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Play Suspended between Liberty and South Carolina at Columbia, S.C. Regional
Play in the NCAA regional final between the Liberty Flames and the South Carolina Gamecocks was suspended due to severe weather in the middle of the fifth inning, Sunday evening at Carolina Stadium.
Before the start of the bottom of the fifth with the host Gamecocks leading 4-2, lightning and rain moved into the Columbia, S.C. area, halting play.
After waiting two hours and 32 minutes, the game was officially suspended and will be resumed tomorrow at 1:05 p.m. on ESPNU.
Playing in their first regional final in program history, the Flames defeated the Clemson Tigers, 3-1, Sunday afternoon to advance to their match-up with South Carolina, the host and No. 1 seed in the Columbia, S.C. Regional.
South Carolina, the regional host, opened the contest with a run in the bottom of the first. Third baseman Chase Vergason and shortstop Joey Pankake each drew one-out walks. Designated hitter LB Dantzler followed with a run-scoring single through the right side of the infield for a 1-0 edge.
Liberty threatened in the top of the second. With one out, left fielder Justin Sizemore and first baseman Alex Close hit back-to-back singles. A fielder's choice grounder by right fielder Nick Paxton left runners on the corners with two outs. But Gamecock starter Jack Wynkoop retired the next Flames to end the threat.
In the bottom of the third, South Carolina plated three runs with two outs. Center fielder Tanner English began the frame by lining a ground-rule double into the left-field gap. Three batters later, Pankake dropped a two-out single into left field to score English for a 2-0 advantage. Dantzler followed with a RBI double into the right-center field gap, giving the Gamecocks a 3-0 edge. After catcher Grayson Greiner walked, first baseman Kyle Martin singled to right field, bringing home a run for a 4-0 lead.
Liberty struck for its first two runs of the contest in the top of the fourth. With one out, second baseman Bryan Aanderud singled and moved to third on a double lined into the left field corner by Sizemore. After Close walked to load the bases, Paxton sent a single through the right side of the infield, plating Aanderud to make it, 4-1 South Carolina. The next batter, shortstop Dalton Britt, then lifted a sacrifice fly to center field, slicing the Gamecock advantage to 4-2.
A light drizzle began to fall in the top of the fifth, before lightning moved into the area, stopping play. Later, heavier rain fell in the area, causing the game to be suspended.