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Flames Host George Mason, Travel to VCU

March 29, 2010  Lynchburg, Va.  RSS
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Liberty third baseman Tyler Bream

Liberty third baseman Tyler Bream

Complete Baseball Game Notes (PDF)

The Games
The Liberty Flames (14-8, 1-2 Big South) will play two midweek contests this week. The Flames will host George Mason (12-7, 1-2 CAA) on Tuesday at Worthington Stadium. Game time is scheduled for 3 p.m. Wednesday, Liberty will travel across the Commonwealth for a contest with the VCU Rams (13-10, 3-1 CAA. Game time is scheduled for 6 p.m. at the Diamond.

Last Time Out
Liberty achieved a doubleheader split, taking the second game of a twinbill at UNC Asheville, 7-3, Saturday.
Right-hander Keegan Linza went the distance for the Flames, running his record to 5-0 on the season. The junior scattered three runs on 12 hits over nine innings for the victory.
Left fielder Doug Bream went 3-for-4, with two RBIs and two runs scored. Second baseman P.J. Jimenez joined him by going 3-for-4 for the Flames. He also scored a run.

On Deck
Liberty will host the High Point Panthers in a three-game Big South Conference series this weekend at Worthington Stadium. The series will get underway Friday with the first night game of the season at 7 p.m. Saturday, the two will wrapup the series with a doubleheader. Game one is scheduled to start at 1 p.m.

Flames on the Air
Tuesday's George Mason - Liberty baseball game will be video streamed LIVE. The feed will be available for a nominal fee on the Big South Network. 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 BigSouthSports.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.
George Mason Head Coach Bill Brown is in his 29th season as the head coach at his alma mater. In that span, Brown has gone from being the then-youngest Division I head coach in the nation to the dean of coaches in the Colonial Athletic Association (CAA).
Brown, a 1980 George Mason graduate, has been honored as CAA Coach of the Year a record six times and has guided his alma mater to some of its greatest accomplishments. Since 1985, the Patriots have won two CAA titles and finished second three other times, and they have made six appearances in the NCAA Tournament.
George Mason also has posted at least 30 victories in a season 13 times in the last 23 years under his guidance, including a school-record 42 wins and an at-large berth in the NCAA Tournament in 2009. Mason was nationally-ranked for the first time in school history rising into the top 30 in both the National College Baseball Writers Association and Collegiate Baseball polls, last season.
George Mason's all-time leader in coaching victories with a 29-year mark of 807-705-5, he led the Patriots to a 42-14 record last season.
VCU Head Coach Paul Keyes is in his 15th year with the Rams. He enters Tuesday's game with a 526-355 record during his tenure at VCU. Keyes has led the Rams to the NCAA tournament seven times in the past 11 seasons and has been named CAA Coach of the Year three times.
Last season, the Rams posted a 20-26 record under Keyes, and a 8-16 record in the CAA, fininshing in 10th in the leauge standings. It was the first time in 12 seasons, VCU did not have a winning year. The Rams have won 40 or more games in four of the last 12 seasons.

Scouting the Patriots
After dropping two of three games against James Madison at home this past weekend, George Mason enters Tuesday's game with a 12-7 overall mark.
Traditionally a strong hitting team, the 2010 version of the Patroits has proven no different. George Mason begins the week with a .329 team batting average. The Patriots are averaging 9.1 runs per game this season.
Third baseman Mark Hill leads not only George Mason, but the Colonial Athletic Association in hitting with a .493 batting average. Teammate Ryan Soares is also above .400 with a .430 average. The shortstop leads the Patriots with 32 RBIs and 25 runs scored.
The George Mason pitching staff has posted a 5.44 ERA, so far this season. Tuesday's starter, freshman left-hander Nick Kendrick, is 0-1 with a 9.00 ERA in two starts this season.
In the bullpen, A.J. Johnson and Darren McLean have made the most appearances for the Patriots. McLean has made a team-leading nine appearances, with a 2-0 record and a 5.79 ERA. Johnson has entered eight games this season and has not allowed a run over nine innings. He has recorded four saves.

Scouting the Rams
VCU visits Maryland on Tuesday, before hosting the Flames on Wednesday. The Rams begin the week at 13-10 overall. This past weekend, they swept a three-game series from Northeastern.
The Rams begin the week with a .302 team batting average and averaging 6.8 runs per game. VCU has used its team speed to its advantage, stealing 38 bases in 50 attempts (76%).
Catcher Taylor Perkins leads the Rams in both batting average, with a .381 average, and 21 RBIs. First baseman Brent Mikionis is second in hitting with a .377 average.
The VCU mound staff has posted a 5.19 ERA and is allowing 6.4 runs per game. Opponents have hit a respectable .269 against the Rams staff, but VCU has yielded 90 walks.
Robbie Andrews has made a team-high eight appearances for the Rams. He has recorded three saves and a 2.61 ERA. Jonathan Watson, 1.72 ERA, Joe Van Meter, 3.07 ERA with one save, and Kyle Pelchy, 3.75 ERA, each have appeared in seven games.

March Mayhem
Liberty has gone 8-8 in games during the month of March this season. The Flames are 345-275-2 (.556) 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. The Flames are scheduled to play 18 games during March.

Home Sweet Home
For the past 32 years, the Flames have called Worthington Stadium home. Named for program architect and the first Liberty head baseball coach, Al Worthington, Liberty has compiled an impressive 512-232-5 record at the stadium for a winning percentage of .686 since the facility's inception in 1979.
The Flames have posted a 7-3 record at Worthington this season. Liberty is slated to play 28 contests at home in 2010.
The Flames finished the 2009 regular season with a 19-5 record at the facility and are 33-18-1 at home under three-year head coach Jim Toman's guidance.

Flames on the Road
The Flames have gone 5-5 on the road this season. 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 994 victories in program history, the Flames enter the week six games shy of the program's milestone 1,000th win. Liberty posted a 11-14 record in its inaugural season under Al Worthington in 1974.

Other notable Liberty wins:
• 100th win - Liberty 9 Hampden-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, 1985
• 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.

Umberger Among Flames' All-Time K Kings
Liberty senior right-hander Dustin Umberger entered 2010, his final season in a Flames uniform, already listed among the program's all-time leaders in strikeouts.
Umberger has struck out 202 batters during his Liberty career to rank sixth on the school's career strikeout list. The right-hander is 10 strikeouts away from moving ahead of Randy Tomlin for fifth place on the list. Tomlin recorded 211 strikeouts for the Flames from 1986-88. Mike Brown, who pitched at Liberty from 1994-97, holds the career strikeout mark with 287.
The senior, 0-1 on the year with a 5.40 ERA, will get a chance to add to his total Tuesday when he makes his third start of the season against George Mason. Umberger returned to the Liberty roster after receiving a medical redshirt in 2009.