The Flames are red hot coming into their weekend series at home against the Canisius Golden Griffins. After taking a loss to a tough Florida team on opening day, Liberty has ripped off a 7 game win streak, taking the Florida series and dominating North Carolina A&T, Radford, and outscoring Winthrop 29-4 in their 3 game home series last weekend. The Flames are ranked 20th in the nation by D1baseball.com and gaining more national attention as they keep winning.
Canisius is 4-5 coming into the series. They have played two 4-game series against Pittsburgh and Morehead State, going .500 in both of those matchups. They lost at West Virginia on Tuesday, 17-3.
Second baseman Max Grant and designated hitter Mike Steffan have come out of the gate as the hitting leaders thus far for the Golden Griffins, posting batting averages of .471 and .343, respectively. The have combined for 5 home runs in their 9 games and currently lead the team in slugging percentage.
Canisius sophomore Matt Duffy has started off the 2022 season with two impressive wins, allowing 6 total hits and 2 runs in his 12 innings pitched. We should anticipate seeing Duffy in one of the games in this series. Aaron Duffy and Chris Pouliot are also possible starters this weekend, each having started two games apiece.
Liberty center fielder Derek Orndorff has really made his presence felt thus far in his first season as a Flame. He has 7 home runs and a batting average of .462 through 8 games. As a powerful hitter in the lineup for Liberty, he is doing his job and much more. Every at bat for the transfer has the the potential to contain a long bomb over the fence. Cameron Foster and Gray Betts have performed well with the bat so far also, with Foster second on the team in RBI’s with 10 and Betts second in slugging percentage with .594.
Liberty has really asserted themselves as a team to be reckoned with in the first stretch of games and I expect that to continue in this home series. The last time these teams met was a series in early March of 2018. The Golden Griffins took that series, winning the first two games and barely losing the final in extra innings. As their next meeting nears almost exactly three years later, I expect a very different result from the last face off those seasons ago. The Flames are coming in hungry and ready to continue showing the country that they are not to be meddled with; that they truly belong in the conversations with the best of the best.