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Shepherd's Two-Out Single Key Hit in Liberty's 8-5 Win at Longwood
A single by right fielder Will Shepherd gave Liberty the lead in the sixth inning, as the Liberty Flames defeated the Longwood Lancers, 8-5, Saturday afternoon at Bolding Stadium.
Shepherd had two hits and drove in two runs with a two-out, bases-loaded single in the sixth to give Liberty an advantage it never relinquished.
Second baseman Ryan Seiz also had two hits, including his Big South-leading ninth home run of the season. The second baseman also had two RBIs.
After taking the first two games of this Big South series, Liberty moves to 13-1 in conference play and 28-8 overall. The Flames have won six-straight games and 11 consecutive contests against Big South Conference opponents.
Liberty struck for two runs in the first inning. Left fielder Nick Lacik led off the contest with a single and advanced to second on a ground out. Seiz followed with a single to score Lacik and moved all the way to third base when the ball got by Longwood right fielder Brandon Delk. Designated hitter Becker Sankey followed with a RBI sacrifice fly for a quick 2-0 edge.
In the home half of the opening inning, the Lancers plated a run. With two out, first baseman Alex Owens singled home shortstop Matt Dickason, who singled to open the inning, making it 2-1 in favor of the Flames.
Longwood plated two runs in the second, benefitting from a Liberty error. Second baseman C.J. Roth reached on a bunt single to open the inning and moved to second when Flames starting pitcher Blake Fulghum misplayed a sacrifice bunt attempt by third baseman Brandon Harvell. Both runners advanced into scoring position on a sacrifice bunt by Colton Konvicka. A one-out grounder by Dickason scored the first run of the inning to tie the contest. Left fielder Kyri Washington followed with a RBI double to give the Lancers a 3-2 advantage.
Liberty tied the contest in the top of fourth, only to see Longwood take back its lead in the bottom of the inning. In the top of the inning, shortstop Dalton Britt and first baseman Alex Close each singled with one out. After Britt moved to third on a foul out down the right field line by catcher Danny Grauer, third baseman Dylan Allen lined an opposite field single to left, knotting the game at 3-3.
In the home half of the inning, Longwood used a one-out double by Dickason to go back in front, 4-3. After a grounder moved the runner to third, Delk singled to give the host Lancers a 5-3 lead.
The Flames cut into Longwood's advantage in the sixth. With two out, Seiz lined an opposite field home run over the right field wall, trimming the Lancers' edge to 5-4.
Liberty used three runs in the sixth to take the lead. After Allen reached on a fielder's choice, center fielder Ashton Perritt and Lacik drew back-to-back walks to load the bases with two outs. After Longwood went to the bullpen, Shepherd ripped a single into center field off new Lancers pitcher Aaron Myers to plate two runs. And when Shepherd's single was misplayed by Longwood center fielder Konvicka, Lacik also came home to give Liberty a two-run advantage at 7-5.
The Flames added an insurance run in the top of the ninth. Seiz was hit by a pitch with one out, moved to second on a wild pitch and advanced to third on a balk. Sankey followed by lifting a run-producing sacrifice fly for what proved to be the final score of 8-5.
Liberty pitcher Blake Fulghum moves to 3-2 on the year. The left-hander pitched the first nine-inning complete game of his career, not allowing a hit or run over the final four innings. He gave up five runs on 11 hits, striking out three and walking four batters.
Starting pitcher Brandon Vick drops to 3-4 on the season for Longwood. One of three Lancers to pitch in the game, he allowed seven runs on seven hits over 5 2/3 innings. The left-hander struck out three and walked four batters.
Liberty collected nine hits in the contest. Allen joined Seiz and Shepherd with two hits in the game. Longwood had 11 hits. Four Lancers had two hits apiece in the contest.
Liberty and Longwood will meet again in the finale of their three-game series, tomorrow at Bolding Stadium. First pitch is scheduled for 1 p.m.