Liberty enters this weekend series after a clean sweep of North Florida, with a dominant 22-4 victory in the opener and two more wins won by a single run. Derek Orndorff and Aaron Anderson both had 3 hits in the opening match as the Flames lit it up in the batters box with 20 hits. Brady Gulakowski lit up the box score with 3 home runs and 8 RBI’s, the first time a Liberty baseball player has hit 3 home runs since 2007. The Flames lost their lone week matchup against UNC in Chapel Hill 8-1. Liberty scored their lone run off of a Gray Betts solo shot in the 3rd inning.
The Stetson Hatters come into this weekend matchup in Lynchburg at 19-21 and coming off getting swept by FGCU in their last weekend series. It was the 3rd straight ASUN series loss that they have endured, going 1-2 against Jacksonville and getting swept by Kennesaw State. The Hatters had a 3 game series win against Liberty in late March, winning two of the three games in Lynchburg, but have gone 5-12 since that series. They have been competitive with top programs such as Florida and Florida State.
Senior outfielder Cameron Hill has been arguably the most productive hitter for Stetson thus far. Batting leadoff for the Hatters, he leads the team in hits with 53, 37 runs, and has a slugging percentage of .465. Designated Hilton Brandon Hylton has also been a bright spot in the batting order for Stetson even with less at bats for the team. With 89 chances at the plate, he leads the team in home runs with 6, 2nd on team in RBI’s with 19, and is leading the team in slugging percentage with .488. 3rd/2nd basemen Camden Traficante leads the team in on base percentage with .485.
The Hatters have started 8 different pitchers this year, the most often being Cole Stallings and Jonathan Gonzalez with 9 and 10 starts respectively. Stallings is 5-3 with a 3.90 ERA and Gonzalez is 4-5 with a 4.97 ERA. Redshirt junior Danny Garcia has seemingly been the most successful in his 5 starts. He has pitched 35 innings and holds onto a solid 3.60 ERA and .1.09 WHIP. He also is second on the team in strikeouts with 51. As these three have started games the most often throughout this season I expect to see them at some point in this series. Dominic Stagliano and sophomore Austin Amaral have been the relief pitchers that have appeared in the most games with 12 and 15 each. Stagliano is 3-0 with a 3.52 ERA and Amaral is 2-1 with a 4.26 ERA.
As Liberty continues to creep towards number 1 in the ASUN hierarchy, each conference game and series seems to be more and more vital. It is time this weekend to take revenge for the last series result and keep paving the way towards the top of the conference.