The Liberty baseball team has released its 2012 schedule, which includes 11 games against 2011 NCAA Regional qualifiers and contests at 2011 College World Series participants, Virginia and North Carolina.
The Flames will host 30 games in their final season at Worthington Stadium. Liberty is slated to move to a new facility in 2013.
The Flames will entertain in-state opponents James Madison, Old Dominion and VCU in midweek contests, while welcoming BIG EAST power St. John’s, a NCAA Regional participant the last two seasons, for a three-game weekend series in March.
In addition, Liberty will host Coastal Carolina (Apr. 26-28), Gardner-Webb (March 23-25), High Point (May 11-13) and league newcomer Campbell (April 6-7) in Big South Conference three-game weekend series.
Liberty will open its fifth season under head coach Jim Toman with four games at the Citadel Challenge at Riley Park in Charleston, S.C., Feb. 17-19. The Flames will open the season against Richmond on Feb. 17. Also in the field are host The Citadel and Towson.
Liberty will open its home schedule on Feb. 21 with a non-conference, midweek contest against Radford at Worthington Stadium, followed by a four-game series with Siena, Feb. 24-26.
The Flames will make a visit to 2011 College World Series participant and ACC Champion Virginia on Feb. 28 and North Carolina, also a College World Series participant in 2011, on April 18. Liberty will also make road trips to ACC members Duke (March 20) and Virginia Tech (May 15).
In addition, the Flames will play a three-game series against Marshall in Beckley, W.Va., March 30-April 1.
Liberty will travel to conference foes Presbyterian College (March 16-18), Winthrop (April 13-15), UNC Asheville (April 20-22) and Radford (May 17-19) for three-game weekend series.
The 2012 Big South Baseball Championship will be hosted for the first time by High Point, May 22-26, at Coy O. Williard Stadium in High Point, N.C. For the first time in conference history, the Big South Baseball Championship will use an eight-team, double-elimination format, with a single-elimination title game on May 26.
The conference champion will receive the Big South’s automatic bid to the 2012 NCAA Tournament. Regional play in the 2012 NCAA Tournament is scheduled for June 1-4, at sites to be determined.
Liberty had a record seven players drafted in this past June’s Major League Baseball Player Draft and another sign a free agent contract, after posting a 35-24 record in 2011.
The Flames, who had three pitchers drafted in June, posted a 4.05 ERA, the best for a Liberty team since 1991’s 3.77 ERA. The mound staff also had the fewest runs allowed, 283, since the 1991 team which yielded 209 runs. The 1991 team’s mark is the lowest since Liberty moved to the Division I level in 1984.
The Flames registered a school-record 42 wins in 2010 and have won 30 or more games in each of Toman’s four years at Liberty.