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Liberty Falls to Coastal Carolina in Series Opener
The Coastal Carolina Chanticleers defeated the Liberty Flames, 17-1, Friday night in the opener of three-game Big South series at Charles Watson Stadium.
The Flames drop to 5-2 in the Big South and 15-12 overall on the season. The Chanticleers even their mark to 2-2 in conference play and 16-10 overall.
In the top of the third inning, Liberty was unable to take advantage of two Chanticleer errors. With two outs, first baseman Jeff Jefferson and second baseman Austin Taylor both reached on infield errors. Catcher Casey Rasmus then drew a walk, loading the bases. Coastal Carolina right-hander Anthony Meo was able to get the next Flame to ground out, ending the inning.
The Chanticleers took the lead in the bottom of the third, plating four runs. Third baseman Scott Woodward and Hayes Orton opened the frame with back-to-back singles. Both runners moved into scoring position on a ground out by second baseman Tommy La Stella and Woodward scored on a squeeze bunt by right fielder Daniel Bowman. First baseman Rich Witten followed with a run-producing single to give the host team a 2-0 advantage. Shortstop Taylor Motter then hit his first home run of the season, making it, 4-0 Coastal Carolina.
With three consecutive errors by the Flames, the Chanticleers loaded the bases with no one out to begin the fourth inning. After a short fly out failed to produce a run, La Stella singled to center field to plate two runs. Bowman followed with a three-run home run, his fourth of the year, giving Coastal Carolina a 9-0 advantage.
In the top of the fifth inning, Liberty loaded the bases with one out. Jefferson was hit by a pitch, Taylor singled and center fielder Ian Parmley walked, filling the sacks with Flames. But, Meo induced an inning-ending double play to keep Liberty scoreless.
Coastal Carolina added a two-run home run by Orton in the sixth inning and tacked on six more in the seventh.
Liberty starter Keegan Linza falls to 5-1 on the year and takes his first loss in a Flames uniform. The right-hander entered the contest, 13-0, in his Liberty career. Linza gave up nine runs, only four earned, on eight hits over five innings.
Meo runs his record to 3-2 on the season. The 2010 Big South Pitcher of the Year was threatened on several occasions, but took advantage of two inning-ending double plays over the first seven innings. The right-hander allowed two hits, striking out eight and walking two batters.
Liberty was held to four hits by three Chanticleer pitchers. Five Coastal Carolina hitters had two hits apiece. The Chanticleers had 16 hits in the game. Bowman led Coastal Carolina with a career-high six RBIs.
Liberty and Coastal Carolina will meet again tomorrow afternoon at Watson Stadium. The first pitch is scheduled for 4 p.m. The game will televised nationally on ESPNU.