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Liberty Pounds Out Season-High 17 Hits in 9-5 Win
The Liberty Flames collected a season-high 17 hits, en route to a 9-5 win over the Marshall Thundering Herd, Saturday evening in a nonconference contest at Linda K. Epling Stadium.
Liberty's hit total in the game topped its previous high of 16, which the Flames reached on two occasions this season. Liberty had 16 hits during an 8-0 win over Towson on Feb. 18 and a 13-3 victory at Presbyterian on March 18.
Left fielder Ian Parmley and third baseman Dalton Sype each collected three hits for the Flames. Parmley's three-hit game was his third contest this year with three or more hits, while Sype's three-hit contest was his second of the season.
Liberty improves to 25-5 and finishes the month of March with a 16-4 record for the month. Marshall falls to 10-16. The Thundering Herd have lost five consecutive games.
For the second straight game, Liberty scored first in the contest. With one out in the top of the second inning, right fielder Ryan Cordell single and stole second. Catcher Trey Wimmer followed by dropping a single into center field, plating Cordell for a 1-0 edge. After Wimmer moved to third base on a wild pitch, shortstop Zack Haley singled with two outs to make it, 2-0.
The Flames added to their advantage in their next at bat. Second baseman Bryan Aanderud and designated hitter Justin Sizemore each singled to open the third inning. Back-to-back wild pitches by Marshall starting pitcher Mike Mason allowed Aanderud to score, giving Liberty a 3-0 lead.
In the top of the fourth, the Flames scored for the third consecutive inning. With one out Liberty loaded the bases. Mason then hit Aanderud with a pitch to force home the first run of the frame. A ground out by Sizemore plated Parmley, who had reached earlier on a single, upping head coach Jim Toman's team's advantage to 5-0.
In the bottom of the inning, Marshall got on the scoreboard against Flames starting pitcher Patrick Eckelbarger. The Thundering Herd loaded the bases with one out and plated a run when catcher Louie Helmburg drew a two-out walk, forcing in a run.
Both teams plated runs in the fifth. In the top of the frame, Cordell reached on an infield single and moved to second on a sacrifice bunt by Wimmer. He then moved to third on an infield single by Sype and made it, 6-1 Liberty, when Thundering Herd shortstop Andrew Dundon's errant throw to first base.
Marshall countered in the bottom half of the inning with four runs. The Thundering Herd opened the inning with four consecutive hits. Third baseman Grey Stafford singled and first baseman Nathan Gomez doubled to begin the uprising. Designated hitter Alfredo Brito and pinch hitter Eric Escobedo followed with a run-scoring singles, cutting the Liberty lead to 6-3.
Left fielder Erick Semenick then lifted a sacrifice fly to plate a run and a wild pitch by Flames reliever Trey Lambert allowed another tally, as the Thundering Herd trimmed the Liberty advantage to 6-5.
The Flames extended their lead with a run in the sixth. With one out, pinch hitter Tyler Cox ripped a double into the right-center field gap and moved to second on a single by first baseman Alex Close. He then upped the Liberty lead to 7-5, scoring on a sacrifice fly to deep center by Cordell.
Liberty built its lead to back to four runs in the seventh with two runs. Sype, Haley and Parmley each singled to load the bases to begin the inning. The next batter, center fielder Andy Smith, was hit by a pitch to force in the first run of the frame. Aanderud followed with an infield single to score Haley, pushing the Flames advantage to 9-5.
Liberty's Lambert records his first collegiate victory, moving to 1-0 on the year. The freshman right-hander pitched 1 1/3 innings of hitless, scoreless relief. He struck out one and walked one. Jared Lyons earns his second save in as many nights. The left-hander entered the game in the sixth and proceeded to retire the first seven batters he faced. The freshman pitched a scoreless 3 1/3 innings, allowing one hit, striking out one batter and walking one.
Mason drops to 3-3 on the year for Marshall. The right-hander gave up six runs on 10 hits over five innings. The first of four Thundering Herd pitchers in the contest, he struck out three batters and walked three.
Liberty and Marshall will meet again tomorrow in the final game of their three-game weekend series at Epling Stadium. First pitch is scheduled for 2 p.m.