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Bream and Taylor Big in Liberty Win
Tyler Bream had two hits, including a home run, and Austin Taylor hit two home runs, powering the No. 2 seed Liberty Flames past the No. 5 seed Gardner-Webb Runnin' Bulldogs, 13-5, in Game 4 of the 2011 Big South Championship at Gray-Minor Stadium.
Liberty runs its record to 34-22 on the year. The Flames will face the winner of this evening's Big South Championship Game 5 between No. 3 seed Charleston Southern and No. 4 seed Winthrop, tomorrow at 7 p.m. Gardner-Webb falls to 31-22-1 on the season. The Runnin' Bulldogs will square off with the No. 6 seed Radford Highlanders in an elimination game tomorrow at 11 a.m.
Gardner-Webb, the visitor's on the scoreboard, began the contest with a run during its first at bat. Second baseman Daniel Merck and shortstop Aaron Miller led off the game with back-to-back singles and loaded the bases when left fielder Jake Watts walked. Third baseman Brad Collins then bounced into a double play, which plated Merck and gave Gardner-Webb a 1-0 advantage.
Liberty answered in the bottom of the first. Center fielder Ian Parmley opened the frame by beating out a bunt for a base hit. Two batters later, Parmley stole second base and advanced to third base on a fly out to right field by shortstop Matt Williams. Left fielder Doug Bream followed with a two-out single back through the middle to cash in Parmley, tying the game at 1-1. The next hitter, third baseman Tyler Bream, ripped a liner inside the third base bag and down the left field line for a run-scoring double and a 2-1 lead.
The Flames made it, 4-1, in the second. Catcher Casey Rasmus ripped a triple off the right field wall to lead off the inning. After a second baseman Zack Haley drew a walk, Parmley laid down a squeeze bunt to plate Rasmus for a 3-1 advantage. Right fielder Michael Robertson followed with a two-out double, bringing home Haley with Liberty‘s second run of the frame.
In the third inning, the Flames continued to add to their lead. Tyler Bream reached on a fielder error by Runnin' Bulldog Collins and Ramsus drew a one-out walk. After a pitching change by Gardner-Webb, first baseman Austin Taylor welcomed reliever Brandon Boling to the game, lacing his seventh home run of the season onto the rocks beyond the left field fence, giving Liberty a 7-1 advantage.
The second three-run home run of the game for the Flames, extended the Liberty led to 10-1 in the fourth. Williams walked and Doug Bream single to open the inning. Tyler Bream followed by blasting his third home run of the year over the center field wall to up the Flames' lead.
The Bulldogs pushed across a run in the top of the eighth. Merck led off the inning with a single and moved to second on a wild pitch. Left fielder Jake Watts dropped a one-out single to plate Merck for a 10-2 score.
Taylor belted his second home run of the game in the bottom of the eighth. With Tyler Bream and Rasmus aboard and two out, the senior lined his eight home run of the year over the left field wall for a 13-2 lead.
Gardner-Webb plated three runs in the ninth inning for the final score of 13-5.
Liberty starter Steven Evans runs his record to 7-3 on the year. The senior left-hander gave up one run on six hits over six innings. He struck out three batters and walked two. In the Big South Championship, Evans has posted a career 4-0 record with a 1.80 ERA.
Gardner-Webb starter Erik Heiligenstadt drops to 3-7 on the season. The first of five Bulldogs to take the mound in the game, he was roughed up for five runs on six hits over 2 1/3 innings. The left-hander struck out two batters and walked three.
Liberty totaled 13 hits in the contest. Rasmus led all hitters in the game with three hits, scoring all three times he reached base. Gardner-Webb had nine hits.