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Sizemore's Ninth-Inning Home Run Propels No. 5 Seed Liberty Past No. 4 Seed Radford
|Justin Sizemore greeted at home plate after hitting two-run ninth inning home run, Thursday.|
Trailing 2-1 with two outs in the top of the ninth, left fielder Justin Sizemore blasted a two-run home run, pushing No. 5 seed Liberty Flames past the No. 4 seed Radford Highlanders, 3-2, in Game 10 of the Big South Baseball Championship at Liberty Baseball Stadium, Thursday night.
With the win, Liberty moves to 31-27 on the year and advances to play the No. 2 seed Coastal Carolina Chanticleers in Game 12 of the Big South Baseball Championship, 45 minutes after Game 11 between No. 7 seed Longwood Lancers and the No. 1 seed Campbell Camels. Radford completes its season at 30-26, as the Highlanders are eliminated from the tournament.
With a runner on, two outs and down to his last strike, Sizemore belted a 2-1 pitch from Radford right-hander Michael Costello over the right field wall, to put Liberty in front, 3-2.
Ashton Perritt, who earlier hit his fifth home run of the season in the contest, took the mound and struck out all three batters he faced in the ninth, sealing the Flames' win.
Radford, the home team by virtue of its higher seed, plated the first two runs of the contest in the bottom of the third. Third baseman Chris Coia and Josh Gardiner opened the inning with back-to-back singles. After both runners moved into scoring position on a sacrifice bunt by catcher Josh Reavis, shortstop Jeff Kemp dropped a two-run single inside the right field line for a 2-0.
In the top of the fourth, Liberty loaded the bases. Center fielder Ryan Cordell led off the frame with single. Two batters later, designated hitter Danny Grauer was hit by a pitch and second baseman Bryan Aanderud walked to fill the bases with one out. But, Highlanders' starter Keith Fritz retired the next two Flames to prevent Liberty for getting on the scoreboard.
The Flames halved the Highlanders' advantage to one in the top of the fifth. With two out and the bases empty, Perritt ripped a 3-2 offering over the left field wall, slicing the Radford lead to one, 2-1.
The Highlanders left a runner in scoring position in the bottom of the sixth. Reavis opened the inning with a single and three batters later moved to second on a two-out single by right fielder Patrick Marshall. However, Liberty starter Trey Lambert struck out the next Radford batter to strand the runners.
In the top of the ninth, second baseman Bryan Aanderud singled to put the tying run on with one out. Two batters later, Sizemore connected for his second home run of the year to give Liberty the lead.
Lambert moves to 7-3 on the year. The right-hander allowed two runs on six hits. He struck out four and walked two batters. Perritt earned his seventh save of the year by pitching a scoreless ninth inning.
Costello completes his season at 2-3. He gave up two runs on four hits in one inning of work, the ninth. He struck out two and did not walk a batter.
Liberty outhit Radford, 7-6. Radford's Coia was the only player in the contest.