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Seiz's Home Run Lifts No. 1 Seed Liberty Past No. 5 Seed Radford
A solo home run in the eighth inning by Big South Player of the Year Ryan Seiz propelled the No. 1 seed Liberty Flames past the No. 5 seed Radford Highlanders, 4-3, in Game 10 of the Big South Baseball Championship, Friday night at the Winthrop Ballpark.
With the score tied 3-3 and one out in the bottom of the eighth, Seiz belted his conference-leading 12th home run of the year over the center field fence to give Liberty its first lead of the game at 4-3.
In the top of the ninth, Radford moved a runner into scoring position at second base with two out. However, reliever Ashton Perritt struck out center fielder Luke Wise to seal the 4-3 victory and earn his 12th save of the year.
Liberty moves to 41-15 on the year. The Flames advanced to play No. 2 seed Winthrop tomorrow in Game 12 of the Big South Championship. The contest is scheduled for 45 minutes after Game 11 between the No. 3 seed Campbell and No. 4 seed High Point and which starts at 10 a.m. Liberty will need to beat Winthrop twice tomorrow in order to advance to Sunday's title game.
Radford drops to 33-25 and is eliminated from the tournament.
Radford, the visitors on the scoreboard, used one hit to plate all three of its runs in the contest in the top of the second. First baseman Alexander Lee led off the inning with a single. Designated hitter Zach Woolcock and third baseman Danny Hrbek then each drew one-out walks to load the bases. A balk by Flames starting pitcher Parker Bean forced in the first run of the contest. A passed ball on strike three to the next batter, Wise, allowed Woolcock to score for a 2-0 edge. Shortstop Chris Coia followed with a squeeze bunt to plate Hrbek and give the Highlanders a 3-0 lead.
In the bottom of the inning, Liberty struck for its first run of the contest. First baseman Alex Close yanked the first pitch of the frame by Radford starting pitcher Tyler Costello over the left-center field wall for his eighth home run of the year, cutting the Flames' deficit to 3-1.
Liberty tied the game in the fourth. With one out, Seiz walked and Close dropped a single into left field. After both runners moved into scoring position on a two-out wild pitch, shortstop Dalton Britt sent a single back through the middle of the diamond to score Seiz and Close and knot the game at 3-3.
Flames' reliever Shawn Clowers took over the pitching duties in the fifth inning and after allowing a hit to second baseman Josh Gardiner, retired the next 10 batters. The left-hander moves to 9-0 on the season. One of four pitchers for the Flames in the game, he held the Highlanders to two hits over four scoreless innings of work. He struck out three and walked none.
Radford reliever Mitchell MacKeith drops to 2-2 on the year. He gave up one run on one hit over 1 1/3 innings. One of three pitchers for the Highlanders in the contest, the left-hander struck out one.
Liberty collected five hits in the contest. Close had two hits, scored two runs and drove in a run for the Flames. Radford had six hits. Left fielder Patrick Marshall recorded two hits for the Highlanders.