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Liberty Powers past North Carolina A&T
Ryan Cordell and Zack Haley each hit a home run, while Alex Close had three hits, helping to drive the Liberty Flames past the North Carolina A&T Aggies, 6-2, Wednesday afternoon at Worthington Stadium.
Haley hit his first home run of the season, opening the fifth inning. Cordell belted a two-run round tripper in the seventh, his fourth of the year. The right fielder also singled and scored twice in the contest.
Close collected three hits, including a double, driving in a run and scoring a run. It was the fifth three-hit game of the season for the first baseman. The freshman completed his day by pitching a scoreless ninth inning.
Liberty moves to 34-15 on the year. North Carolina A&T falls to 13-32. The nonconference game was the first meeting between the two teams on the diamond since 2005.
The host Flames used four hits to score two runs in the fourth inning to take a lead they never relinquished. Cordell and second baseman Bryan Aanderud opened the frame with back-to-back singles. After designated hitter Justin Sizemore moved both runners into scoring position with a sacrifice bunt, Close singled to plate Cordell with the first run of the game. Center fielder Ashton Perritt followed with a run-scoring single, giving Liberty a 2-0 edge.
Single runs in home half of the fifth and sixth innings extended the Flames' advantage. Haley lined his round tripper over the left field wall in the fifth, while sixth-inning doubles by Close and third baseman Dalton Sype upped the Liberty advantage to 4-0.
In the top of the seventh, North Carolina A&T broke through for two runs. With two men aboard, first baseman Kelvin Freeman plated both runners with a double to trim the Flames' lead to 4-2.
Liberty answered in the bottom of the inning. After left fielder Ian Parmley was hit by a pitch to begin the frame, Cordell lifted his home run over the right field wall for what proved to be the final score of 6-2.
On a staff day for the Flames, reliever Shawn Clowers picked up the win to improve to 2-0 on the year. The left-hander, the second Liberty pitcher in the game, tossed a scoreless fourth inning.
Seven Flames combined to allow two runs on four hits during the contest. They struck out six and walked three batters.
Aggie Shane Carter drops to 1-3 on the season. The right-hander gave up four runs on nine hits, striking out one batter, over six innings.
Liberty collected 12 hits in the game. Besides Close and Cordell, Aanderud and Perritt recorded two hits apiece in the contest.
The Flames will now have nine days off for exams. When Liberty returns to the diamond, it will host the High Point Panthers in a three-game Big South series, beginning May 11. The three games will be the last three contests for the Flames at Worthington Stadium. First pitch is scheduled for 7 p.m.