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Liberty Falls at No. 12 Virginia, 7-2
The No. 12 Virginia Cavaliers scored four times in the first inning, en route to a 7-2 win over the Liberty Flames, Wednesday evening at Davenport Field.
With the loss, the Flames drop to 11-6 on the year. The Cavaliers move to 15-1 on the season.
Liberty staked itself to an advantage in its opening at bat, only to see Virginia erase it in the bottom of the first inning. With one out in the top of the first, second baseman Bryan Aanderud doubled into the right-center field gap and moved to third on a fly out by center fielder Ryan Cordell. Catcher Trey Wimmer followed with an infield single to score Aanderud for a 1-0 edge.
In the bottom of the frame, the first five Virginia hitters reached, leading to four runs. Shortstop Branden Cogswell, first baseman Jared King and left fielder Derek Fisher each walked to open the inning. Cogswell then scored on a wild pitch for the first Cavaliers run. Center fielder Brandon Downes followed with a two-run triple for a 3-1 host advantage. Another wild pitch allowed Downes to score, upping the Virginia lead to 4-1.
Liberty cut into the Cavaliers' lead in the second. Designated hitter Danny Grauer led off the inning with a double into the left field corner and advanced to third base on a single to center field by third baseman Dalton Sype. Left fielder Nick Lacik then lifted a sacrifice fly to plate Grauer, trimming the Flames' deficit to two runs at 4-2.
Virginia extended its advantage in the fifth, striking for a two-out run. Right fielder Joe McCarthy kept the home half of the frame alive with a single and stole second base. Designated hitter Kenny Towns followed with run-producing single for a 5-2 Cavalier lead.
In the seventh, Virginia added to its advantage. With two men on, catcher Nate Irving's fly ball to left field was lost in the lights, dropping in for a two-run double and a 7-2 lead.
Liberty starter Willi Martin falls to 1-2 on the year. Martin walked the first three batters, before being relieved. The Flames used seven pitchers in the contest. The Cavaliers benefitted from 11 walks issued by Liberty pitching.
Virginia starter Trey Oest moves to 3-0 on the year. The freshman right-hander gave up two runs on four hits over five innings. He struck out three batters and walked one. He finished his outing by retiring 11 straight Flames. The Cavaliers used four pitchers in the game.
Liberty collected seven hits. Wimmer had two hits for the Flames. Virginia recorded eight hits. McCarthy had two hits for the Cavaliers.
The Flames will return home and start Big South Conference play against the Charleston Southern Buccaneers on Friday. First pitch for the series opener at Liberty Baseball Stadium is scheduled for 3 p.m.