Buccaneers set for three-game series against Liberty this weekend at the Ballpark

Buccaneers set for three-game series against Liberty this weekend at the Ballpark

CHARLESTON, S.C. - Charleston Southern hosts Liberty on this weekend in the Buccaneers Big South home opener at the CSU Ballpark as the Buccaneers take on the Flames in a three-game series. First pitch in Friday's opener is set for 6 p.m. Saturday's contest is set for 4 p.m., while Sunday's series finale is slated for a 2 p.m. first pitch.

Live stats for all three games will be available for CSUSports.com. The weekend series will be streamed live on the Big South Network. Live updates will also be available on CSU's Game Day Twitter feed: @CSUGameDay

Charleston Southern Baseball Notes vs. Liberty

Weekend Promotions Schedule
Friday - Turn Back the Clock Night

Discounts at the Concessions Stand (.25 hot dogs, .25 sodas, .50 hamburgers)
Music from the 70s and 80s

Saturday - Little League Day
Children 12 and under receive free admission
Kids can run the bases postgame

Sunday - Bark in the Park
Free admission for the owner if the dog brings them to the game
Free treats for all canine companions 

Probable Pitching Matchups
Friday: LHP Cody Maw (1-1, 4.62 ERA) vs. RHP Caleb Evans (3-2, 1.47 ERA)
Saturday: RHP Nik Constantakos (1-0, 2.25 ERA) vs. RHP Evan Mitchell (1-1, 3.74 ERA)
Sunday: RHP Kyle Dyson (0-0, 3.71 ERA) vs. RHP Jackson Bertsch (0-2, 6.86 ERA)

Leading Off

  • Jason Miller's nine-game hitting streak came to an end on Wednesday night, but the redshirt sophomore third baseman reached double-digits in his on-base streak with the ninth inning walk. Miller became the third Buccaneer to reach double-digits this season on base joining Mike Sconzo (12) and Brandon Gragilla (11) on the season.
  • Cody Smith striking out the side in the South Carolina eighth inning was just the second time a Buccaneer set down all three batters he faced in an inning on strikes in the 2017 season. Nik Constantakos was the first with the freshman retiring the first three batters he faced on strikes this past Saturday at Longwood.
  • Charleston Southern continues to struggle in Big South Conference openers as the Buccaneers again dropped their conference-opening series this past weekend against Longwood. That makes four in a row the Bucs have fallen in their conference weekend opening-series dating back to the 2013 season.
  • Wednesday's South Carolina match-up was CSU's first against a team ranked in the polls with the Gamecocks sitting eighth in the D1Baseball.com poll. The Bucs will also take on Clemson later this season with the Tigers ranked seventh overall in the same poll.
  • CSU improved to 2-0 in extra-inning contests in the 2017 season with the Bucs picking up their second free baseball win of the year last Sunday. CSU previously took an 8-7 decision over Hofstra on March 5th in 11 innings with Jason Miller providing the game-winning walk-off single scoring Chris Singleton.
  • The Buccaneers have dropped three of their past four games following back-to-back wins over Florida International and Winthrop. CSU fell in the first two games against Longwood, and then dropped Wednesday's contest at the Gamecocks.
  • CSU will look to end its Friday night losing streak this weekend. The Bucs have posted a 0-4 record on the final day of the work week in 2017, but are 11-3 on all other days including a 4-1 record in Saturday competition and a 3-0 record on Sundays.

About the Flames
Liberty was picked third in the Big South preseason poll after receiving 78 points and two first place votes overall. The Flames are coming off of a 31-28 season and a 12-12 mark in Big South Conference play. Liberty was able to build momentum in the conference tournament as the No. 7 seed Flames advanced to the championship game before falling to Coastal Carolina, 1-0. 

Bucs against the Flames
The Bucs are 24-41 against Liberty according to the CSU archives on hand. The Flames have taken eight of the last nine in the series against the Bucs with CSU's lone win during the span coming last season at the Liberty Baseball Stadium on Saturday, 6-1. Daniel Johnson held the Flames to two hits over seven innings, and then Wil Hartsell shut the door with the final six outs in the CSU win.

Last Out for Liberty
The Flames have won four of their past five including a series win over preseason favorite High Point this past weekend to improve their record to 12-7 on the year. The Flames run included a 7-6 win over then-No. 9 St. John's, as well a midweek win against James Madison this past Tuesday. The Flames' stretch comes on the heels of a three out of four game skid.

Who to Watch For
D.J. Artis is one of two Flames to hit over .300 on the season with a team-best .352 batting average and a team-high eight doubles. Artis also paces Liberty on the base paths with five stolen bases. Sammay Taormina is hitting .347 with a team-best 26 hits and two home runs on the year. On the mound, Caleb Evans has been Liberty's top weekend starter this year with a 1.47 ERA and a 32:13 strikeout-to-walk ratio on the year. Jack DeGroat will be the man to watch coming out of the bullpen with a team-high two saves on the year.

Bucs drop midweek contest at South Carolina
South Carolina took advantage of a bases-loaded situation in the bottom of the fifth inning to plate all the runs they would need as Charleston Southern fell to the host Gamecocks on Wednesday night in Founders Park, 3-0. The Buccaneers threatened to cut into the USC late in the eighth inning as CSU put two in scoring position with one out following a pair of singles from Mike Sconzo and Cole German. However, USC reliever Colie Bowers shut down the CSU threat and kept the Bucs off the scoreboard in the ninth to preserve the Gamecocks' shutout.

Smith Strikes Again
Reliever Cody Smith recorded his first perfect strikeout inning on Wednesday night with the junior relief ace striking out the side in the Gamecocks' eighth inning. Smith retired Madison Stokes, Hunter Taylor, and TU Hopkins in order heading into the final frame. It was just the second time in the 2017 season a Buccaneer pitcher had struck out the side. Nik Constantakos did it first last weekend against Longwood to start the game on Saturday afternoon.

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