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No. 5 Seed Liberty Forces Elimination Contest with 9-8 Win
No. 5 seed Liberty jumped out to a 9-0 advantage and then held off a No. 2 seed Coastal Carolina rally, as the Flames defeated the Chanticleers, 9-8, in the Game 12 of the Big South Baseball Championship at Liberty Baseball Stadium. The Liberty wins forces Game 13 later today between the two teams to determine which team advances to tomorrow's Big South title contest.
Liberty received a strong outing by starter Jared Lyons, who moves to 5-0 on the year. The left-hander gave up two runs on four hits over 5 2/3 innings. He struck out one and walked two batters. The sophomore did not allow a runner past second base through the first five innings, facing 16 batters, one more than the minimum.
However, after Lyons left during the sixth inning, the Chanticleers scored eight unanswered runs, before Ashton Perritt took the mound during the seventh and shut down Coastal Carolina the rest of the way to earn his eighth save and force another contest.
Liberty second baseman Bryan Aanderud posted his seventh three-hit game and his 22nd multiple-hit contest of the season. The senior drove in two runs and scored a run.
Flames third baseman Jake Kimble collected a career-high three RBIs with two hits. He also scored a run.
Liberty moves to 32-27 and forces a second game with the Chanticleers to determine which team advances to tomorrow's title game. Coastal Carolina drops to 37-20. The Flames notch their first over the Chanticleers since a 13-1 win on May 24, 2008, in the Big South Championship at Danville, Va.
Liberty, the visitors on the scoreboard due to their lower seed, struck for the game's first three runs in the top of the second inning. With one out, Aanderud singled and advanced to second when left fielder Justin Sizemore walked. First baseman Alex Close followed with a double to right field to plate the game's first run.
Two batters later, third baseman Jake Kimble lined a double into the right field corner to produce two more runs, giving Liberty a 3-0 lead.
With Lyons handcuffing Coastal Carolina at the plate through the first five frames, the Flames extended their lead by batting around and scoring six runs in the sixth. Close walked and moved to second on a single to center field by shortstop Dalton Britt. After a pitching change by the Chanticleers, Kimble lined a run-scoring single into center field, extending Liberty's advantage to 4-0. Two batters later, Britt scored on a fielder's choice grounder by center fielder Ryan Cordell to give the Flames' lead to 5-0.
The next batter, catcher Trey Wimmer, walked with the bases loaded, upping the Liberty advantage to 6-0. Aanderud followed with a two-run single for an 8-0 lead. With Liberty runners at the corners, a balk by Chanticleers reliever Aaron Burke allowed the final run of the frame to score for a 9-0 advantage.
In the bottom of the inning, Coastal Carolina got on the scoreboard with two runs. With runners at the corners and one out, center fielder Jacob May lifted a sacrifice fly to plate their first run of the game. Two batters later, left fielder Alex Buccilli dropped a single into right-center field to make it, 9-2 Liberty.
The Chanticleers cut into the Flames' advantage with six runs in the seventh. Coastal Carolina loaded the bases with one out and scored when designated hitter Ted Blackman walked. May was then hit by a pitch to force in another run, trimming the Liberty advantage to 9-4.
After first baseman Connor Owings plated the third run of the frame with a sacrifice fly to shave the Liberty lead to 9-5, Buccilli lined a three-run home run inside the right field foul pole. The left fielder's first home run of the year allowed the Chanticleers to reduce their deficit to one at 9-8.
Coastal Carolina starting pitcher Seth Lamando falls to 5-4 on the year. The right-hander allowed five runs on seven hits over 5 1/3 innings. He struck out five and walked four batters.
Liberty collected 11 hits during the contest. Britt and Close joined Kimble with two hits apiece for the Flames. Coastal Carolina recorded seven hits. Buccilli had two hits for the Chanticleers.