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Liberty Faces Virginia Tech in Midweek Game

March 23, 2010  Lynchburg, Va.  RSS
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Liberty senior pitcher Dustin Umberger

Liberty senior pitcher Dustin Umberger

Complete Baseball Notes (PDF)

The Game
The Liberty Flames (13-5, 0-0 Big South) travel to Blacksburg, Va. for their only meeting this season with the Virginia Tech Hokies (13-8, 2-4 ACC), Wednesday. First pitch at English Field is scheduled for 5:30 p.m.

Last Time Out
The Liberty Flames took over the lead with a four-run fifth inning, and never looked back, defeating the Manhattan Jaspers, 8-6, Sunday afternoon at Worthington Stadium.
Five Flames had two hits in the contest. Second baseman P.J. Jimenez was one of the Flames with two hits, including his second home run of the year.
Starter Keegan Linza went 8 1/3 innings to remain unbeaten at 4-0 on the year. The junior right-hander was relieved by J.J. McLeod, who induced a double-play grounder to close out the win and record his second save of the year.

On Deck
Liberty will open Big South Conference play with a weekend series at UNC Asheville, Friday-Sunday. The series will open on Friday at 3 p.m. at Greenwood Field. Saturday, the middle contest of the three game set is scheduled for 2 p.m. Sunday's series finale first pitch is scheduled for 1 p.m.

Flames on the Air
Wednesday's contest from Blacksburg, Va. may be heard LIVE on WWMC 90.9 FM "The Light." Nick Pierce will handle play-by-play duties and former Flames pitcher Doug Wallace will provide commentary. The broadcast will also be available on the World Wide web at both LibertyFlames.com and thelightonline.com.

The Coaches
Liberty Head Coach Jim Toman is in his third year at the helm of the Flames. In his first two seasons, he guided the Flames to 68 wins, the most during the first two years under any head coach in program history, and best winning percentage (.591) over the same span.
Last season, Liberty posted the most victories in Big South Conference play with a 17-9 mark, since joining the conference in 1992. The Flames recorded an overall record of 33-21 in Toman's second year.
A 21-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.
Head Coach Pete Hughes is in his fourth season at Virginia Tech. In four seasons, Hughes has amassed a 91-92 record, including a 32-21 mark last season. The Hokies' 2009 record accounted for Tech's best winning percentage (.604) since 1999, when the Hokies went 42-17 (.712). The 32 wins were Tech's highest total since winning 34 in 2003, and the 12 conference wins were the most since winning 15 that same year as a member of the BIG EAST.
Prior to his arrival at Virginia Tech, Hughes spent eight seasons as the head coach at Boston College. During their eight seasons under Hughes, the Eagles averaged 31 wins per year. In 2005, he led Boston College to a school record 37 wins and his squad was named the Division I New England Baseball Team of the Year. He also was the head coach at Trinity University in Texas for two seasons (1997-98).

Scouting the Hokies
After jumping out to a 13-4 record, Virginia Tech enters Wednesday's game with the Flames on a four-game losing skid. This past weekend, the Hokies dropped all three of their contests at No. 7 Clemson.
The Virginia Tech offense has found its stride so far this season. The Hokies are hitting .338 as team and averaging 8.3 runs per game.
Outfielder Austin Wates leads the Hokies with a .444 batting average and has knocked in 17 runs. A base-stealing threat, Wates has a team-high seven stolen bases. Teammate Tim Smalling enters Wednesday's game with a .436 average. The Hokie shortstop was held out of games this past weekend due to injury.
Two-way player Ronnie Shaban has hit .360 with 17 RBIs as Virginia Tech's third baseman. The Hokie has also seen mound time, making five appearances with a 3.38 ERA. Second baseman Michael Seaborn leads Virginia Tech with 20 RBIs.
Meanwhile, the Hokie pitching staff has has a 4.70 ERA entering Wednesday. Ben Rowen has been a workhorse for Virginia Tech out of the bullpen so far this season. The right-hander has appeared in 14 games, posting a 1-0 record and two saves, with a 0.55 ERA. He is averaging 1.79 strikeouts per inning this season.
Manny Martir, Wednesday's probable starter, has made one start for the Hokies this season. In two total appearances, he is 0-1 with a 10.80 ERA in 6 2/3 innings.

March Mayhem
Liberty has posted a 7-5 record during the month of March this season. The Flames are 344-272-2 (.558) all-time in program history during the month.
Last season, Liberty posted a 16-3 (.842) overall mark and started 7-1 in Big South play during the month.
Liberty is scheduled to play 18 games during March. Three of those games will begin Big South Conference play. The Flames will travel to UNC Asheville for a conference series, this weekend at Greenwood Field.

Flames on the Road
After starting the year, 4-0 in road games, the Flames have dropped their last two road games for a 4-2 road mark. Liberty is also 2-0 in contests on neutral fields.
The Flames finished 2009 with a 11-13 final road ledger. The Flames also compiled a 3-3 record on neutral fields.

Closing in on Milestone 1,000
With 993 victories in program history, the Flames enter the week seven games shy of the program's milestone 1,000th win. Liberty posted a 11-14 record in its ingural season under Al Worthington in 1974.
Other notable Liberty wins:

• 100th win - Liberty 9 Hampton-Sydney 2, April 17, 1979
• 200th win - Liberty 5, Azusa Pacific 4, NAIA National Tournament, June 4, 1981
• 300th win - Liberty 21, Radford, 0, March 19
• 500th win - Liberty 9, Campbell 4, April 23, 1994
• 750th win - Liberty 8, Kutztown 4, March 7, 2003
• 900th win - Liberty 13, Radford, 1, April 21, 2007

Other things to note:
• The Flames have recorded one 40-win season (1983).
• The Flames have won 30 or more games in a season on 14 occasions. In addition,
Liberty has posted 30 or more victories in a season each of the last five seasons.
• The Flames have had six head coaches during their 37 years - Al Worthington, Bobby Richardson, Johnny Hunton, Dave Pastors, Matt Royer and Jim Toman.
Worthington, the program's first coach is also its winningest and longest tenured, recording 343 victories over 13 seasons.

Teufel Named to Watch List
Liberty senior Shawn Teufel has been listed on the 2010 National Pitcher of the Year Watch List. The Flames left-hander is one of 49 pitchers on the initial list released by the College Baseball Foundation, Tuesday.
Teufel has opened the 2010 season with a 4-0 record and a 0.62 ERA in five starts. The left-hander leads the Big South Conference in both wins and ERA. He is also among the national leaders, ranking fourth in ERA.
Teufel has allowed only two runs over 29 innings this season, striking out 28 batters and walking 18. He is also holding opponents to a .170 batting average, which ranks second among Big South pitchers.
After yielding one run in the opening inning of Liberty season opener at Kennesaw State, Teufel ran off a string of 24 scoreless innings, before giving up a run during the Flames' 8-4 win over Manhattan, Friday.

Starting Sensations
One of the keys to the Flames' early-season success has been the performance of their three weekend starters, Shawn Teufel, Keegan Linza and Steven Evans.
The trio has combined to post an 11-0 record during their weekend starts, with a 1.96 ERA. With wins this past weekend, Teufel and Linza moved to 4-0 to lead the Big South Conference in wins, while Evans has posted a 3-0 record. During their weekend starts, teams have hit .183 against the trio and struck out 80 times.

Teufel's Scoreless Streak Ends
Senior left-hander Shawn Teufel gave up only his second run of the season Friday in five starts this season. A Manhattan home run in the fourth halted the left-hander's scoreless innings streak at 24. Tuefel had allowed only one prior run, in the first inning of his season-opening start at Kennesaw State on Feb. 19, and has not allow one since. The streak tops a previous career-high of 10 scoreless innings by the pitcher last season, from April 4-18. The scoreless span left the left-hander five innings shy of the school record of 29, set by Tim Harrell in 2000.
Allowing just two runs this season, Teufel leds the Big South Conference with a 0.62 ERA and ranks fifth in the country in the latest NCAA Statistical Report for games through March 21.

Redal At It Again
Liberty outfielder Curran Redal completed the 2009 season as one of the toughest hitters in the nation to strike out. The junior finished the year, striking out once every 21.3 at bats, ranking him ninth among NCAA Division I batters in the country. Redal struck out only 10 times in 213 at bats over 54 games last season.
This year, the senior is back among the nation's toughest hitters to strikeout, ranking second in the country by striking out just once in 69 at bats.