#43 Liberty Baseball 2015 Preview

Liberty Flames

Overall Rank: #43
Conference Rank: #1 Big South
#43 Liberty Baseball 2015 Preview
Liberty Team Page


The Liberty Flames continued to surge onto the national scene as an emerging mid-major power by putting together a 41 win season in 2014. The Flames strung together multiple wins over Power Five Conference teams such as Missouri, Clemson, and Duke and absolutely dominated the Big South Conference enroute to another trip to the NCAA Tournament with the program’s first ever at-large berth under the leadership of head coach Jim Toman.

2014: 41-18, 23-3
2014 Postseason: NCAA
Coach: Jim Toman

Field Players:
There is plenty of returning talent for Liberty in regard to position players that can compete with most top teams nationally. First baseman Alex Close is the top overall returning positon player in 2015. He hit nine homeruns and drove in 46 runs last season to help pace a pretty solid offensive attack for the Flames. Ashton Perritt, when he is not on the mound, brings a very critical element of speed to the Liberty lineup as he stole 18 bases last season in 25 attempts. Dalton Britt also returns in 2015 for the Flames and will be looking to build on an outstanding freshman season where he hit .299 and had a knack for coming up with clutch hits, driving in 35 runs last season.

Parker Bean is going to be relied upon heavily to carry the load as the projected Friday night starting pitcher for Liberty. Bean was 7-3 with a 2.95 earned run average last season and did a nice job across the board in earning the Big South Freshman of the Year award last season. A big key for Bean in his quest to improve during his sophomore season will be to get a just a little more of a gap between the walks and strikeouts. If bean can get closer to three strikeouts to every one walk, he will make the Flames that much stronger this season.

Who to Watch:
Jared Lyons will need to step up and assert himself within the weekend rotation for Liberty to offset the losses of Trey Lambert and Blake Fulghum, who combined for a 15-6 record with four complete games last season for the Flames. Lyons was 2-4 with a 3.28 earned run average with making eight starts along with working out of the bullpen. Lyons did a very solid job with his control last season, walking just 17 batters in 63 innings of work in 2014. If Lyons can come out strong and throw strikes, he should be able to claim one of the other two weekend rotation slots for coach Toman this season.

Final Projection:
The schedule is an excellent one for Liberty and will allow them to have a ton of chances to make their case for a third straight trip to the NCAA Tournament. The season opens on February 13th with a showdown against Super Regional participant Kennesaw State in the Atlanta Challenge. Two days later a battle against perennial ACC power Georgia Tech is on tap for the Flames as well. Matchups with Michigan, St. John’s, Virginia, Duke, Maryland and North Carolina will also be great chances for Liberty to test themselves to see where they stand within the national landscape of college baseball. If the Flames can develop some of the same pitching depth that they had a year ago, they will be in the mix once again to make a run 40 plus wins and return to the NCAA Tournament for the third consecutive season.

Projected Postseason: NCAA Baseball Tournament

Returning Leaders:
At Bats: Dalton Britt, IF, 221
Hits: Alex Close, IF/P, 70
Home Runs: Alex Close, IF/P, 9
RBIs: Alex Close, IF/P. 46
Runs: Ashton Perritt, OF/P, 39
Stolen Bases: Ashton Perritt, OF/P, 18

Wins: Parker Bean, P, 7
Innings Pitched: Parker Bean, P, 73.1
Strikeouts: Parker Bean, P, 71
Saves: Ashton Perritt, P, 12


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