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No. 3 Flames Head to Big South Championship

May 19, 2009  Lynchburg, Va.  RSS
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Senior catcher and team captain Errol Hollinger leads Liberty into the 2009 Big South Championship.

Senior catcher and team captain Errol Hollinger leads Liberty into the 2009 Big South Championship.

Complete Baseball Notes (PDF)

The Championship

The No. 3 seed Liberty Flames (31-19, 179 Big South) travel to Asheville, N.C., Wednesday to open play in the 2009 Big South Baseball Championship at McCormick Field. The Flames will square off Wednesday night against the No. 4 seed Radford Highlanders (25-22, 16-9 Big South). First pitch is scheduled for 7 p.m.
The remainder of the double-elimination tournament will continue on Thursday, May 21 through Saturday, May 23. The conference champion is scheduled to be crowned Saturday, in Game 10 or Game 11 (if necessary). The Big South Baseball Champion claims the conference's automatic bid to the NCAA Baseball Regionals.

What to Watch
The Liberty Flames enter the the Big South Baseball Championship with the most victories in conference play in Liberty history.
Liberty begins the tournament with a .312 team batting average. Meanwhile, the Flames' mound staff posted a 5.20 ERA during the regular season.
Curran Redal has led Liberty at the plate throughout the season with a .391 batting average. The center fielder ranks fifth in the Big South in the category. His 77 hits tie him for fourth in the conference. Redal is one game ahead of outfielder Doug Bream for the Flames' lead in multi-hit games with 22 multi-hit contests. Bream enters the weekend, second on the team with a.361 batting average.
Last week, Liberty recieved a strong return to the line-up by outfielder Jeff Jefferson. The sophomore hit .600 in three games and pounded out three hits, including two home runs in his return to the starting line-up in a 9-8 win over Radford, Thursday.
Flames pitchers also find themselves among the Big South leaders. Andrew Wilson, Steven Evans and Shawn Teufel are all among the conference's ERA leaders. Wilson is fifth in the Big South with a 3.86 ERA, followed by Evans, who is sixth, with a 3.88 ERA. Teufel is 10th with a 4.39 ERA. Teufel is also tied for second in the conference in wins, with an 8-2 record. The left-hander won six consecutive starts from March 19-May 2.
Teufel and Wilson also are among the conference leaders in strikeouts, as Tuefel is third with 67 strikeouts, while Wilson is fourth with 65. Wilson is averaging 10.03 strikeouts per nine innings.

Following the Flames
Wednesday's game can be heard on 90.9 FM WWMC "The Light" starting at 7 p.m. with Nick Pierce on the call. The station will carry all Liberty tournament games as long as the team remains in the championship.
In addition, the live broadcast can be heard via webcast at www.thelightonline.com and www.LibertyFlames.com.
All the games of the 2009 Big South Championship will be video streamed live on the conference's web site, The Big South EDGE presented by State Farm. The Big South EDGE presented by State Farm. Tournament games will be available daily via the $6.95 Day Pass -- which covers all games played that respective day -- or the $19.95 Full Championship Pass, which features the tournament in its entirety. A link to the Big South Edge is located on LibertyFlames.com.
In addition, real-time "Live Stats" will be available on both the league's and Liberty's website free of charge.
Flames By the Month
Liberty has gone 2-5 in the month of May. Last season, Liberty went 13-3-1 in the month, including a 4-2 mark in the Big South Championship. The Flames forced a second game against Coastal Carolina for the 2008 Big South title.
Liberty is 153-117-3 (.563) all-time, including Big South Championship appearances and three NCAA Regional appearances, during May. Liberty has gone 112-88-3 in regular season games during the month. In the Big South Championship, the Flames are 37-20, with championships in 2001, 1998 and 1993. The Flames went 0-2 in 1992 in the Big South playoff. In three NCAA appearances, Liberty is 1-6 all-time.
The Flames finished the month of April with a 10-8 record. Liberty posted a 9-3 mark in Big South Conference play. 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.

30 Wins - Five Consecutive Years
With its 4-1 win over Duke, May 12, Liberty reached 30 wins for the fifth consecutive season, including the first two years under head coach Jim Toman. It is the first time in the 36-year history of the program, the Flames have won 30 or more games five-straight years.
Last season, the Flames posted a 35-26-1 mark to record four-straight seasons of 30 wins or more. It was the first time, Liberty has accomplished the four-year feat.
Before last season, the Liberty baseball program had won 30 or more games in season, three consecutive years. The Flames won 30 or more contests three consecutive seasons from 2000-03.

A Shout Out to the Seniors

Five members of the Liberty roster are playing in their final games in a Liberty uniform as the season winds down in 2009.
They are the following:

1B/RHP - Cody Brown
C- Errol Hollinger
RHP - Errol Hollinger
OF - Tim Rotola
RHP - Andrew Wilson

The group was recognized, before their final home game at Worthington Stadium last Friday.

Flames Post Most Victories in Big South Play
With their 10-9, 11-inning win at Gardner-Webb, April 26, the 2009 Liberty Flames recorded 16 Big South victories, the most ever by a Liberty baseball team since joining the conference in 1992. The Flames added another Big South win on Thursday to finish with 17 conference victories.
The victory total surpasses the 15 Big South wins by the 1995 Flames, who finished their conference season at 15-9.

Taking One for the Team

Liberty batters have been hit by a pitch 91 times, setting a new school record. The mark eclipses the record of 82, the Flames set last season. Liberty batters have been plunked by the opposition an average of 1.82 times per game. The Flames ranked 10th in the nation in the category in the latest NCAA Division I statistical report, through games of May 10.
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 24th in the nation in fielding percentage with a .973 percentage in the latest NCAA Division I statistical report, for games through May 10. In addition, the Flames' current percentage of .974 tops the Big South Conference. Liberty has committed 50 errors in 1,912 chances this season.
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 week, Liberty outfielders Curran Redal and Doug Bream have shown themselves to be two of the toughest hitters in the nation to strike out.
Through games played on May 10, Redal had struck out once every 20 at bats, ranking him ninth among NCAA Division I batters in the country. Meanwhile, fellow Flame Doug Bream ranked 30th on the same list, striking out once every 15.5 at bats.

Redal Breaks Big South Consecutive Game Hit Mark
Center fielder Curran Redal singled through the left side of the infield in the first inning, April 17 against Winthrop, to hit safely in his 32nd game in a row, a new Big South record. The junior breaks the previous mark of 31-consecutive games with at least one hit, which he held with UNC Asheville shortstop Kevin Weidenbacher. The UNC Asheville shortstop set the previous record last season.
During the streak, the junior hit .452, collecting 57 hits in 126 at bats. He has also drove in all 40 of his season's RBI total over the span.

Teufel Strikes Out Season-High

Liberty left-hander Shawn Teufel struck out nine UNC Asheville batters in a 9-0 win over the Bulldogs in the opening game of their three-game Big South series, April 10. Teufel's nine strikeouts were the most in a game this season by a Liberty pitcher and set a career-high for the left-hander.
Teufel pitched seven scoreless innings, giving up two hits. He combined with Carter Browning and Chris McDougal to pitch the first shutout for the Flames this season.
Third baseman Tyler Bream and center fielder Curran Redal each hit a home run in the contest. Both players had two hits apiece in the game. Bream had three RBIs for Liberty.