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No. 5 Seed Liberty Falls to No. 4 Seed Radford in Big South Championship Opener
Despite three hits and a home run from left fielder Ashton Perritt, the No. 5 seeded Liberty Flames fell to the No. 4 seeded Radford Highlanders, 6-3, in Game 4 of the Big South Baseball Championship, Tuesday evening at Liberty Baseball Stadium.
Perritt collected his sixth three-hit game and belted his fifth home run of the season in the contest. He also scored a run and drove in a run.
Liberty drops to 29-27 and will play No. 8 seed Charleston Southern in Game 6, tomorrow 45 minutes after Game 5 between No. 7 seed Longwood and No. 3 seed High Point. Radford moves to 30-24 and will play No. 1 seed Campbell in Game 8, tomorrow 45 minutes after Game 7 between No. 6 seed Gardner-Webb and No. 2 seed Coastal Carolina.
Radford, the home team by virtue of its higher seed, struck for three runs in the bottom of the first. Second baseman Josh Gardiner and catcher Josh Reavis opened with back-to-back infield singles. Shortstop Jeff Kemp followed with a single to right-center field, scoring Gardiner with the first run of the contest.
After left fielder Zach Woolcock singled to load the bases, a throwing error by Liberty first baseman Alex Close on a fielder's choice grounder by right fielder Patrick Marshall allowed Reavis and Kemp to score for a 3-0 lead.
The Flames jumped on the scoreboard in the top of the third. With two out, Perritt lined a solo home run inside the left field foul pole for Liberty's first run of the contest, making it 3-1 Highlanders.
In the bottom of the inning, Radford answered by plating two runs. Kemp walked to open the frame and two batters later, advanced to second on a single by Marshall. After the second Highlanders' batter of the frame was retired, designated hitter Ryan Burgess doubled to the warning track in center field, bringing home both runners for a 5-1 advantage.
The Highlanders added another run in the fourth. With one out, Gardiner reached on fielder's choice and stole second. After moving to third on a wild pitch, Gardiner scored on a ground out by Reavis to give Radford a 6-1 lead.
Liberty cut into the Highlanders' advantage in the top of the seventh. Catcher Trey Wimmer led off the inning with a single. Two batters later, Radford's Woolcock dropped a fly ball to left field by second baseman Bryan Aanderud to put two Flames in scoring position with one out.
Right fielder Nick Paxton followed with a two-run single, trimming the Highlanders' advantage to 6-3.
Flames starter Josh Richardson falls to 2-4 on the season. The right-hander gave up three runs on 11 hits over eight innings. He struck out five and walked two batters.
Highlanders starter Tyler Costello moves to 7-4 on the year. He gave up three runs on five hits in pitching his first complete game of the season. The right-hander struck out four and did not walk a batter.
Liberty collected five hits in the contest. Radford totaled 11 hits. Gardiner and Marshall had two hits apiece.