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Bean Carries No-Hitter into Ninth in Liberty Win Over VMI
Freshman right-hander Parker Bean came within two outs of a no-hitter as the Liberty Flames defeated the VMI Keydets, 17-0, Sunday afternoon at Liberty Baseball Stadium.
Bean handcuffed VMI throughout the afternoon, not allowing the Keydets a hit until the ninth inning. With one out, VMI center fielder Brandon Angus singled through the right side of the inning to end the right-hander's no-hit bid.
Bean runs his record to 5-1 on the season. The right-hander allowed just the one hit over 8 1/3 innings. He struck out a career-high 16 batters, the most by a Flames' pitcher this season, and walked four. He allowed only one runner to advance to second in the game, as a Keydet runner moved to second on a wild pitch after a walk in the third inning.
Winners of nine-straight Big South Conference games, Liberty ties its best 12-game conference start in program history with an 11-1 mark and improve to 25-8 overall. In addition, Liberty has shut out its opponent in each of its last six Big South games and has not allowed a run over the last 60 innings in conference play.
VMI falls to 6-6 in conference play and 16-13 overall. It is the last time the two teams will meet in the regular season as Big South Conference opponents, as VMI is moving to the Southern Conference next fall.
The Flames scored runs in each of the first five innings, striking for four or more runs in the first, fourth and fifth innings.
Liberty took control of the contest earlier with five unearned runs in the first inning. Left fielder Nick Lacik reached on a dropped fly ball by the Keydets' left fielder Eric Mayers and two batters later, scored on a double by second baseman Ryan Seiz. After the second out of the inning was recorded, the Flames plated four two-out runs on RBI singles by first baseman Alex Close and catcher Danny Grauer and a two-run single by center fielder Ashton Perritt.
In the second, the Flames added three. A one-out double by shortstop Dalton Britt plated the first run of the frame. A sacrifice fly by Grauer and a two-out single by third baseman Dylan Allen gave Liberty a commanding 8-0 lead.
After scoring on a RBI ground out by designated hitter Becker Sankey in the third, Liberty plated four runs in each of the fourth and fifth innings.
The Flames collected a season-high 21 hits in tying their season-high for runs in a contest. Close led Liberty with his first four-hit game of the season and scored three times. Lacik had three hits, scored four times and drove in three runs in the game, while Grauer added three hits, scored three times and collected three RBIs. Seiz also had three hits, as every hitter in the Liberty line-up had at least one hit in the game.
VMI starter Andrew Woods drops to 5-1 on the year. The right-hander gave up eight runs, three earned, on seven hits over 1 1/3 innings. He struck out three batters and a walked two.
Liberty next steps out of conference play. The Flames will host the Richmond Spiders in a non-conference game, Tuesday. First pitch is scheduled for 6 p.m.