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Flames to Host Charleston Southern to Open Big South Play

March 17, 2011  Lynchburg, Va.  RSS
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Third baseman Tyler Bream scores in a game earlier this season. Liberty host Charleston Southern this weekend in a Big South Conference series.

Third baseman Tyler Bream scores in a game earlier this season. Liberty host Charleston Southern this weekend in a Big South Conference series.

Complete Baseball Notes (Charleston So.)

Live Stats

Video Streamming

Audio Broadcast (Friday & Saturday)

Radio Broadcast (Sunday)

The Liberty Flames (9-9, 0-0 Big South) open Big South play this weekend, with a three-game series at Worthington Stadium against the Charleston Southern Buccaneers (10-8, 0-0 Big South). The series begins a seven-game homestand for the Flames. The conference series get underway on Friday with the first night game of 2011 at Worthington Stadium.  First pitch is scheduled for 7 p.m.  The Flames and the Buccaneers will then meet on Saturday at 3 p.m. and in the series finale, Sunday at 1 p.m.
Last Time Out
The Liberty Flames saw their four-game winning streak come to end, falling to the Maryland Terrapins, 10-5, Wednesday afternoon at Smith Stadium.
After the Terps jumped out to a 6-2 advantage early, Liberty cut its deficit to 6-5 in the  top of the sixth inning.  However, it was as close as the Flames got on the day, as Maryland answered with four runs in the bottom of the inning, en route to the victory.

On Deck
The Flames continue their homestand with a nonconference game against the Virginia Tech Hokies, Tuesday afternoon.  Game time is scheduled for 3 p.m.
Next weekend, Liberty will closed out the homestand with another Big South series.  The Flames will host the Winthrop Eagles for three games, starting Friday evening at  7 p.m. at Worthington Stadium, followed by games Saturday at 3 p.m. and Sunday at 1 p.m.
Following the Flames
All three games this weekend will be video streamed LIVE.  The feed will be available for a nominal fee on the Big South Network. The video stream will also be available on the World Wide Web at both and In additon, an online audio stream will be available on the World Wide web at 
Nick Pierce will handle play-by-play duties and former Flames pitcher Doug Wallace will provide commentary for the games. Sunday's series finale may also be heard LIVE on WWMC 90.9 FM radio.

Flames in Big South Openers
For only fifth time during Liberty's 20 years in the Big South, the Flames will start conference play with a home series. Liberty is 25-28 in its Big South opening series of the season.
Of the 52 games, Liberty has opened conference play on the road 15 times, posting   a 16-23 record. The Flames have opened at home four times, going 9-5.
March Musings
Liberty will enter the weekend with a 6-4 record during the month of March. The Flames have already had one game canceled against Binghamton due to rain this month. Jim Toman's squad is scheduled to play 19 games during the month and starts Big South play with a three-game, home series against Charleston Southern this weekend (March 18-20).
Liberty posted a 10-8 mark in games during March last season, including a 1-2 start to Big South Conference play. The Flames are 353-279-2 (.558) all-time during the month.

Liberty Picked Second in Big South Preseason Poll
Liberty was tabbed to finish second in the Big South Conference standings this season in voting by the Big South Coaches. The Flames were selected second, behind four-time defending conference champion Coastal Carolina.
The Flames received all 10 second-place votes in garnering 90 points, while the Chanticleers received all 10 first-place votes for 100 total points.
Winthrop was tabbed third, followed by High Point. Radford and VMI tied for the fifth spot. Gardner-Webb was picked seventh, while Charleston Southern was voted to finish eighth. UNC Asheville  and Presbyterian Colllege round out the poll.
The 2011 Big South Championship will be held May 24-28 at Gray-Minor Stadium in  Lexington, Va.  The winner of the double-elimination tournament receives the conference's automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament.

Get Your Running Shoes On
What a difference a year makes.  So far this season, Liberty has tried to take advantage of its team speed, doubling its stolen base total through 18 games from a year ago. The Flames have stolen 28 bases in 35 attempts this season, compared to 2010, when the Flames swiped only 14 bases in 22 tries through 18 games.
Leading the way for the Flames is catcher Casey Rasmus who is 6-for-6 in steal attempts this season and center fielder Ian Parmley who is 6-9, thus far. In addition, shortstop Matt Williams and Michael Robertson each have swiped four bases.
The Flames stolen base totals are definitely a stark contrast from last season, when only outfielder Kenneth Negron had stolen four bases at this point in the year.
What About Williams
About the only thing to slow down Liberty shortstop Matt Williams this season has been the flu. The shortstop has played in 17 games this season, missing Tuesday's game at Maryland due to illness. The hot-hitting Williams returned on Wednesday to collect two more hits, including a two-run double to notch his team-leading ninth game with multiple hits.
The junior has hit safely in 15 out of the 17 games he has played. He has also had two four-hit contests. He leads the Flames with a .408 batting average and entered the week listed sixth in the Big South in the category.
Williams also entered the week second in the conference in hits. The junior also leads the team with 14 runs, seven doubles and a slugging percentage of .606.
Last season, Williams was named to the Big South all-conference second team as a sophomore.  The shortstop hit .360 with 30 RBIs and 52 runs scored.  He tied with teammate Tyler Bream and 2002 Flame shortstop Joey Monahan for second on the Liberty single season list with 22 doubles.

Picking Up the Pace
With new bats and new rules to speed up time between innings and govern mound visits, the time Flames contests have been played in this season has seen a significant drop.  So far this season, Liberty games have run an average of 2:27, compared to 2:49 minutes at this point in the season in 2010, a 22-minute difference.  
Last season through 18 games, Liberty had already played six games which lasted three hours or longer, with the  the longest being 3:43 in a 14-13, 10 inning setback to Manhattan on March 20.  This season, the Flames have had only three games go over three hours, the longest 3:11 in a 17-5 loss in game two of a twinbill at Mercer on Feb. 19.