Despite the current break in play for Liberty Baseball, there’s still plenty going on as we near the end of the regular season.
Liberty achieved its first national ranking this week, slotted at #22 in the Baseball America poll. They are also ranked 22nd in RPI. After sweeping UNC Asheville, the Flames will only need one conference win in six games to clinch the #1 seed for the Big South Tournament.
Perritt Moves to 2nd in Saves Ashton Perritt has jumped to second on the single season saves list with 11 saves thus far. Ashton has a 1.50 ERA and 24 strikeouts in 24 innings of work. Josh Brey holds the record at 16 saves in a season.
The Flames’ recent success has put them into the discussion for a potential regional host bid. Though it seems that Liberty is currently on the outside looking in, they will have some chances to propel up the rankings against Virginia and Elon, as well as Big South series against Coastal Carolina and Radford. It could also be the case that Liberty schedules another non-conference opponent, but time is running out with not many midweek dates open.
It is hard to say how many losses the Flames could afford and still host. There’s a number of teams in the mix and still a ways to go, but I’d expect the Flames to be afforded around one, or possibly two losses if they are still able to win the Big South Tournament. Even if they aren’t able to grab a hosting bid, being in the discussion is huge for the program. Liberty seems to be gaining a ton of traction as a very respectable baseball school. Combine that with top-notch facilities, and the sky is the limit.
Player of the Week: Alex Close and Will Shepherd
These guys both came up huge for the Flames last weekend, especially in late game situations.
Shepherd’s two out hit in the 8th tied the Flames up with UNC Asheville in game 2, and allowed
Seiz to come to the plate and put the Flames ahead. Shepherd then got things started in the 9th inning of game 3, which led to an eventual Liberty victory. The freshman outfielder has been just what the Flames needed this year, and has filled a huge void left by the injured Nick Paxton. He has been money in big situations, batting over .500 with two outs and runners in scoring position.
Alex Close was the game 3 hero for the Flames in the Asheville series. He hit a home run in the 5th inning and also had the walk-off hit in the 9th that secured the sweep for the Flames. Close boasts a .327 batting average so far.
May 7, 6:00: #1 Virginia
This one will be a huge opportunity for Liberty to prove themselves. The Flames have only beat one top 25 team this year, and could really use a signature win to add to their resume.