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Liberty to Visit Norfolk State

February 26, 2008  Lynchburg, Va.  RSS
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Junior right-hander Andrew Wilson

Junior right-hander Andrew Wilson

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 The Game
    The Liberty University Flames (3-0, 0-0 Big South) travel to Norfolk, Va., for their first midweek contest Wednesday.  The Flames will sqaure off with the Norfolk State Spartans (2-0, 0-0 MEAC) at Marty L. Miller Field.  It will also be Liberty's first game of the season against a Commonwealth opponent.  First pitch is scheduled for 2 p.m.
All-Time Against Norfolk State
    Wednesday will be the 37th meeting between Liberty and Norfolk State since 1976 on the baseball field. The Flames hold a 23-13 advantage in the all-time series. 
 However, the two sqauds have not met since 1999.  On March 8, 1999, Liberty edged Norfolk State 6-5 at Worthington Stadium.  First baseman Ryan McClellan hit a walk-off  two-run home run in the bottom of the ninth to erase a 5-4 deficit and give Liberty the victory.  

The Last Time Out
  The Flames capped a 3-0 weekend by downing the Iowa Hawkeyes, 3-1, Sunday morning, at the Clearwater Invitational.  Aaron Grijalva had a RBI single and Clearwater native P. K. Keller belted a solo home run in the victory.  David Stokes pitched a strong 7 1/3 innings in his first start of the season for the Flames, striking out seven and not issuing a walk.  Dane Beakler pitched out of eighth and ninth inning jams to record the save.
   Earlier in the tournament, Liberty defeated Notre Dame, 6-2, behind starter Clarence Nicely on Friday, and edged Albany, 5-4, pn Saturday on a seventh-inning RBI double by designated hitter Garrett Young.

Liberty on the Road 
 This year, Liberty is scheduled to play 22 contests on the road, plus six on neutral fields.  Jim Toman's team's road schedule includes two tournaments. This first is in Clearwater, Fla., which opened the season, followed by The Coca-Cola Classic in Hattiesburg, Miss., March 14-15.
 The Flames are off to a good start away from Lynchburg, after winning all three of their contests at the Clearwater Invitational this past weekend.
    Last season, Liberty posted a 10-15 road mark, plus a 3-1 neutral field record.

Baseball in the Commonwealth
 Thirteen Division I baseball teams call the Commonwealth of Virginia home. Today's contest begins a slate of 25 games against opponents from the "Old Dominion State". Liberty posted a 11-6 record against Virginia teams in 2007.
 The Flames are scheduled to meet state squads George Mason (two times), James Madison (three times), Longwood (three times), Norfolk St. (two times), Old Dominion (two times), Radford (three times), VCU (two times), VMI (three times),  Virginia (one time), Virginia Tech (two times) and William & Mary (two times) this season.

Flames by the Month
 The Flames will play five contests in the month of February in 2008, with the inception of the common starting date for college baseball.  For the first time this season, NCAA Division I programs could only begin competition until Feb. 22.
   Liberty has been successful in the month with all-time mark of 59-29.  In the past two years, the Flames have had strong opening months. Last season, Liberty started the 2007 campaign by posting a 7-3 mark in February, while in 2006, Liberty started 7-2.
 With their wins to open the 2008 campaign in Clearwater, Fla., this past weekend, the Flames have started the month, 3-0.

Avoiding Goose Eggs
 The Flames have gone 202 games and over three years without being shut out in a contest. The last time a Liberty team was shut out was April 10, 2004 by the Winthrop Eagles at the Winthrop Ballpark. During the span, the Liberty mound staff has pitched eight shutouts, including two in 2007.