Fall Report: Liberty

Fall Report

LYNCHBURG, Va. — In 2019, Liberty had just one player on its roster who had been to the NCAA tournament: reliever Evan Brabrand, who went with NC State before transferring to Liberty. Now, the Flames have a roster full of players who know what it feels like to play in a regional.

After a second-place finish in the Atlantic Sun Conference regular season, Liberty got hot when it mattered most last spring, winning four straight games to run through the losers’ bracket and capture the A-Sun tournament title, sending the program to regionals for the first time since 2014. And the Flames came out hot in their first game at the Chapel Hill Regional, beating Tennessee 6-1, before getting blown out by North Carolina and then losing a 10-inning heart-breaker to the Vols a day later, ending their season.

“So now, our guys got a taste of it,” said fourth-year Liberty head coach Scott Jackson. “We lost miserably to Tennessee in a game that we should have won, we had the bases loaded and nobody out [in the ninth inning of a tie game and couldn’t score the winning run]. So you kind of have that hunger of, we know we can get in a regional. We win game one, we really kind of lay an egg against North Carolina, but you’re two wins away from advancing. So that’s the next step for this program is to win a regional — it’s never been done here. For us to be able to do that, we’ve got to continue with that momentum and have the expectations of the players stay at that level we’ve hopefully gotten them to.”

And there’s reason to believe Liberty will be able to build on the momentum it built last spring, because the Flames return seven everyday regulars and three-fourths of their starting rotation, along with one of its two big guns in the bullpen. …

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