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Liberty Downs Missouri, 2-1
The Liberty Flames used an eighth-inning RBI single by third baseman Dalton Britt and a strong outing by starting pitcher Blake Fulghum to defeat the Missouri Tigers, 2-1, Tuesday afternoon at the USA Baseball Complex.
With one out in the eighth and the score tied at 1-1, Britt singled sharply to right field to plate the go-ahead run. It was the third baseman's second hit of the game, allowing him to collect his fourth multiple-hit game of the season.
Fulghum evens his record at 1-1 on the year. The left-hander allowed one run on four hits, before yielding to Ashton Perritt with one on and nobody out in the bottom of the eighth. Fulghum struck out five and walked two batters. The senior held the Missouri bats in check through the first six innings, retiring 12 Tigers in a row from the second to the sixth innings.
Right fielder Andrew Yacyk collected three hits in the game for the Flames. It was the Liberty freshman's first three-hit game of his collegiate career.
With the win, the Flames move to 4-5 on the season. Missouri drops to 3-4. It was the first meeting between Liberty and Missouri on the baseball diamond since 1989.
Liberty put together a scoring threat, only to be turned away in the third inning. Second baseman Jake Kimble reached on an infield single and right fielder Yacyk singled to lead off the inning. Both runners advanced into scoring position on a sacrifice bunt by shortstop Clay Keranen. However, Tigers starting pitcher Griffin Goodrich held the runners in position, retiring the next two batters to keep the Flames off the scoreboard.
Scoreless through the first five innings, Liberty pushed across the first run of the contest in the top of the sixth. Center fielder Perritt and left fielder Nick Lacik opened the inning with back-to-back singles. After moving to third on a long fly out by designated hitter Ryan Seiz, Perritt scored on a ground out by shortstop Dalton Britt for a 1-0 edge.
Held in check by Fulghum through the first six innings, Missouri tied the game in the bottom of the seventh. First baseman Kendall Keeton singled back through the middle of the infield and designated hitter Keaton Steele walked to open the inning. Catcher Dylan Kelly moved both runners into scoring position with a bunt. Left fielder Eric Anderson followed with a sacrifice fly to plate Keeton, knotting the game at 1-1.
The Flames went back into the lead with a run in the top of the eighth. With one out, Lacik walked. After a pitching change, Seiz ripped a single through the right side of the infield to move Lacik into scoring position. Britt followed by lining a run-scoring single to right to give Liberty a 2-1 advantage.
In the bottom of the eighth, the Tigers put the leadoff man aboard, as right fielder Sean Ulrich walked. Perritt was summoned from center field to pitch and proceeded to retire the next three Missouri batters to end the frame.
Perritt retired the side in order in the ninth, sealing the 2-1 victory and earning his third save of the season.
Tigers reliever Ryan Phillips drops to 2-1 on the year. The third of four Missouri pitchers, he gave up one run on one hit over 1 1/3 innings.
Liberty collected 10 hits in the contest. Missouri managed four hits.
Liberty will next host the Liberty Invitational at Liberty Baseball Stadium, beginning Friday. The Flames will play the Ball State Cardinals in the second game of the day at 4 p.m.