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No. 1 Seed Liberty Advances Behind Lambert
Trey Lambert pitched 7 2/3 scoreless innings, leading the No. 1 seed Liberty Flames to a 3-0 win over the No. 8 seed Gardner-Webb Runnin' Bulldogs in Game 3 of the 2014 Big South Baseball Championship at the Winthrop Ballpark.
Lambert combined with two relievers to pitch the ninth Liberty shutout this season. Lambert, the 2014 Big South Pitcher of the Year, moves to 11-2 on the year. The senior right-hander scattered four hits, before departing with two outs and two men on in the eighth inning. He struck out five batters and walked three.
Liberty moves to 40-14 on the year and advances to play the winner of tonight's game between No. 5 seed Radford and No. 4 seed High Point, in Game 8 of the Big South Baseball Championship, tomorrow evening.
It is the fourth time in program history that Liberty has won 40 or more games in a season. Three of the seasons have come under current Flames head coach Jim Toman as Liberty also posted 40-plus win season in 2010 and 2012 under the 2014 Big South Coach of the Year. The Flames also won 40 games under Al Worthington in 1983.
Gardner-Webb drops to 24-29 on the season and will play the loser of the Radford-High Point in elimination contest tomorrow in Game 6 of the Big South Baseball Championship.
Liberty, the home team on the scoreboard due to its higher seed struck out for the game's first two runs in the third inning. With one out, third baseman Dylan Allen walked. Center fielder Ashton Perritt followed by lining a double into the left-center field gap to plate Allen for a 1-0 edge.
Perritt moved to third base when the throw home in attempt to get Allen by Gardner-Webb second baseman Scott Johnson sailed high and away from catcher Hunter Smith. A wild pitch then allowed Perritt to score for a 2-0 lead.
The Flames stretched their advantage during its next at bat. Second baseman Ryan Seiz, the 2014 Big South Player of the Year, led off the inning with a single and advanced to second on a sacrifice bunt by designated hitter Becker Sankey. Shortstop Dalton Britt followed with a run-producing single back through the middle of the field for a 3-0 advantage.
In the ninth, Gardner-Webb rallied by loading the bases with no one outs. Singles by second baseman Scott Johnson and catcher Hunter Smith sandwiched around a walk to pinch hitter Collin Thacker filled the bases with Bulldogs to open the inning. But, reliever Matt Marsh retired the next three batters, two by strike out, to seal the win and earn his third save of the year.
Runnin' Bulldogs' starting pitcher Matt Fraudin falls to 4-7 on the year. The right-hander gave up three runs on eight hits over seven innings. He struck out five batters and walked one.
Liberty collected eight hits in the contest. Britt and Perritt each had two hits and a RBI for the Flames. Gardner-Webb had four hits. Shortstop Ryan Hodge had two hits for the Runnin' Bulldogs.