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LU Completes Sweep, Posts 18th Conference Win
Liberty pounded out 18 hits and led from start to finish, downing the Charleston Southern Buccaneers, 13-4, Sunday at CSU Ballpark. With the triumph, Liberty completes a three-game sweep of Charleston Southern.
With the victory, Liberty has won eight straight contests and 15 consecutive Big South games. The Flames run their conference record to 18-3 and their overall mark to 37-12 on the year.
Liberty's 18 Big South Conference victories are the most ever by a Liberty baseball team since joining the conference in 1992. The victory total surpasses the 17 Big South wins compiled last season by the Flames. In addition, Liberty's 37 wins are the third-most in program history and the most since 2006, when the Flames posted 39 victories.
Charleston Southern falls to 6-14 in conference action and 17-29 overall. The Buccaneers have lost five straight.
After leaving the bases loaded in the first inning, Liberty scored first in the contest, jumping out to a 3-0 lead in the top of the second. Designated hitter Austin Taylor and first baseman Trey Wimmer led off the frame with back-to-back singles, putting Flames on the corners. Left fielder Kenneth Negron then plated the first run of the game with a fielder's choice grounder.
Two batters later, a grounder by shortstop Matt Williams brought home Negron for a 2-0 lead. Center fielder Curran Redal, who reached on a single, made it, 3-0, on a wild pitch.
The Flames added two more runs in the third. Right fielder Michael Robertson singled and second baseman P.J. Jimenez doubled into the left-field corner to open the inning with runners in scoring position. Catcher Nathan Thompson followed with a sacrifice fly to deliver Robertson for a 4-0 advantage. The next batter, Taylor, ripped a single back through the middle, bringing home Jimenez, upping the Liberty lead to 5-0.
Third baseman Tyler Bream extended the Flames' advantage in the fourth. With two outs, the sophomore lined his fifth home run of the season over the left field wall for a 6-0 advantage.
In the fifth, Liberty pushed across two more runs. Jimenez and Thompson walked to open the inning, and both moved into scoring position on a sacrifice bunt by Taylor. Two batters later, Negron dropped a single into center, cashing in both runners for an 8-0 lead.
The host Buccaneers got on the scoreboard in the bottom of the inning. With one out, center fielder Brantley Meier beat out an infield chopper for a hit. Second baseman Brentley Christmas followed with a double to the warning track in center field to score Meier. Two batters later, first baseman Nick Chinners lined a single into left field to plate Christmas, making it, 8-2.
Charleston Southern continued to cut into the Liberty advantage, with two runs in the sixth. With one out and runners on the corners, catcher Cadenhead lined a double into the left-center field gap, scoring both runners, slicing the Flames' advantage to 8-4.
Liberty put the game out of reach in the seventh with four runs. Taylor walked and moved to third on a single by Wimmer on a well-executed hit-and-run. Negron followed by popping a bunt over the head of relief pitcher Stew Brase, scoring Taylor for the first run of the frame. Center fielder Curran Redal followed by beating out an infield single to third baseman Walt Quattlebaum. When Quattlebaum's throw went into the first base dugout on the play, Wimmer scored, upping the Flames' edge to 10-4.
Williams followed with a fielder's choice RBI for the third run of the stanza. The Liberty shortstop stole second, moved to third on a throwing error by Cadenhead and scored on a wild pitch for a 12-4 Liberty advantage.
The Flames added a run in the eighth on a run-scoring single by Wimmer for the final score of 13-4.
Liberty starter Dustin Umberger picks up the victory to move to 2-2 on the season. The right-hander gave up four runs on nine hits over five innings. He struck out four and walked one. Carter Browning blanked the Bucs on three hits over the final four innings to earn his third save of the year.
Charleston Southern starter Andrew White takes the loss to fall to 1-5 on the year. The left-hander, the first of four Buccaneer pitchers in the contest, allowed eight runs on eight hits over four innings. He walked three Flames.
Jimenez and Wimmer had three hits each for the Flames. Negron had four RBIs for Liberty. Meier had three hits for Charleston Southern.
Liberty returns home Friday night to begin a three-game Big South series with the No. 4-ranked and Big South-leading Coastal Carolina Chanticleers at Worthington Stadium. First pitch is scheduled for 7 p.m.