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Five-Run Fifth Helps Push Liberty Past Longwood, 10-4
The Liberty Flames plated five runs in the fifth inning and designated hitter Becker Sankey and second baseman Ryan Seiz each homered, en route to a 10-4 victory over the Longwood Lancers in a Big South Conference game at Bolding Stadium, Friday night.
Sankey had two hits, drove in two runs and scored twice. In the sixth inning, the designated hitter hit the first home run of his Liberty career.
Seiz also had two hits, drove in two runs and scored two runs. He connected for his Big South-leading eighth home run in the eighth inning.
Liberty moves to 12-1 in the Big South play and 27-8 overall. The Flames have won five straight contests and 10 consecutive Big South games. Longwood drops to 4-9 in conference and 14-21 overall.
Both teams plated runs in their first at bat of the evening. Liberty left fielder Nick Lacik led off the inning with a walk and stole second base. Two batters later, Seiz ripped a single back through the middle of the diamond, scoring Lacik for an early 1-0 edge.
In the bottom of the inning, Longwood shortstop Matt Dickason doubled and moved to third base on a single by left fielder Kyri Washington to open the frame. Dickason then came home on a double play ground out to tie the game at 1-1. The run ended Liberty starting pitcher Trey Lambert's shutout streak at 23 innings and the Flames' shutout streak against Big South competition at 60 2/3 innings.
The Lancers took the lead in the second inning. Third baseman Alex Owens tripled to begin the inning. Two batters later, catcher Marc McCafferty plated Owens with a ground out for a 2-1 advantage.
In the third, both teams pushed across runs. Just like in the first, Lacik led off the top of the inning by drawing a base on balls and moved to second on a singled by right fielder Will Shepherd. After advancing to third on a fly out to the left field wall by Seiz, Lacik scored on a fielder's choice ground ball by Sankey to knot the game at 2-2. Later in the inning, the Flames had a chance for more by loading the bases with two outs, but Longwood starter Travis Burnette retired the next batter to end the inning.
In the home half of the frame, Dickason and Washington singled with one out. Right fielder Brandon Delk followed with a double to the bottom of the center field fence to give the Lancers a 3-2 edge.
Liberty batted around and plated five runs in the fifth. With one out, Seiz was hit by a pitch and moved to second base on a single back through the middle of the infield by Sankey. After shortstop Dalton Britt walked to load the bases, a wild pitch by Lancer reliever Mitchell Kuebbing allowed Seiz to tie the at 3-3. First baseman Alex Close followed with a run-scoring single for a 4-3 Flames' advantage.
Liberty upped its lead to 5-3, as Longwood's Owen misplayed catcher Danny Grauer's grounder to third base. A RBI single by the next batter, third baseman Dylan Allen, plated the fourth run of the inning and the Flames made it, 7-3, on a sacrifice fly by Lacik.
The Flames and the Lancers each hit solo home runs in the sixth. In the top of the inning, Sankey belted a towering home run over the left field wall to give Liberty an 8-3 lead. In the bottom of the inning, Delk lined his sixth home run of the year over the left field wall, cutting Liberty advantage in the contest to four runs at 8-4.
Seiz homered in the eighth and Grauer had a RBI double in the ninth for what proved to be the final score of 10-4.
Lambert moves to 8-1 on the year. The right-hander, who has won his last eight starts, gave up four runs on eight hits over seven innings. He struck out seven batters and walked three.
Kuebbing, the second of four Longwood pitchers in the game, falls to 1-2. He allowed five runs on three hits over two innings. The right-hander struck out one and walked two batters.
Liberty outhit Longwood in the game, 10-9. Grauer joined Sankey and Seiz with two hits for the Flames. Delk had three hits for the Lancers.
Liberty and Longwood will meet again tomorrow at Bolding Stadium. First pitch is scheduled for 4 p.m.