With the conclusion of Liberty basketball, we shift our focus to baseball. If you didn’t get a chance to follow the team to closely over the first couple weeks, here’s what has been going on.



The Flames have had a solid start to their 2016 campaign, going 7-5 in their first 12 contests. It’s even more encouraging that all but one of Liberty’s five losses was by a single run, and the game that wasn’t by one run was lost by two runs in extra innings. If the Flames are able to figure out just a few minor issues, this team can certainly be a top 25 presence.

Here’s a look at their  work thus far.

South Florida: L 10-11, W 4-0, L 5-6
William & Mary: W 8-4
Marshall: W 9-8, W 7-3
Duke: W 1-0
Ohio State: L 4-5
ODU: L 6-7
UConn: W 8-5, L 5-7 (11), W 5-4


What We’ve Learned


grabowskiAndrew Kowalo has been a huge factor in rounding out the Liberty infield. Dalton Britt and Dylan Allen we knew would provide good contributions, but it seemed like second base would be a liability. Instead, Kowalo has provided the second highest average (.385), most RBIs (12), and is tied for the most home runs (2).

A possible development is the shifting of Kowalo to third base and inserting Grabowski into the lineup for Dylan Allen. Allen and Grabowski have put up similar number so far, and Allen is the more proven guy, but Coach Toman seems to have a lot of faith in Grabowski. It will be interesting to see how this shakes out.

At first base, with Yacyk moved to the outfield in an effort to provide another solid bat in the lineup, Taormina has taken over the bag. This is a relatively unsurprising shift as we knew we would be hard-pressed to find a third outfielder, and Yacyk has some experience out there.

Catcher is the biggest question mark. We’ve seen Jake Barbee, we’ve seen Josh Latta, we’ve seen Peyton Scarbrough, and frankly no one has really set themselves apart. Right now it seems Josh Latta (.211 1hr) is going to get the most looks going forward.


Yacyk moving to the outfield should end up being a strong play for the Flames. He has amazing power that we’ve seen flashes of throughout his time in the program, but it hasn’t really reflected in his numbers as much as one would hope. He does have two homers so far this season, which matches his total from 2015. He’s a high upside guy that I believe could prove to be a lethal weapon at the bottom end of the batting order.

Probably the biggest development over the first week of the season was the emergence of true freshman, D.J. Artis. The center fielder batted .500 with a homerun and a triple in the inagural  series against South Florida and has been a consistent contributor at the lead-off spot. He’s a fluent fielder with great speed and power. Expect huge things from Artis in the days ahead.



mitchellPitching consistency has probably been Liberty’s biggest weakness thus far. With that said, Coach Toman has been trying out a lot of arms in an effort to get a good idea of who will be the most effective. I think we’ll start to see him slim the rotation down a bit and get more consistent with who he brings in.

One of the huge positives is Parker Bean’s current form. He has been dominant so far and is developing into the player we thought he would be after his freshman year.

Other guys you can expect to see on a routine basis are Zander Clouse (2 wins), Evan Mitchell (1.69 ERA), Victor Cole (all around stud), and Carson Herndon, who had a disastrous first inning against South Florida, but has since settled down.

Designated Hitter

After struggling in his opportunities last season, Nick Walker is putting up huge numbers for the Flames from the DH spot. Currently he is batting a team high .428 average. Walker’s contribution is especially important with Yacyk in the outfield and Taormina moving from the DH to first base. It’ll be tough for opposing pitchers to find a break in Liberty’s lineup with Walker batting as well as he is.

Looking Ahead

Today at 4:00, Liberty will have its lone midweek contest against Elon on the road. They’ll bring things home this weekend in the La Quinta Inn Liberty Invitational. Liberty is slated to play both Central Connecticut State and Evansville twice in the Invitational.

Make sure you take advantage of $1 Cocoa for the Friday matchup against CCSU and $1 Hot Dogs for the Evansville matchup on Saturday!