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Lambert Goes Distance, as Liberty Defeats Gardner-Webb, 5-1
Right-hander Trey Lambert pitched his third complete game of the season, leading the No. 30 Liberty Flames to a 5-1 victory over Gardner-Webb Runnin' Bulldogs, Thursday evening in a Big South Conference contest at John Henry Moss Stadium.
Lambert went the distance from the third time on the season, running his record to 9-1 on the year. The senior has thrown six complete games during his career. He allowed one run on seven hits. The right-hander struck out eight and walked two batters. Lambert leads the Big South and was second in the nation in wins, entering today's action.
Catcher Danny Grauer had two hits, including his sixth home run, a two-run shot, in the contest.
Liberty moves to 15-1 in Big South play and 30-9 overall. The Flames have won 13 straight Big South games, a program record. Gardner-Webb falls to 7-9 in conference play and 16-21 overall.
Taking advantage of a Gardner-Webb error, Liberty staked itself to a 4-0 lead in the first. With one out, third baseman Dylan Allen reached on a fielding miscue by Bulldog first baseman Scott Coleman. Two batters later, designated hitter Becker Sankey lined a two-out double into the left field corner advancing Allen to third. First baseman Alex Close followed with a single back through the middle for the first two runs of the contest. Grauer then sent a blast over the left field wall to give the Flames a 4-0 advantage.
Liberty extended its lead in the fourth. Close reached on a dropped third strike to open the inning and moved to second on a single by Grauer. After the next two batters were retired, Gardner-Webb starting pitcher Matt Fraudin threw wide of the first base bag on a bunt by center fielder Ashton Perritt, allowing Close to score for a 5-0 lead.
After being held scoreless through six innings by Lambert, the Runnin' Bulldogs pushed across a run in the bottom of the seventh. With one out, Coleman walked and designated hitter Matt Simmons singled. Two batters later, shortstop Ryan Hodge dropped a run-scoring single into center field to make it, 5-1 Flames.
Fraudlin drops to 2-5 on the season. The Bulldogs starter allowed five runs on seven hits over six innings. He struck out eight batters and walked two.
Liberty outhit Gardner-Webb, 11-7. Jake Barbee, who entered the game in the seventh, joined Grauer with two hits in the contest.
Liberty and Gardner-Webb will meet again, tomorrow evening at John Henry Moss Stadium. First pitch is scheduled for 6 p.m.