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Close Drives in Four Runs in Game One Win over Kent State
Liberty first baseman Alex Close drove in four runs with three hits, helping to power the Flames past the Kent State Golden Flashes, 6-2, in game one of a doubleheader, Saturday afternoon at the Liberty Baseball Stadium.
Close went 3-for-4 with four RBIs to pace the Flames in the contest. Two of the first baseman's three hits were run-scoring doubles.
Meanwhile, Liberty right-hander Trey Lambert held the Golden Flashes scoreless through the first seven innings, before leaving with two men on in the eighth. Lambert moves to 3-1 on the season. He gave up six runs on two hits over seven-plus innings. The senior struck out three and walked two batters.
Winners of three-straight games, Liberty moves to 9-6 on the year. Kent State drops to 7-4.
The Flames opened the contest by striking for two runs in the home half of the first. With two on and one out, Close one-hopped his first double of the contest off the left field wall for a 1-0 edge. Catcher Danny Grauer followed with a run-producing sacrifice fly to center field to give Liberty a 2-0 advantage.
Neither team scored again until the seventh. After center fielder Ashton Perritt reached on a Golden Flashes fielding error, left fielder Nick Lacik walked and advanced to second on a fielder's choice grounder by right fielder Will Shepherd. Second baseman Ryan Seiz the walked to load the bases and Close followed by lining a one-out double into the left-center field gap to clear the base and up the Flames' lead to 5-0.
In the top of the eighth, Golden Flashes broke through for their only two runs of the game. Third baseman Curtis Olvey doubled to lead off the inning and scored on a single by second baseman Zach Beckner for Kent State's first run of the contest. After a pitching change by the Flames, Kent State loaded the bases on a fielding error by Liberty shortstop Clay Keranen, and scored on a single by center fielder Alex Miklos to make it, 5-2, Flames.
Liberty added an insurance run in the bottom of the inning. With two outs, center fielder Ashton Perritt dropped a single into center field and advanced to third on a single by Lacik. Shepherd then brought Perritt home with an infield single for the final score of 6-2.
Flames reliever Matt Marsh pitched two scoreless innings, striking out two batters to close out the Liberty victory.
Kent State starter Brian Clark falls to 1-3 on the year. He allowed two runs on six hits over 5 2/3 innings. He struck out four and walked two batters.
Liberty collected 10 hits during the contest. Lacik and shortstop Dalton Britt each had two hits apiece for the Flames. Kent State had eight hits in the game. Beckner recorded two hits for the Golden Flashes.