-game Big South Conference series, Friday-Sunday at Al Worthington Stadium. Friday, the series gets underway at 3 p.m., followed by the middle contest of the series, Saturday at 1 p.m. The first pitch for the finale of the series is set for 1 p.m. Sunday.

What to Watch
Liberty looks to continue its winning ways. The Flames enter the weekend with a six-game winning streak and as winners of 13 out of their last 15 contests. Liberty is hitting .340 as a team and is averaging 9.4 runs per game so far this season.
Right fielder Doug Bream continues to lead the Flames in hitting with a .418 batting average. Center fielder Curran Redal, who has a hit in 17 straight contests, follows closely behind with a .410 averge. The two are among the Big South leaders in batting average entering the weekend.
In addition, third baseman Tyler Bream continues to amass RBIs, with 16 in his last four contests. The freshman leads the Big South in the category with 29. Teammate Redal is tied for second in the conference with 25 RBIs.
Left hander Steven Evans enters the weekend with the top ERA in the conference at 1.59. Last Saturday, the sophomore pitched a complete game in a 7-3 win at High Point to run his record to 3-0 on the season.
Presbyterian is in its first year of conference competition. The Blue Hose enter the weekend hitting .284 as a team. Last Sunday, Presbyterian recorded its first Big South win in a 5-4 victory over Radford in Clinton, S.C.
Infielder Jesse Harmon is among the Big South leaders with a team-leading .417 batting average. Teammates Cory Lyda and Bobby Cole follow with .333 averages.
Harmon also paces the Presbyterian mound staff. The right-hander has posted a 2-1 mark so far this season. Daniel Hill has recorded two saves for the Blue Hose.

The Coaches
Liberty Head Coach Jim Toman is in his second year at the helm of the Flames. In this first season at Liberty, he guided the Flames to a 35-26-1 mark, the best record by a Liberty team under a first-year coach in program history.
A 20-year member of the college coaching ranks, he served 18 years as a member of Ray Tanner's staffs at South Carolina and N.C. State. Toman was named the 2002 Baseball America/American Baseball Coaches Association Assistant Coach of the Year and recruited 15 top 25 classes, including all 11 of his seasons at South Carolina. From 2003-2006, three of the four Gamecock recruiting classes were ranked first in the nation by Collegiate Baseball.
During his time in Columbia, S.C., Toman and the Gamecocks made nine NCAA Regional appearances, including eight-straight since 2000, and three-consecutive trips to the College World Series (2002-04). Add in his seven seasons at N.C. State, and Toman has helped lead 15 teams to NCAA Regional appearances.
Elton Pollock, a 1995 graduate of Presbyterian College, is in his fifth season as head coach of the Blue Hose baseball program.
Last season under Pollock, the initial NCAA Division I campaign for the Blue Hose, the team completed the year with 13 wins, which included the program's first DI series win over Marist. The program also experienced monumental wins over UAB and Charlotte, who at the time was undefeated and nationally ranked.
In 2007, Pollock, a standout in both football and baseball at Presbyterian from 1992-95, and the Blue Hose finished their final NCAA Division II season with their highest winning percentage under his guidance.

Returning to his Alma Mater
Liberty Head Coach Jim Toman had a successful return to his alma mater for the first time since taking over the Flames program two years ago with a 17-5 win at N.C. State, Wednesday.
Toman earned four letters at N.C. State, as a catcher, from 1981-84. He was captain of the Wolfpack during his junior and senior seasons. In 1984, he set ACC Tournament records for home runs (4), doubles (4) and total bases (25), while being named to the all-tournament
team.
After graduating from N.C. State in 1985, he returned to his alma mater in 1990 under
head coach Ray Tanner. Toman was a member of the Wolfpack staff for seven years. He served as an assistant coach with the Wolfpack for four years, before becoming an associate coach in 1994. N.C. State participated in a NCAA Regional six times during his time on the Wolfpack staff.

Following the Flames
This season, the Flames Sports Network plans to broadcast several 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 schedule of games will be posted on thelightonline.com, when the radio station announces its broadcast schedule. Friday's game will be broadcast by the station.
In addition, selected games will be video streamed live on the internet via the Big South Edge, available on BigSouthSports.com. The stream can be accessed for a nominal fee through a link on LibertyFlames.com or by going directly to BigSouthSports.com.  Saturday and Sunday's games are scheduled to be web cast.
    Live stats are available for each Liberty contest by clicking on the various Live Stats links at LibertyFlames.com.

Flames at Worthington Stadium
    For the past 31 years, the Flames have called Worthington Stadium home. Liberty has compiled an impressive 495-225-5 record at the facility for a winning percentage of .686 since the stadium's inception in 1979.    
    The Flames have opened the year, 9-1 at the facility. Liberty is scheduled to play 25 games at home this season.
    Last year, the Flames played 24 home games at the stadium, posting an 11-12-1 record at Worthington. The slate of home games included the first night contests in the history of the stadium. March 28, 2008 was the first night contest ever at the stadium, and nine contests were played under the lights.

The Last Time Out
The Liberty Flames banged out a season-high 23 hits, leading from start to finish, en route to a 17-5 victory over the N.C. State Wolfpack, Wednesday afternoon, at Doak Field.
The Flames collected 23 hits in the contest, the most by Jim Toman's team this season. The hit total eclipses the 18 hits Toman's squad had on three other occasions earlier this year.
Center fielder Curran Redal and first baseman Trey Wimmer paced the Flames at the plate with four hits each. Tyler Bream, Errol Hollinger and Jeff Jefferson added three hits apiece for Liberty. Wimmer had four RBIs in the contest, while Jefferson hit his fourth home run.
Mark Swanson, the second Liberty pitcher in the contest, picked up the win to run his record to 3-0 on the year. The right-hander pitched 2 1/3 scoreless innings, giving up one hit and striking out three.

Hollinger On Johnny Bench Watch List
Liberty senior catcher Errol Hollinger has been listed on the 2009 Coleman Company-Johnny Bench Watch List. The award is given annually to the top Division I collegiate catcher. The initial list includes 44 catchers nominated for the award by their coaches.
Hollinger, a native of Upland, Calif., is a four-year starter at the position for the Flames. He entered the season named on the 2009 Brooks Wallace Watch list. The award is given to the top collegiate player each season.
He enters tonight's contest third in the Big South in home runs with six. So far on the year, Hollinger is hitting .380 with 16 RBIs and 20runs scored over 21 games. He has also added four doubles.
Last season, the Liberty catcher finished among the Big South leaders in runs scored (6th – 60), hits (7th – 82), RBIs (tied 8th – 47), doubles (tied 5th – 19) and total bases (tied 7th – 127). On the defensive side, he led the conference in runners caught stealing with 26 and fewest passed balls with four.
The senior hit .319 with eight home runs and a .494 slugging percentage in 62 games in 2008. He led the Flames by hitting in 21-straight games, the longest hitting streak by a Liberty player last season. Hollinger also led Liberty in both multiple-hit games (26) and multiple-RBI games (15). The catcher was selected to the Big South all-conference second team at the end of the season.

March Win Streaks Key Strong Start to Season
Two winning streaks have propelled Liberty to a 13-2 March record. The Flames began the month of March with a seven-game winning streak, March 6-13. After two setbacks, Liberty opened its current six-game winning skein, March 18-25.
Through the first 20 games of the season, the Flames recorded a 15-5 overall mark to post the fifth-best start to a season in the 36-year history of Liberty baseball.
Jim Toman's team's record ties them with the 1985 and 1976 squads, which began their seasons with 15-5 ledgers. Three Liberty teams have posted 16-4 records through their first 20 contests of the year. The 2006, 1995 and 1980 Flames started their seasons with the mark.
The 1979 Liberty squad posted the best start by a Flames team, opening its season with a 17-3 record. Under the direction of program founder, Al Worthington, Liberty finished the season with a 22-11-1 mark. The team featured future major leaguers Sid Bream and Lee Guetterman.

Many New Faces
The Liberty Flames have 18 new members on their roster in 2009. Over fifty percent of Liberty's roster consists of first-year players. Of the first-year players, six are transfers, 10 are freshmen and two are sophomores.
Junior outfielder Curran Redal, freshman shortstop Matt Williams and freshman third baseman Tyler Bream are all first-year players who have started all 21 games this season for Liberty.
Last weekend, the Flames started four freshmen on the infield during each game of their three-game sweep of High Point. Trey Wimmer manned first base, Kizuku Scott started at second base, Bream played third base and Williams started at shortstop in every game of the series.

Mashing in March
After going 3-3 to begin the season, the Flames have gone 13-2 in the month of March, keyed by their hitting.
Over its last 15 games, Liberty has hit .377 as a team, and scored 11.6 runs per game. This month's hitting outburst has raised the Flames' batting average for the season 105 points to .340.
During the stretch, Liberty has enjoyed a power burst too. The Flames have hit 23 home runs and boast a .597 slugging percentage over the 15 games. Liberty has belted 31 round trippers through 21 games this season, 22 more than at this point last season.

A Look Ahead
Liberty will travel to Norfolk, Va., Tuesday for its first meeting of the year with in-state rival, the Old Dominion Monarchs. First pitch at Bud Metheny Stadium is scheduled for 3 p.m. The Flames will return to Worthington Stadium the following afternoon for the last of three meetings this season with the James Madison Dukes. Game time Wednesday is set for 3 p.m.
On the weekend, Liberty will travel across the Blue Ridges for a three-game Big South Conference series in Lexington, Va., with the VMI Keydets. The series gets underway Friday at 6 p.m. at Gray-Minor Stadium.