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Liberty Baseball: Flames picked third in ASUN preseason poll

liberty baseballHeading into its first season as members of the ASUN Conference, the Liberty baseball team has been selected to finish third in the ASUN Preseason Poll voted on by the league’s head coaches.

Additionally, ASUN fans selected Flames junior shortstop Cam Locklear as Fan Voted Preseason Defensive Player of the Year.

Liberty ventures into unfamiliar territory in 2019, as the Flames have not played a current ASUN member since 2015 (Kennesaw State) and have never met four of the conference’s eight other teams on the diamond.

Defending ASUN Champion and 2018 NCAA Super Regional participant Stetson, 15-3 in the ASUN and 48-13 overall, was selected to repeat in 2019, garnering 77 points and six first place votes to edge past Jacksonville for the top spot. Jacksonville received 73 points and two first place votes. Jacksonville, a 2018 NCAA Regional participant, posted a 14-6 conference mark and a 40-21 overall record last season. Florida Gulf Coast was tabbed to finish fourth, receiving one first place vote and 56 points. Kennesaw State, North Florida, Lipscomb, North Alabama and NJIT round out the poll in that order.

Locklear received 587 votes in the ASUN’s Facebook Fan Poll to earn Fan Voted Preseason Defensive Player of the Year honors. The Flames’ everyday shortstop has posted a .951 fielding percentage over 111 games during his first two years at Liberty. Last season, he anchored the Liberty infield defense, committing just nine errors in 233 chances for a .961 fielding percentage.

In their third year under head coach Scott Jackson, the Flames come off a 32-26 campaign in 2018 and finished their last season in the Big South with a 17-10 mark. Liberty returns All-Conference third baseman Tyler Galazin and pitcher Garret Price, along with utility player Jonathan Embry and shortstop Locklear. In addition, Jackson’s squad will see the return of Logan Mathieu, Brandon Rohrer and Noah Skirrow who each posted solid first seasons at the collegiate level as freshmen.

Liberty will host NJIT in its first ASUN contest on March 22 at Liberty Baseball Stadium. The Flames open their 2019 campaign in 22 days at South Carolina on Feb. 15. Their first home game is on Feb. 19 against Wake Forest.

The top six teams in the ASUN standings will advance to the 2019 ASUN Baseball Championship, May 22-25 at Stetson’s Melching Field at Conrad Park in DeLand, Fla. The winner of the double-elimination tournament receives the ASUN’s automatic bid to the 2019 NCAA Tournament.

2018 ASUN Baseball Preseason Poll

Pl. Team (1st Place Votes) Points
1. Stetson (6) 77
2. Jacksonville (2) 73
3. Liberty 59
4. FGCU (1) 56
5. Kennesaw State 45
6. North Florida 38
7. Lipscomb 30
8. North Alabama 14
9. NJIT 13

Preseason Player of the Year: Angel Camacho, Jacksonville

Preseason Pitcher of the Year: Mitchell Senger, Stetson

Preseason Defensive Player of the Year: Christian Proffitt, FGCU

Fan-Voted Preseason Player of the Year: Jacob Koos, Stetson

Fan-Voted Preseason Pitcher of the Year: Josh Stillman, North Alabama

Fan-Voted Preseason Defensive Player of the Year: Cam Locklear, Liberty

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