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No. 19 Coastal Carolina Comes From Behind for Wild, 14-13 Victory
Liberty falls to 9-6 in the Big South and 28-18 overall, while Coastal Carolina moves to 13-2 in the Big South and 36-9 overall. With the victory, the Chanticleers take the three-game set, 2-1. Despite the setback, Liberty remains tied with High Point for third in the conference standings.
For the third straight day, Liberty threatened in the first inning. With one out, P.K. Keller (Jr., LF, Clearwater, Fla.) singled and advanced to second on a wild pitch. After the next Flame was retired, Liberty cashed in base runners in its first at bat for the second contest in a row, as Tim Nanry (Sr., DH, Rochester, N.Y.) blasted a two-run home run over the left field wall. The designated hitter's sixth round tripper of the season gave Liberty an early, 2-0 advantage.
In the bottom of the frame, Coastal Carolina answered with a home run of its own. With two outs, first baseman Chris Raber connected for his 15th home run of the season to slice the Liberty edge to 2-1 after one inning of play.
After both teams went down in order in the second, Liberty extended its advantage in the third as the first seven batters of the frame reached with base hits. Leadoff man Kenneth Negron (So., 2B, Kingwood, Texas) and Keller began the uprising with back-to-back singles. Garrett Young (Jr., CF, Fountain Valley, Calif.) doubled to plate Negron with the first run of the offensive outburst. The Flames' next hitter, Nanry, cashed in Keller with an infield single deep in the hole between the shortstop and third baseman. The scoring continued as Patrick Gaillard (Sr., SS, Taylors, S.C.) rapped a single cleanly through the right side to knock in Young and make it, 5-1, Liberty. The next batter, Phil John (Sr., RF, Linwood, N.J.), kept things going with a run-scoring single. Gaillard then scored the fifth run of the frame on a wild pitch for a 7-1 advantage. Coastal Carolina starter John Mariotti subsequently restored order, but not before Liberty batted around in the stanza, tallying five runs on six hits.
The Flames continued the offensive outburst in their next at bat. Negron would be hit by a pitch to open the fourth inning and advanced to second on a single by Keller, chasing Mariotti. After the pitching change, both runners moved into scoring position on a wild pitch and Negron then scored as reliever Derek Anderson uncorked another wild pitch. Young followed by dropping a single in front of the right fielder to chase home Keller for a 10-1 lead. Liberty later added another run in the frame as John provided a RBI single for an 11-1 advantage.
Coastal Carolina battled back in the home half of the fourth. After one man was out, the Chanticleers loaded the bases with three consecutive singles and made it, 11-2, as a walk to pinch hitter Eric Godsey forced in Coastal Carolina's second run of the afternoon. Adam Vrable followed by connecting for a grand slam home run, his first round tripper of the year, to cut the Flames' lead to 11-6.
Liberty answered with a single run in the fifth, scoring for the third consecutive frame and for the fourth time in five innings. With one out, Negron singled and scored on a double to the center field wall by Keller, which extended the Liberty lead to 12-6.
In the sixth, the Chanticleers cut into the Liberty lead again. David Sappelt opened the inning with a long single and moved to second on a passed ball. Dom Duggan followed with a RBI single, closing the gap to 12-7.
The Flames pushed across a two-out run in the seventh. Nanry dropped a liner into right field which took a big hop over the fielder's head for a double. The designated hitter moved to third base on a wild pitch and added an insurance run on a passed ball for a 13-7 lead.
Coastal Carolina closed the gap between the teams again in the bottom of the inning, striking for three runs with two outs. Vrable doubled and scored on a triple by Sappelt. Duggan followed with a RBI single. After a pitching change by Liberty, Raber lined a double to right, chasing home Duggan to cut the Flames' advantage to 13-10.
The Chanticleers threatened in the eighth by loading the bases with two outs. Sappelt followed with a grand slam to center to give Coastal Carolina its first advantage of the contest, 14-13. The round tripper was the left fielder's eighth of the season.
Ryan Page (Jr., LHP, Cranberry Twp., Pa.) took the loss, giving up three runs on three hits in one inning. The left-hander drops to 2-2 on the year. Pete Andrelczyk picked up the win for the Chanticleers, allowing one run on one hit in three innings of work to run his mark to 1-1. Nick McCully earned his first save of the season by retiring the Flames in order in the ninth.
Nanry was 5-for-5 with a home run, a double, three RBI and three runs scored to pace Liberty's 19-hit attack. Keller was 4-for-6 with a double, a RBI and three runs scored. Four other Flames had two hits apiece in the contest. Vrable went 4-for-5 with a grand slam home run, a double and three runs scored, as the senior led Coastal Carolina on its Senior Day. Four other Chanticleers had two or more hits apiece as Coastal Carolina totaled 18 hits in the game.
Liberty travels to Blacksburg, Va., Tuesday evening to square off with the Virginia Tech Hokies. Game time is set for 7 p.m. at English Field.