Third baseman Tyler Bream's walk-off two-run home run in Liberty's final home game of the season was one of the many highlights of the 2010 campaign
With the drafting of left-hander Shawn Teufel by the Detroit Tigers on June 8, 2010 officially came to an end for the Liberty baseball program. Liberty baseball recorded a 42-19 mark, it best record under head coach Jim Toman in his three years at helm of the program. The Flames' 42 victories were the most ever in school history. In addition, Liberty posted a 19-8 record in Big South play, erasing the mark set last season for the most victories ever in conference action by the Flames. Below is a brief recap of the just completed campaign.
Flames Set New Standard for Wins in a Season With a 42-19 overall record, the 2010 Flames set a new program record for wins in a season. The 42 victories eclipsed the previous school standard of 40 set by the 1983 Liberty team.
New Big South Victory Record With 19 Big South victories, the 2010 Flames recorded the most conference wins ever by a Liberty baseball team since joining the Big South in 1992. The mark surpasses last season's 17 wins, which had eclipsed the 1995 Liberty squad's 15 conference wins. The Flames posted a 19-8 record and finished in second place in the Big South regular-season standings, garnering the No. 2 seed for the conference tournament. Liberty was the No. 2 seed for the second time, having previously secured the No. 2 seed for the Big South Baseball Championship in 2008.
Flames Post Longest Big South Win Streak Propelling Liberty to its most victories in conference play was the longest Big South winning streak in program history, with 15-straight victories. The streak, which ran from March 27 to May 14, eclipsed the 2001 Liberty team, which won 10-straight Big South games.
Liberty Road Record Among Nation's Best The Flames went 21-8 away from home this season, posting the 10th best road mark in the nation in 2010. Liberty went 18-8 in road games and 3-2 in neutral site contests during the year.
Toman Reaches 100 Coaching Wins With a 10-7 win over Gardner-Webb on May 2, Liberty head coach Jim Toman recorded his 100th career coaching win. Of the six head coaches in Liberty history, Toman became the fastest to reach 100 coaching victories. Toman reached the milestone in 160 games, eclipsing program founder and first head coach Al Worthington, who reached his 100th win in his 166th game.
Bream Sets New Season Hit Record Third baseman Tyler Bream finished the 2010 season with 96 hits, setting a new school season record. The sophomore surpassed the previous Liberty program standard of 94 in 2006 by Michael Just. Bream led the Big South Conference in hits. Bream's teammates P.J. Jimenez, Curran Redal and Matt Williams also moved into the program's Top 10 for hits in a season. Jimenez had 92 hits during the season. His season total ties him third on the all-time list with Jason Benham, who had the same total in 1998. Redal completed his year with 90 hits to tie for fifth on the season list with Phillip Laurent (2006) and Jeremiah Boles (2004). Shortstop Matt Williams had 85 hits during the 2010 season, placing him ninth on the all-time season list. As a team, head coach Jim Toman's squad had 691 hits, the most since 2002. The Flames had a school-record 702 that season.
Doubles Derby Third baseman Tyler Bream and shortstop Matt Williams are two of four players in school history to hit 21 or more doubles in a season. Both Bream and Williams finished 2010 with 22 two-base hits each. The totals tie both players for second on the all-time season doubles list with former Liberty shortstop Joey Monahan, who had 22 in 2002. Only outfielder Phillip Laurent, who holds the program season record for doubles with 27 in 2006, had more. Laurent is also Liberty's career two-base hit leader with 68. The Flames completed the season with 148 doubles, surpassing last year's total of 123. The school record is 155, which was set by the 2008 Liberty squad.
Teufel Finishes on Several Pitching Lists Liberty left-hander Shawn Teufel completed his career placing his name in the program's career record book. A first team All-Big South pitcher in 2009 and 2010, he posted a 3.22 career ERA during his time in a Flames uniform to place fourth all-time on the school's list (100 innings pitched minimum). In two seasons on the mound, the left-hander went 19-6 in 176 innings pitched. Teufel, who was taken in last week's Major League Baseball Draft by the Detroit Tigers, finished his season with 10 wins, tying for second on the program's season wins list with former Flames standout Lee Guetterman, who won 10 games in each of the 1980 and 1981 seasons. The total is one shy of right-hander Jason Jones, who won 11 contests in 2002, to top the list. Teufel's season ERA and strikeouts total also rank him on the school season list in both categories. The College Baseball Foundation's Pitcher of the Year Watch list member finished the year with a 2.44 ERA, the sixth-best all-time in Liberty history among pitchers with 45 or more innings pitched during a year. The senior's 92 strikeouts rank fifth all-time.
Umberger Completes Career On Innings Pitched, K List Liberty right-hander Dustin Umberger completed his final season second on the program's career innings pitched list with 317 2/3 innings. The right-hander finishes his Flames career trailing only Lee Guetterman, who heads the program's career innings pitched list with 334 2/3. In addition, he ends his Liberty career fourth on the school's strikeout list with 230. Umberger became the 53rd pitcher in Big South Conference history to record 200 or more strikeouts on March 17, by striking out two batters at Duke. The senior became the first Flame since David Bechtold in 2005 to strike out over 200 batters. Bechtold struck out 241 hitters from 2002-05.
Redal Finishes Among Career Batting Average Leaders Outfielder Curran Redal wrapped up his Liberty career putting his name among the school's career batting average leaders with a .365 average. The mark ranks him third on the career batting average list, behind Liberty Hall of Famer Sid Bream, who tops the list with a .437 average from 1979-81, and outfielder Renard Brown, who hit .376 from 1980-82. During his Liberty career, Redal was one of the toughest hitters in the nation to strike out. This past season, he struck out 13 times in 255 at bats this season, or once per every 19.6 at bats, finishing the year ranked as the 14th-toughest batter to strike out in the country. In 2009, Redal finished the year, striking out once every 21.3 at bats, ranking him ninth among NCAA Division I batters in the country. The outfielder struck out only 10 times in 213 at bats over 54 games in 2009.
We Got Your Back The Liberty relief corps recorded 16 saves, the second most in program history, during the 2010 season. Only the 2000 Flames team had more, posting 18 saves behind Liberty's all-time career saves leader Josh Brey (27), who had a season total of 16. Freshman Josh Richardson finished the year tied for fourth in the Big South with six saves, while junior right-hander J.J. McLeod had five saves. Senior Carter Browning recorded three saves. All three of his saves were three or more innings. Bullpen workhorse Dane Beakler, who led the Flames with 26 appearances, picked up two saves.
Taking One for the Team In each of the previous two seasons, the Flames had set a new team record for being hit by a pitch, and 2010 was no different. A Liberty player was hit by a pitch 126 times in 2010, once again setting a new program standard. The total eclipses last season's team record of 95, which was set over 54 games. The Flames tied for No. 1 in the nation with fellow Big South member High Point in the category. The total goes into the NCAA record book as second all-time, behind the 2005 Notre Dame team, which was hit by a pitch on 130 occasions. Catcher Nathan Thompson was hit by a pitch 20 times to lead the Flames. The Liberty record for number of times being hit by a pitch in a season is 22, set by David Benham in 1998. Benham is also the school's career leader in the category, as the catcher was hit by a pitch on 55 occasions from 1995-98.
Turning Two Liberty turned 62 double plays this season, finishing the year 19th nationally. The Flames total eclipsed last year's season total of 36, recorded over 54 games. The program season record is 77 double plays, set by the 1998 squad. In addition, the Liberty Flames turned five ground balls into double plays during their 9-1 win over St. John's on March 12. The five double plays turned by the Liberty infield are the most in a game by the Flames over the past 11 seasons. In 2008, the Flames turned four double plays in a game twice. The contests happened a week apart, as Liberty had four double plays in an 11-5 win over Army, March 8. A week later, the Flames recorded four double plays in a 5-0 loss at Southern Miss, March 15. Liberty also turned four double plays this season in a 6-3 victory over Lehigh on Feb. 27.
How About Jimenez Second baseman P.J. Jimenez put together quite a year for his final season in a Liberty uniform. The senior finished the year, among the Flames leaders in several offensive categories. Jimenez led the squad with a .377 batting average and was second with 92 hits. The infielder also led Liberty with 61 runs scored, tying him for sixth on the program's list for runs scored in a season. Jimenez was one of three Flames to play in every Liberty contest this season. Besides raising his batting average from .271 in 2009 to .377 to lead Liberty, the second baseman had 27 multiple-hit games, including a team-leading 11 three-hit contests. In the field, he once again was strong defensively, making only seven errors in 303 chances for a .977 fielding percentage.
Evans Posts Career-High in Wins Liberty pitcher Steven Evans capped his 2010 season by being named to the Big South All-Tournament team. The left-hander went the distance in a 7-2 victory over the Winthrop Eagles, May 26 in the Flames' opening game of the 2010 Big South Championship. The win ran his record to 9-2 on the year, surpassing his former career-high for wins of seven. Besides wins, the junior pitcher also posted personal career highs in innings pitched (89.2) and strikeouts (85), and a career-low ERA of 3.01 ERA. With the strong season, Evans moved into 10th on the Liberty career strikeout list with 185.
Best Start Since 1995 Liberty started its 2010 season with a 9-0 record. The mark tied the 1995 Flames for the best start to a year in the 36-year history of the program. Liberty tied the mark with a 10-1 win over Delaware State at Worthington Stadium on March 7. The Flames' start was the best during the three-year tenure of Liberty Head Coach Jim Toman. During Toman's first season in 2008, the Flames opened the year, 5-1. Liberty also tied the program record for consecutive wins at the NCAA Division I level with the streak. Five other Flames squads have won nine consecutive games (2009, 2008, 2006, 1995, 1985). The 1976 Liberty team holds the school record for consecutive victories with 15.
Liberty Award Winners Several Flames received recognition from the Big South Conference this season:
All-Conference Shawn Teufel, first team, starting pitcher Tyler Bream, second team, third baseman Matt Williams, second team, shortstop Nathan Thompson, second team, catcher All-Academic Nathan Thompson
All-Tournament Tyler Bream, third baseman Kenneth Negron, Outfielder Steven Evans, starting pitcher A Shout Out to the Seniors Ten members of the Liberty roster played in their final games in a Liberty uniform at the end of May. The group included - Zane Bator, DH/RHP; Dane Beakler, RHP; Casey Brown, OF; Carter Browning, RHP; P.J. Jimenez, INF; Kenneth Negron, OF; Curran Redal, OF; Shawn Teufel, LHP; Nathan Thompson, C; and Dustin Umberger, RHP.
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