Flames first baseman Trey Wimmer readies for pick-off throw during a game against Duke earlier this season. Liberty faces Coastal Carolina in a three-game Big South series this weekend.
Complete Baseball Notes (PDF)
The Games The Liberty Flames (29-14, 16-4 Big South) travel to Conway, S.C., for a three-game Big South Conference series against the No. 22 Coastal Carolina Chanticleers (33-13, 12-5 Big South), Friday-Sunday at Charles Watson Stadium. Friday's game will be televised live on ESPNU starting at 6 p.m. What to Watch The Liberty Flames enter the Big South Conference series, atop the league standings with 16 conference victories, the most wins ever in Big South play by a Liberty team. The Flames begin the weekend with a .320 team batting average and averaging 7.47 runs per game. In conference, Liberty has hit .333 as a team and its pitchers have an earned run average of 4.64. Curran Redal collected his 19th multiple hit game of the year, Tuesday at Virginia to improve his season's batting average to .405. The center fielder continues to be in the top five in the conference in the category. Seven other Flames start the three-game series with above-.300 batting averages. Doug Bream, Tyler Bream, Trey Wimmer, Errol Hollinger, Jeff Jefferson, Tim Rotola and Joseph Feeley also have posted averages over .300. On the mound, starter Shawn Teufel has won six consecutive starts and enters the weekend at 7-1 with a 4.25 ERA. Starter Steven Evans has a 6-2 mark with 3.90 ERA. Reliever Andrew Wilson has carried the workload in the late innings for the Flames lately. He is among the conference leaders with a 3.14 ERA and a 5-2 record with four saves. The Coastal Carolina Chanticleers begin the weekend in third place in the Big South standings with 12 victories. The Chanticleers are ranked as high as No. 22 nationally in several national polls. Coastal Carolina is hitting .332 as team and is averaging 8.5 runs per game so far this season. The Chanticleers lead the Big South with a .338 conference average, while posting a 4.11 ERA in conference play. First baseman David Anderson, who is among the Big South leaders in several offensive categories, paces Coastal Carolina with a .379 batting average. Eight Chanticleers are hitting .300 or better. On the mound, right-hander Cody Wheeler leads the conference in wins with an 8-0 record with a 3.06 ERA. Starter Anthony Meo has a 5-2 mark with a 3.26 ERA. Out of the bullpen, Nick McCully has made 22 appearances, posting a 3-1 mark with a 1.89 ERA and eight saves. Remembering A Teacher, Mentor and Fan The Liberty University community, athletics department and baseball program would like to remember Jeff Taylor, an Assistant Professor of Health Sciences and Kinesiology, who died accidentially Tuesday. Prior to his educational position, Taylor was an athletic trainer at both Liberty and UNC Asheville. Taylor will be remembered for his influence on students to pursue their careers and the friendship he provided many in the Lynchburg community. An avid baseball fan, Taylor followed the Flames on a regular basis and loved to talk baseball with whoever he could. Please remember the Taylor's wife and family in your prayers. A moment of silence will be observed in Taylor's memory before Friday's contest. 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. This season, his Flames have posted the most victories by a Liberty team in conference play, elipsing the previous mark of 15. 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. Coastal Carolina Head Coach Gary Gilmore is in his 14th year of guiding the Chanticleer baseball program. In his time at Coastal Carolina, he has led the Chanticleers to eight NCAA berths, eight 40-plus win seasons in the last 10 years, 11-straight winning seasons, and the school's first trip to the NCAA Super Regional last season. Last season, the 1980 Coastal Carolina alumnus led his team to a 50-14 record, hosting and winning the NCAA Conway Regional. The Chanticleers advanced to the NCAA Cary Super Regional, a first in the school's history. Gilmore was named the Big South Coach of the Year for the fifth time, as the Chants won both the regular-season and tournament championships. In his 19 seasons as a college head coach, Gilmore's teams have averaged more than 39 wins a year, including 12 40-plus win seasons. In his 13 years at Coastal Carolina, Gilmore's ball clubs have finished in the top four of the Big South Conference standings 12 times, including regular season titles in 1999, 2002, 2005, 2007 and 2008. Following the Flames Friday night's series opener will be televised by ESPNU starting at 6 p.m. It will be the first ever appearance on ESPNU for the Flames. Justin Kutchner will provide the play-by-play for the telecast, with Leland Maddox providing the color commentary. In addition, Saturday and Sunday's 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 BigSouth Sports.com. 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 next planned broadcast is Tuesday from English Field in Blacksburg, Va., when the Flames square off with the Virginia Tech Hokies. Game time is scheduled for 7 p.m. Live stats are available for each Liberty contest by clicking on the various Live Stats links at LibertyFlames.com. Flames By the Month Liberty is 10-8 during the month of April. However, the Flames have posted a 9-3 record in Big South Conference play in the month. Jim Toman's squad is scheduled to play 19 games in the month this season. Since 1976, the Flames have recorded an all-time mark of 331-281-1 (.541) in April. The Flames posted a 16-3 (.842) overall mark and started 7-1 in Big South play during the month of March. Last season, the Flames posted a 7-12 overall mark and a 1-2 record in conference action during the month. Liberty is 337-267-2 (.557) all-time in program history during March. Liberty finished its February schedule with a 3-3 mark. The Flames were scheduled to play nine games in the month, but had three canceled due to inclement weather. Liberty has an all-time mark of 64-32 in February. Flames Post Most Victories in Big South Play With their 10-9, 11-inning win at Gardner-Webb, this past Sunday, the 2009 Liberty Flames have recorded 16 Big South victories, the most ever by a Liberty baseball team since joining the conference in 1992. The victory total surpasses the 15 Big South wins by the 1995 Flames, who finished their conference season at 15-9. Jim Toman's squad still has six Big South Conference games remaining. On the Verge of 30 Wins With one more victory, Liberty will have reached 30 wins for the fifth consecutive season, and the first two years under head coach Jim Toman. Last season, the Flames posted a 35-26-1 mark to record four-straight seasons of 30 wins are more. It was the first time in the 36-year history of the program, Liberty has accomplished the four-year feat. Before last season, the Liberty baseball program had won 30 games in season, three consecutive years. The Flames won 30 or more contests three consecutive seasons from 2000-03. The Last Time Out After Liberty had tied the contest in top of the inning, the No. 11 Virginia Cavaliers scored three runs in the bottom of the sixth, en route to a 5-2 win over the Flames, Tuesday night at Davenport Field. In the top of the sixth inning, Liberty knotted the contest at 2-2. Shortstop Matt Williams singled past the pitcher's mound and into center field to begin the frame. Center fielder Curran Redal followed by moving Williams to second with a sacrifice bunt. Williams promptly swiped third base and scored when the next batter, catcher Errol Hollinger a double inside the bag at third. In the bottom of the stanza, the Cavaliers countered with three runs to go back on top in the contest, 5-2. Center fielder Jarrett Parker hit his 13th home run of the season, leading off the inning. Later, catcher John Hicks grounded a two-out single up the middle, scoring two more runs for the final score. Taking One for the Team Entering play this weekend, Liberty batters have been hit by a pitch 82 times, tying the school record the Flames set last season. Liberty batters have been plunked by the opposition an average of two times per game. The Flames ranked fourth in the nation in the category in the latest NCAA Division I statistical report, through games of April 26, with 81. This year, Flames batters have been hit by a pitch seven times in a game twice to set a new school standard. Temple pitchers hit seven Liberty hitters on March 7 and High Point hurlers plunked seven Flames on March 22. Last season, the Flames set a new school record by being hit by a pitch 82 times. The mark eclipsed the previous standard of 75 in the 2001 season. Fine Fielding Jim Toman's squad ranked seventh in the nation in fielding percentage with a .978 percentage in the latest NCAA Division I statistical report, for games through April 26. In addition, the Flames' currernt percentage of .977 tops the Big South Conference. Liberty has committed 37 errors in 1643 chances this season. The Flames fielding percentage is 26 points higher than at the same juncture of the year, last season. Through 42 games, Liberty had made 67 errors, 30 more than this year, in 1712 chances for a .951 fielding percentage in 2008. The Flames ended the year with a .963 percentage. The best team fielding percentage over a season in school history was set by the 2005 Flames. That season, Liberty posted a .971 fielding percentage and also committed the fewest errors in school history with 62. Two Flames Tough to K Entering the weekend, Liberty outfielders Curren Redal and Doug Bream have shown themselves to be two of the toughest hitters in the nation to strike out. Through games played on April 26, Redal has struck out once every 20.6 at bats, ranking him 12th among NCAA Division I batters in the country. Meanwhile, fellow Flame Doug Bream ranks 13th on the same list, striking out once every 20.4 at bats. Flames Win 16th Big South Contest Liberty catcher Errol Hollinger hit a game-tying grand slam and first baseman Trey Wimmer blasted the game-winning home run, as the Flames rallied from a 9-3 deficit for a 10-9, 11-inning win over the Gardner-Webb Bulldogs in Big South Conference baseball action, last Sunday at Masters Field. With the win, the Flames moved to 16-4 in conference play. Liberty's 16 league victories are the most ever by a Liberty baseball team since joining the Big South in 1992. The victory total surpasses the 15 Big South wins by the 1995 Flames. With the win, Liberty takes the three-game series, two games to one. After Liberty erased a 9-3 Gardner-Webb lead to knot the contest at 9-9, Wimmer led off the 11th inning by blasting the first pitch of the inning over the left field wall. The home run, the first baseman's sixth of the season, gave Liberty a 10-9 advantage. Reliever Andrew Wilson then closed out the Bulldogs in bottom of the inning, stranding the tying run on second base to run his record to 5-2. The right-hander threw four innings of scoreless relief, allowing two hits, while striking out five and walking one. The Flames knotted the contest in the eighth inning. The first three hitters in the inning, second baseman P.J. Jimenez, shortstop Matt Williams and center fielder Curran Redal, each singled to begin the frame, loading the bases with no one out. Two batters later, Hollinger drilled a 1-0 pitch over the left field wall, tying the contest at 9-9. The grand slam was the catcher's eighth round tripper of the year. The Flames' Redal had four hits to lead all players in the contest. Doug Bream added three hits. Hollinger had five RBIs for Liberty. A day earlier, Tyler Bream drove in six runs and Liberty pitchers held Gardner-Webb hitters in check throughout the contest, as the Flames downed the Bulldogs, 10-2. Bream, who was 4-for-4 in the contest, ripped a pair of two-out, two-run base hits in first and the third innings. In the first, the Liberty third baseman singled and in the third, he doubled. He drove in his final two runs in the ninth with a single. A Look Ahead The Flames will continue on the road Tuesday, by making their annual visit to Blacksburg, Va., for a night contest with the Virginia Tech Hokies. Game time at English Field is scheduled for 7 p.m. Liberty will then have a week off, before taking to the field in Durham, N.C., against the Duke Blue Devils, May 12. Game time is scheduled for 2 p.m.
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